Monthly Orchid Growing Advice

Monthly Orchid Growing Advice

Motes Notes - Florida Orchid Growing


Progress of the Season  

    The second warmest December in history has spun out some great growing weather for vandas and other genera that want to be growing continuously. Keep watering and feeding them. Every new leaf that is produced has a leaf axil which can become a flower spike so keep those vandas growing and be ready should seasonal temperatures return to protect them from the cold.
    Meanwhile, for those genera which relish the cold, such as Himalayan dendrobiums, extra care must be taken to keep them dry. This December has been not only warmer but wetter than usual. Remember that orchids that go dormant need to be stressed. Typically such orchids come from regions in which the trees are deciduous or at least partially so, allowing the orchids that inhabit them to receive more light. Bright light, drought, and cold are the three stimuli to induce bloom. Lacking cold, dormant plants should be kept in as bright of light (short of burning them!) and as dry as possible. This year dormant plants in South Florida will probably not need additional water til spring.
    Unfortunately, our vandas are not alone in thriving on the extra warmth. Our perpetual foe, Thrips, are also basking in temperatures above 80 F (26 C). Look for the telltale pitting of the base of the root tips and take action immediately. Controlling them with the methods set forth in Florida Orchid Growing is especially important this month because you will want them to be at their best for The Tamiami International Orchid Festival (January 13-15), where substantial cash prizes are offered. Grand Champion, Reserve Champion, seven best in class, and best specimen all garner cash at the orchid festival. Groom up your potential champions and bring them to the orchid festival on Thursday, January 12 between noon and 5 PM to enter them for judging.
    The Tamiami International Orchid Festival (America's largest winter orchid event) offers the public the opportunity to see (and even smell!) South Florida's finest orchid flowers in close proximity in the benched show. It is a sensory opportunity not to be missed!
    We hope to see you at The Tamiami International Orchid Festival on Friday, January 13 through Sunday, January 15!
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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