Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New orchid: Cymbidium Kusuda Shining x cym Douglas Dillon

     A new orchid arrived in the mail for me today.  Or more accurately, it arrived in the mail for me last week, got sent back to the post office, and spent the weekend in a dark box before I realized that the 'attempted delivery' notice referred to my orchid order.  Still, the plant seems to be in perky condition, despite its extra long shipping journey.

     It's a small orchid, about half the size of my other cymbidium, despite being already blooming size.  I admit I was pleasantly surprised by how small it was; a larger plant would have been difficult to fit on my already crowded shelf.  Even as I plan to purchase some more plants when I attend the New York orchid show this weekend, I am falling into the habit of adding the orchids first, and thinking about space second.  Perhaps less favored plants will end up delegated to windowsill growing, or I may yet again reorganize that corner of the room to make more orchid shelving space.

     It has 4 established pseudobulbs, and 2 new growths.  The roots look like they are filling up the pot, but I will wait until late summer before repotting.

I did an internet search for the parent plants to guess what my new orchid's blooms may look like.  Both parent blooms are lovely, although I'm hoping for flowers that are more red than orange:

The sources of these two photographs are: 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fifth new growth on cymbidium

     I spotted yet another new growth on my cymbidium while watering.  The young plant now has 3 old pseudobulbs, and 4 new shoots.  Could this newest growth be a flower spike?  The purple tone and the rounded shape seem promising, but there is really no way to tell at this early stage.  At the very least, once the 4 growths develop, this orchid will be able to put on a splendid show of blooms when it is ready.

Also, the small growth in the very middle of the picture remains completely unchanged since November.  I wonder why?

Edit (2/29): turns out I missed one other new growth.  That brings the total of new shoots up to 5, unless there are even more hiding under the media.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New camera: upgrading to a DSLR

Last orchid picture I take with my cellphone

     Up until now, I have been using my cellphone camera for all the pictures on this blog.  I do have a point-and-shoot digital camera, but it's 6 years old and my cellphone actually takes better quality photos.  Still, phone cameras have many limitations, and I have spent far too much time fighting with the autofocus to get any of the closeup pics on the blog.  And when the lighting is too dim, no photoshop wizardry can rescue a picture from the pixel noise.

     Yesterday, my Canon EOS T2i dslr camera arrived, and I spent a giddy 2 hours fooling around with it learning to take better pictures.  I have much to learn about photography, and my only fear is that I don't jump into financial ruin buying equipment, as I explore my new hobby.  (a macro lens, for example, seems to be a $250-$500 investment).  For now I'm sticking to the starter lens that this camera sells with. However, I quickly realized that I will need a mini tripod for my closeup shots, so that order will arrive in a few more days.

     The picture above compares my current orchid growth area with a picture from 2 months ago.  Some plants have moved around, although not too much has changed.  I moved the lower shelf down by a foot, however, to allow my oncidium spike more vertical growing room. I think that the new camera does a noticeably better job handling the contrast between the bright lights and the shadows above them.

     Below I added a couple photos showing updates of my plants' growth, as well as hopefully showcasing the potential for better photography once I learn to handle this camera the way it deserves to be used.

oncidium spike after 1 month of growth

spike closeup shows the lower nodes branching off (a tripod will help with getting a sharper shot of this one)

growing bud on dendrobium victoria- reginae (about 2 weeks old)

new growths developing on cymbidium

Saturday, February 18, 2012

New growth on Angraecum Leonis?

     I noticed something new budding out on my Angraecum leonis.  The little growth appeared among the level of the roots (below where the leaves are) so I'm thinking that it's a new root.  Time will tell.

EDIT (11/4): It turned out to be nothing at all.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Phalaenopsis noID root growth update

     One benefit of growing phals in clear pots is the pleasure of watching new roots grow as they burrow into the media.  Some growers also claim that clear pots are beneficial to phalaenopsis health.  The argument bases on the fact that the roots are photosynthetic and like to avoid darkness.  Phals potted in clear pots receive more light to the roots, encouraging them to grow into the potting media, rather than out into the (often dry) air.  The way my new roots have been curling around the outside edges of the pot seems to support evidence of such 'light-seeking' behavior.

     This season's growth added 5 new roots to the old survivor's existing two.  Of these new growths, one has clearly decided to grow upward as an aerial root, while the other four penetrate into the potting media.  With this rate of growth, I'm sure the old orchid will be ready to bloom again in little time.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sphagnum around phalaenopsis keikis

     My phalaenopsis keikis have been steadily growing.  In order to try and encourage them to grow roots, I wrapped a little bit of sphagnum moss around the base of the keikis.  Hopefully this will help increase the humidity and help them start growing roots.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Flower bud on dendrobium victoria-reginae?

Something grows at the tip of the cane

     A couple days ago, I noticed something budding off the top of my dendrobium victoria-reginae cane.  According to the kind folks at the OrchidBoard it can only be a flower bud or keiki.  I'm told that since keikis rarely form so high up along a cane, it's almost definitely a flower bud.  Although this is the right season to see den victoria-reginae bud (spring flowering), why would this orchid prepare to flower when in such an obvious state of distress?  

     As the picture clearly indicates. the den has continued dropping leaves, with only 2 green leaves remaining.  The roots I wrote about in this post have continued growing, and the new cane bud seems unchanged.  In an attempt to get more even moisture available to the new roots, I repotted the den into loosely-packed fresh sphagnum moss.  The moss now comes in contact with the new roots, and the velamen of the longer root now looks green, suggesting that perhaps more moisture is getting through.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Oncidium flower spike--One week of growth

A sequence of growth

     I estimate that the spike had been growing for 1 week hidden within the folds of the leaves before I first noticed it.  Based on that count, the picture above shows growth from days 7, 11, and 13.  The spike quickly acquired a dark burgundy color, which matches the color of this orchid's blooms.  On day 12, I carefully pried the tip of the spike out of the leaf fold, and overnight, the spike straitened out to what you can see in the rightmost picture.

EDIT 3/29: Identified as Wilsonara Pacific Perspective!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dendrobium Victoria Reginae--making a fast attempt at recovery

     This is what my den victoria-reginae looks like today.  The larger old cane remains unchanged, while the young new one seems to be rapidly giving up.  The picture actually shows the yellowing of the cane even more clearly than the naked eye.

     Instead, all the rapid growth seems to be happening at the base of the orchid.  Two new roots (as I first noticed here) are now clearly visible.  Meanwhile, the little bud off the old cane (at the bottom of the picture) seems to be the start of a new growth. I've been misting the roots every couple of days to help get more moisture to the plant, while still keeping the watering on the sparse side.

A desperate attempt at survival

This rate of growth is quite rapid considering that this is what everything looked like this just 3 weeks ago:

     Now I just have to hope that these new roots survive once they penetrate into the growth media.