Orchid Culture - Questions & Answers from This Month

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by Sue Bottom, from the St. Augustine Orchid Society Newsletter. Email us with any orchid question. If we can't answer it, we'll find someone who can! Send photographs too!
 
Mount Neofinetia falcata?

Mount Neofinetia falcata?

Q. These is Neof. falcata arrived in tiny pots with loose large bark. I just mounted them on cork with sphagnum moss and removed it. Would they be safer in a clay pot? I read that the Japanese mount/plant them on a sphagnum moss ball they place in a bowl.
A. I referred this question to Suzanne Susko and Joanne Stygles, who specialize in these orchids: Suzanne wrote: Those Neos look great. The grower you got them from knew how to grow them. I use the traditional Japanese/Korean style of growing which is a sphagnum ball, but with a twist. The center of the sphagnum ball is filled with a stack of peanuts so the center of the pot gets constant air flow. The roots of the plant are contained in about ½ of sphagnum surrounding the peanuts. They need to dry out between watering, but can be in a moist environment for several days. I water only when the sphagnum is very crispy; you can easily kill Neos by overwatering. You can use two small net pots to achieve the same result. Take a small net pot inserted into the center of the roots at the base of the leaves. Holding it tight, surround the roots with about ½ inch of sphagnum. Place the whole thing into a slightly larger net pot leaving the bottom open for air flow.
    Joanne added: I grow the majority of my neo's in 3A & 5A New Zealand sphagnum moss. I place the roots on top of a 3A mound created with an air hole using a moss pole, then wrap the 5A around the roots. The effect is similar to Suzanne's method. I also have a few which are attached to cork and wood mount. Those are not my named varities, but rather what neo growers call Furan (wind orchids). They do well, however I find they do not grow as well or as strong. Neo's are not fast-growing orchids for the most part, and some of the named varieties take years to even make what we call a clump. You can use a regular clay pot with either small bark or loose sphagnum, cork, or traditional method. All will help you enjoy this fascinating species. To us Neo nuts, it's not a vanda it will always be a Neo falcata. I have attached a link to Jason Fishers Orchid Limited webpage, he is one of three US based growers of Neo's and is an expert with these beauties.   (Jan-24)
 
 
White Balls Around Roots

White Balls Around Roots

Q. Is this a fungus?
A. I think that's one of the bad ones, Sclerotium or Southern Blight, though I've never seen it on a vanda before. Carefully remove it to the trash, all those little balls that look like mustard seeds are the resting form of the fungus, and will spread the disease readily to nearby plants. I hope that vanda wasn't one of your favorites! (Jan-24)
 
 
Two Toned Yellow Dendrobium

Two Toned Yellow Dendrobium

Q. I misplaced this Dendrobium in a pot with inadequate drainage. It’s in half death throws but I don’t know if I should cut anywhere or just leave it out in the air for a bit.
A. It looks like you've got rot coming up from the roots into the cane, and it looks like it's affecting all but maybe one cane. I suspect the nobile's days are numbered.   (Jan-24)