Sunday, September 14, 2008

Meyer's Conservatory

I recently obtained some Laelia anceps seedlings--directly from flask, from Meyer's Conservatory ( This is my second attempt at growing orchids directly from flask. The first cross is L. anceps var. alba 'Drew's Yellow Girl' x self. The second is L. anceps var. veitchiania 'Fort Caroline' x self.

The previously mentioned Cymbidium erythrostylum seedlings (earlier post) died within a week. I mentioned my failure to another orchid grower, and he suggested buying some clear dome/community pot chambers from Tindara ( because he'd been using these for years without problems to successfully acclimatize seedlings directly from flask. So, I followed his recommendations, bought some clear dome compots from Tindara, and transferred the L. anceps seedlings into the chambers.

The other variable I changed was to grow the seedlings underneath my Agrosun light. According to my light meter, the seedlings (really the exterior of the cleardome compots) are receiving ~4500 lux/~450 footcandles of light, 16 hrs/day (the lights are on timers).

The seedlings from Meyer's Conservatory arrived in excellent(!) health. I need to mention here that over the last year, I had purchased a number of established seedlings of other orchid genera from Meyer's that also arrived in excellent health. With the Laelia anceps seedlings, I didn't have to extract them from the flask, as this task was already completed by the Conservatory. All I needed to do was transplant them into a sphagnum moss-type media. I counted between 31-35 seedlings per flask per cross, which is consistent with the number of plants they try to achieve in re-plate flasks.

So far, the seedlings continue to appear far healthier for the same amount of time in my hands than the Cym. erythrostylum seedlings I tried to grow.

Dendrochilum cobbianum

As mentioned last week, here is Dendrochilum cobbianum.

This is a fragrant orchid. Some say it's fragrance is unpleasant, smelling like old shoes. Who knows? Like wine, each has his'/her's own tastes. I like the fragrance very much, and it does not remind me of old shoes.

This is a reliable bloomer for me in September. The plant is potted in my Cymbidium media (45% coir, 45% medium coconut chips, 5% oyster shell, 5% dolomite). I grow it under lights in the basement over Winter, and hanging from a branch underneath a tree during Spring, Summer and Fall. I only got two inflorescences this year, so there is room for improvement in the plant's husbandry. I'm thinking that I will move it to a brighter location under lights over Winter and brighter location for the next growing seasons.

I also have a Dendrochilum magnum varietal that is sending up new growths, some of which may also have inflorescences. It's too early to tell right now.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hanna's weekend

Tropical Storm Hanna blew through yesterday (Saturday), filling up our rain barrels. I was tempted to water the orchids on Friday, but given the forecast, it was clear that I should wait. On Sunday, I dumped out the water in the catch trays--considering Hanna's rainwater to leach out excess salts from the media-- and fertilized the orchids to promote blooming.

I clerked for AOS judging on Saturday ( Despite Hanna's efforts, we had a large number of orchids submitted for judging, mostly Cattleyas, Laelias and Paphiopedilums.

Presently, I have Cym. ensifolium 'Jade Swan' in bloom (pictured below). It is a recent (Feb '08) acquisition, has bloomed twice for me this Summer, and has a nice, light and sweet fragrance. While clerking for AOS, I checked some of the stats for the previously awarded Cym. ensifolium varietals, and there's plenty of room for improvement to grow this plant up to an award quality specimen.

I also have Dendrochilum cobbianum inflorescences opening up. It was hanging from the tree branch, but I brought it indoors to protect the flowers from Hanna. Check back next week for pics.

As part of my (fortuitous) Integrated Pest Management program, I found this mantid on a Dendrochilum magnum leaf. We've lived at the house for 2+ years now, and this is the first time I've seen mantids here.