Monthly Orchid Growing Advice

Monthly Orchid Growing Advice

Motes Notes - Florida Orchid Growing

Progress of the Season  

    December has been much warmer and a good deal drier than usual. The one bout of cold which we experienced should have hardened our plants a little to make them better able to withstand the cold which is coming. Nonetheless, every precaution should be taken for the more cold-sensitive genera. Review the information on cold tolerance in Florida Orchid Growing. Remember, hard cane dendrobiums, sections Spatslata and Phalaenopsis are among the most cold-sensitive and will lose leaves in the blast of cold which is due to arrive shortly. In general, the weather pattern which is wreaking havoc across the North, is good news for South Florida. The broad fronts which sweep the entire continent, traverse both Atlantic and Gulf waters on the way to us tempering their ferocity. Follow the advice in Florida Orchid Growing to protect your plants.
    The dryness of this past December will prove beneficial as we use water to protect our plants from cold. Using water to warm our plants on cold nights, yields additional benefits in washing away mites (which have thrived in this warm dry December) and Thrips which have unseasonably asserted themselves in the December warmth. Large volumes of water will also flush excess fertilizer salts from our pots and media, stimulating new root growth in season. The abundant warm water will also leach much of the nutrients from our vandas' roots(osmosis in reverse). Post cold, let them dry for a day or two, then fertilize.
    Much winter lies ahead. Although the long-term forecast calls for above average temperatures overall, we need to be ready for additional wallops of cold. Those chilly nights remind us to water carefully, even to the point of underwatering, with the expectation that any deficit will be made up in one or two truly cold nights.
    Perhaps when you have one or two of your most prized orchids in the house, it would be a good time to groom them for competition in the Tamiami International Orchid Festival where they can garner the award's recognition they deserve. Grand Champion, Reserve Champion, seven best in class, and best specimen all garner cash at the orchid festival--Grand Champion ($500), Reserve Champion ($250) or Best in Class ($100).
    Bring them to the Festival Thursday afternoon, Jan.11. About that Festival.....
    The Tamiami International Orchid Festival (America's largest winter orchid event with eighty two vendors) offers the public the opportunity to see (and even smell!) the world's finest orchid flowers in close proximity in the benched show. It is a sensory opportunity not to be missed! See beautiful exhibits, shop the growers from all over the world and participate in one of the great orchid happenings of the year.
    We hope to see you at The Tamiami International Orchid Festival on Friday, January 12 through Sunday, January 14! Be sure to buy your tickets online before doors open to skip the line and save $2 per ticket.
Motes Notes Florida Orchid Growing

January in Your Orchid Collection

January is somewhat like December but in reverse, with each succeeding day bringing longer hours of sunlight until days are long enough that afternoons return at the end of the month with extra sunshine to warm us after the extra sharp cold snaps. January, like December, is cold and dry, in fact even colder and drier. Dry is good, cold can be very bad. We need to accentuate the positive by especially... read entire article
Motes Notes Florida Orchid Growing

February in Your Orchid Collection

Despite the bloom on the avocados and the burgeoning new leaves on the live oaks, February is not spring in South Florida. Danger of freeze continues past mid month and frost can occur still into March. Even if the weather is balmy, it's too early to let down our guard or take down any protection we have mounted against the cold. The trend however is toward the positive as each lengthening day brings extra hours of warming sunshine... read entire article
Motes Notes Florida Orchid Growing

March in Your Orchid Collection

Signs of spring abound with an abundance of emerging flower spikes and buds. The flush of spring growth will follow soon so plan your repotting program which should begin in earnest this month. The best time to repot is right before the new roots start growing so the plants will reestablish quickly. Watch for signs of mites, particularly on thin leaved orchids like the catasetinae and grammatophyllums, and treat any problems promptly...continue reading
Motes Notes Florida Orchid Growing

April in Your Orchid Collection

Far from the cruelest, April is the kindest month to South Florida orchid growers. The weather in April is definitely settled into warm, even deliciously hot, with passing cold fronts only adding the delight of a pleasant change in temperature. The clean, bright days brimming with abundant sunlight and the low relative humidity create the high drying potential that orchids love. ... read entire article
Motes Notes Florida Orchid Growing

May in Your Orchid Collection

May is a month of transition in South Florida. Early in the month we can expect the driest weather of the year. Because of the clarity of the air and lack of cloud cover, temperatures rise rapidly in the late morning and can reach the upper eighties or nineties by mid afternoon before cooling substantially in late afternoon. Fortunately, over night radiant cooling rapidly dissipates the previous day's... read entire article
Motes Notes Florida Orchid Growing

June in Your Orchid Collection

June is the most dramatically tropical month in South Florida. As the southeast Trade Winds blow cool moist air off the Gulf Stream daily, as surely the heating effect of the center of the peninsula percolates up massive thunder heads. The increased cloud cover drawing a veil across the afternoon sun provides much cooling relief for our plants... read entire article
Motes Notes Florida Orchid Growing

July in Your Orchid Collection

Although it mostly passes unnoticed to millions locked in their air-conditioned bubbles, July in South Florida is quite different from June. While the pattern of afternoon showers built from the moisture of the morning's sea breeze persists in July, the thunder-storms are sharper and shorter. The clouds linger less and the foliage dries more quickly. Less quantity of rain falls in July than in June... read entire article
Motes Notes Florida Orchid Growing

August in Your Orchid Collection

July and August are the two most similar months in South Florida. Most of the advice on watering, disease and pest control in last month's calendar still apply but subtle changes are taking place. Although it may not seem so, as temperatures climb into the low nineties most afternoons, summer is in retreat: each day a little shorter, each night a little longer. With shorter days the importance of watering as early... read entire article
Motes Notes Florida Orchid Growing

September in Your Orchid Collection

September looms as the only truly dismal month in South Florida. Even without the prospect of the unspeakable 'H' word, September disheartens since it is easily the dampest, dullest month in the year. Although more inches of rain fall in June, more hours of rain occur in the often slow, seemingly endless drizzles of September. Frequently a day or two can pass without so much as a solid hour of truly bright... read entire article
Motes Notes Florida Orchid Growing

October in Your Orchid Collection

October is a month of change in South Florida. If the Romans had lived here where we do, they would have named this month for their two faced god Janus. Usually around the middle of the month, and certainly by the end of the month, the first strong cold front pushes into South Florida bringing to a close the monolithic heat and damp of summer and ushering in weather as most of the continent knows it... read entire article
Motes Notes Florida Orchid Growing

November in Your Orchid Collection

In November we can no longer afford to be dominated by the illusion, so easy here at the northern edge of the tropics, that summer will never end. Although Indian Summer persists for the whole winter in South Florida, November is the month to prepare our plants for those short sharp blasts of cold which are inevitably coming as each successive cold front pushes the overall temperature a little lower... read entire article
Motes Notes Florida Orchid Growing

December in Your Orchid Collection

December marks the beginning of the serious dry season in South Florida. While this additional dryness provides relief from the autumnal rains that can bring so many fungal problems, December is also the month of shortest day lengths. This contracted period of light, on the contrary, reduces severely the drying potential for our plants. Nature thus both gives and takes away from us in December. We must... read entire article
by Dr. Martin Motes, from his monthly newsletter and book Florida Orchid Growing. Monthly advice for orchid growers in South Florida. There's lots of information pertinent to North Florida growers too. Subscribe to the monthly newsletter.
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