Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Noid phal slows down, shows sign of dehydration

Noid phal

     I haven't posted much recently, because not much has happened recently.  Most of my orchids are currently growing new roots and leaves.  

     My smaller noid, on the other hand, seems to have gone into a rather pronounced rest period.  Its water consumption has declined (as seen by the time it takes for the media to dry out), but at the same time many of its oldest leaves are wrinkling and preparing to shed. It still has a new leaf growing, but the rate of growth is significantly slower than it was for the previous leaf.  I'm trying to navigate a rather confusing line between under- and over-watering.

Moss on an former orchid mount

     In fact the greatest amount of activity I've had has been from my moss, which has produced a fresh layer of new growth.  It looks bright green and fluffy.  At some time in the future I may use this mount for one of my orchids.

Moss looks pretty cool from up close

Monday, August 20, 2012

Name change: Wilsonara Pacific Perspective = Oncostele Pacific Perspective

Oncostele (Wilsonara) Pacific Perspective

     I was searching around on the International Orchid Register today, when I noticed that my oncidium intergenic has been reclassified into a new genus.  My wilsonara is now officially an oncostele. The change doesn't really mean much to me, but I generally try to stick with the most recent official classifications of my hybrids.

     I had the oncidium growing on a sunny bathroom windowsill over the summer, and the bright light resulted in quite a bit of leaf damage on this oncidium.  I'm switching this orchid's placement with my cymbidium, which should be better able to to handle the hours of direct sunlight on the windowsill.  The oncostele is going to my orchid shelves to grow under the lights, and I'm putting the Cym. (Gordon Gibbs x Billion Dollar Baby) on the windowsill instead.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tolumnia Genting Orange bloomed continuously for 3 months

Decapitated orchid blooms

     I was really excited about posting today that the third round of blooms on my Tolumnia Genting Orange were finally open.  But the cat got to them before I did.  I set the orchid to soak in the watering basin, went to make my breakfast coffee, and came back to find all the flowers floating in the water.

     As it stand, my Tolumnia Genting Orange bloomed continuously since May 29--almost 3 months of blooming.  If these flowers had survived, they would have lasted at least a month more.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Noid paph grows new leaves, but I wanted flowers

A noid paphiopedilum

     My noid paph is big, healthy, with many roots (for a paph) and many leaves.  But a year has passed since I purchased it in bloom, and it hasn't reflowered for me.  For a while I had been excited about its newest growth, but that turned out to be just another leaf.  That brings the leaf total up to 8.

Yet another new leaf

     When a mature and healthy orchid fails to bloom, the culprit is likely to be insufficient lighting.  Getting my noid paph to a spot where it can get more light turned out to be a tricky issue, however.  My lower shelf is set up to accommodate my 2-foot tall oncidium.  This leaves a smaller orchid like the paph too far away from the light source.  On the other hand, my upper shelf is too close to the lamp.  If I were to move my paph to the top shelf, its tallest leaves would be in contact with the lights (sure to guarantee burn damage).

Rearranged orchids

     I ended up rearranging most of my orchids, and repurposing an unused knife rack to prop up my paph by 8 or so inches.  Hopefully that will help.  At the very least, my orchids are now more efficiently arranged.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Added supports to paph seedlings

Paph. Adam Hausermann 'York' X Duncan York 'Good Show' seedlings

     My paph seedlings seem to be doing well.  They are both busily growing new roots and leaves.  Their tiny pots dry out quickly, so that I am able to water every 1-2 days, giving the little orchids plenty of water without risking rotting the roots.

     However, because they don't have many mature roots, these orchids are very unstable in their pots.  Every time I move the pots for watering, the paphs are liable to flop over at an alarming angle.  In an attempt to add some stability to the orchids, I added wire supports to the pots.  These are similar to what I used to prop up my vertically inclined paph noid, with good success.

     Also noticeable in the picture is the yellowing on the bottom leaf of seedling #2 (on right).  I expect the orchid to shed that leaf soon. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Giving my angraecum leonis a monsoon season

Angraecum leonis getting watered in a vase

     I've had my angraecum leonis for a year now, and it really hasn't done much in that time.  It dropped a leaf soon after I bought it, and then grew a new one.  Most of its activity over the past year involved root growth.  The orchid arrived with a rather poor root system, and most of the roots it has now are newly grown.

     Overall, the orchid has been doing well in vase culture.  While the old leaves are wrinkled from dehydration, the newest leaf is unwrinkled. Its root system now seems fairly substantial. 

     However, I want my orchid to thrive and to flower.  Looking around for tips on how to grow it better, I was reminded that in nature these orchids from Madagascar experience a summer monsoon season.  In response, I've started watering the angraecum twice daily.  Once the weather cools off in the Fall, I'll scale back again to once daily watering (and maybe less for the duration of the winter).

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Signs of life on Psychopsis Mariposa 'Mountain'

A sad looking Psychopsis Mariposa 'Mountain'

     My Psychp Mariposa arrived to me in a sad shape.  Its roots were mostly rotten, and the few that remained died soon after.  The orchid then lost its spike, and lost some leaves.  Now its leaves are wrinkled and leathery, its pseudobulbs are flattened, and its roots all gone.

Signs of new growth on Psychopsis Mariposa

     In an effort to revive the orchid, I've had it 'potted' in a 2 inch pot on a bed of sphagnum moss that I keep moist.  Today, after accidentally knocking the little orchid out of its pot, I noticed the first signs of life.  The little root nub (on left) stands out as a bright green spot against the dark background.  Meanwhile, less visible, is what looks like the start of a new growth (on right). 

     While survival is still less than certain (my den victoria reginae had also produced a futile new growth before finally giving up) I choose to be optimistic for my orchid's survival.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Psychopsis Mendenhall 'Hildos' seems to be adjusting well

Psychopsis Mendenhall 'Hildos'

     In the two months since I purchased it, my Psychp Mendenhall has put in some good growth.  Its pseudobulbs remain full and mostly wrinkle-free, indicating that the orchid's root system is pulling in sufficient moisture.  Meanwhile, the plant's spike has doubled in height, and is now almost 2 feet tall.  
     This height is actually rather awkward, as the tip of the spike is almost at the level of my lighting fixture, and on more than one occasion, I have smacked it against the lights while moving the orchid for watering.  It's only due to the spike's flexibility and my incredible luck that I haven't snapped it yet.

Tip of the psychopsis spike: this tip will die, and the spike will produce a side growth

     At the same time, I'm a little paranoid about the health of the spike.  The very tip seems to be just a little yellow and dried out?  It's hard to tell, and I don't know what to expect from this orchid, since I've never flowered a psychopsis before.  I really really hope that this is just indication that the spike is done growing upward and is somehow transitioning to bud development, rather than the first signs of the spike drying out.

EDIT (11/16/12): That tip did end up drying out, and the spike produced a side growth.

     A thought occurred to me as I was writing this, that maybe the tip of the spike was suffering from sunburn by being so close to the T5 lamps.  To be safe, I moved the orchid to the floor just next to the shelves.  This leaves the spike tip a few inches lower, where the light wouldn't be quite as intense.

New root growth from psychopsis

     For a more hopeful sign, the orchid seems to have some new root growth going on.  My Psychp Mariposa, which whithered away and is barely hanging on now, has yet to produce any new roots.  These new roots are more likely to adjust well to the current potting conditions, and support future growth.

     Whatever happens to the current spike, all other signs indicate that this orchid is doing well.  Yay!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Noid phal exits rest with a spurt of root and leaf growth

Large noid phalaenopsis with three keikis

     For over a year now, my noid phal has put all leaf and root growth on hold while it was growing its keikis.  Over time, it lost several leaves. The remaining leaves have lost firmness and acquired a leathery texture.  

Closeup on phal root and leaf growth

     Now the mother orchid is finally expending some energy on its own growth.  It seems to be growing two new leaves concurrently, as well as a number of fresh roots.

     The keikis are almost big enough to remove from the mother plant and pot on their own.  They all have nice big leaves, and the oldest has two roots that are just over 3" long.  

     However, as the mother plant seems to be doing well, I am in no hurry to cut them from the spikes.  My plan is to remove the largest keiki as soon as it starts  growing new roots.  For the smaller two keikis I'll wait until they both have roots that are over 3" long and fresh roots growing.  Waiting to remove the keikis might delay the mother phal from flowering, but I have enough other orchids in bloom and/or spike that I am willing to take that risk. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cymbidiums are big

Cymbidium Kusuda Shining x Douglas Dillon

     It seems like a statement of the obvious, but it's hard to appreciate the size of cymbidiums until you've had one nearly double in size on you.  Last February when I first bought this orchid, I marveled at its miniature size.  I now know that I made the mistake of confusing 'blooming size' for 'mature size'.  While the plant I received was supposedly large enough to bloom, it was no where near done growing.

From the February 29 blog entry: Cym Kusuda Shining x Douglas Dillon

     The two new growths that were just starting to open last winter have now matured, and overshadow the original pseudobulbs.  The cymbidium is 2 feet tall from floor to tip of the tallest leaf.  The longest leaves are now 18" long, and they're also thicker than the leaves from the older bulbs.  At this rate, I expect to orchid to grow even bigger over time.

New growth bud on cymbidium

     The oldest backbulb rapidly shriveled up and dried out last month.  Meanwhile, the two newly matured pseudobulbs have produced new growth buds of their own.  I've counted two so far (one on each pseudobulb) but it's possible that more will appear over time.  While it is possible that one of both of these are actually flower spikes, it is far too soon to be possible to distinguish buds from growth, and leaf growth is much more likely.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Remounting Tolumnia Pink Panther

Tolumnia Pink Panther (left) and Tolumnia Genting Orange (right)

     I remounted my Tolumnia Pink Panther today, so that it could have its own mount. Having it co-mounted with the Tol. Genting Orange looked nice, but it made watering more awkward.  And I think both orchids are large enough to warrant separate mounts. 

     The transfer was very quick and fast.  I unpeeled the wire holding the orchid to its original mount, pulled off the plant+moss, and transferred it over to a new piece of aquarium bark.    The orchid had not been on its old mount long enough for the roots to start working their way into the bark yet, so remounting was a very simple procedure, that shouldn't have caused any root damage.

Friday, August 3, 2012

I Don't Like Sphagnum Moss

Newly repotted Dtps Jungo City (left) and Dtps Yu Pin Burgundy (Right)

     Sphagnum moss is a good orchid media, and many people grow their phals in it successfully, but it's not for me.  I last watered my sphagnum potted phals almost two weeks ago, and they were still moist today.  It freaks me out when orchids take that long to dry out; I start to imagine all sorts of rot and fungus spreading rampant through the root system when my pots aren't drying within a week.  I've had a good experience growing phals in bark, so I decided to go with what has always worked for me.

Dtps Yu Pin Burgundy has a healty root system

     The roots on my Dtps Yu Pin Burgundy looked great; most of the roots were firm and unbroken, and there were many growing tips.  The phal had a good mix of older and new roots.  

     I potted it into a clear version of the 4.5" pot that it came with.

Dtps Jungo City roots before and after trimming

     The Dtps Jungo City, on the other hand, was in poor shape.  The orchid had dropped a leaf soon after I got it, which may be an indication that it was less capable to handle stress.  The Dtps had a ball of old blackened moss near the root base, and many many rotten roots.  Of the roots that remained after trimming, all have blackened tips, which is a strong indicator of prior bad potting conditions.  There are a couple new roots budding off the base, so I am confident that this orchid will recover quickly if I get the care right, though.

     The remaining root system on this phal was far too small to pot back into a 5" pot like the one it came with.  Instead, I downsized to a 4" clear plastic pot.  With it's tall leaves and minimal roots, the phal is a little shaky in it's pot, but hopefully it will stabilize once the media settles in and the new roots help it establish itself.