Monday, December 31, 2012

New Leaf on Angraecum leonis

Angraecum leonis

     There's a new leaf starting on my Angraecum leonis.  For this slow growing orchid, that's a big development. Even better, the orchid shows no sign of shedding any of its lower leaves--it might actually be growing bigger!

New leaf closeup

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Guest Post

Tom from Angraecums has very graciously invited me to write a guest post for his blog, where I describe how I first got into the hobby and how I set up my growing area.  Check out the post, and Tom's wonderfully informative blog at

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Second growth point on Rlc. (Port Royal Sound x Chia Lin) ?

Rlc. (Port Royal Sound 'Big Red' X Chia Lin 'Shinsu #1')

     At the beginning of this month I posted about a new growth starting on my Rlc hybrid.  Now there seems to be a second growth, starting next to the oldest pseudobulb.  This growth is much smaller, and already opening into small leaves.  Is this the start of a second growth point?

Newest growth

Older growth from Dec 4

What's going on here?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Preparing orchids for a 3 week holiday

     I am going away for three weeks over the holidays (actually, I've already left).  Which means, that my orchids will have to survive quite a while without watering.  For a few more days, my boyfriend will be around to water the seedlings and the mounted plants, but after that the plants will be left alone.

     I've taken a few steps to help my orchids survive this drought.  I purchased a "standup shower caddy" from a Home Goods store, which makes a wonderful plant stand (at a fraction of the cost of an actual plant shelf).  The shelf adds vertical space to the terrarium, helping me fit more orchids inside.

     When my boyfriend leaves for the holidays, I've asked him to fit all the little seedlings into the terrarium, where they will benefit from higher humidity.

     Finally, I've taken advantage of this terrarium's "waterproof bottom" and filled it with about 3" of water.  This should really bump up the humidity in the terrarium, and help the smallest of the orchids fare better during this dry spell.

     Note: Although I am away from home, I will still be updating the blog every few days.  I've taken a bunch of photos before leaving, so there are plenty of updates I still need to write about.

     Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, December 17, 2012

One Year Orchid Anniversary

     Today marks one full year since I started this blog. It was my first venture into blogging, and the first time I started to seriously get into the whole orchid hobby. 

     Over the past year, my orchid collection has tripled in size. My lighting setup has evolved, and I most recently added a terrarium to my grow area.  Meanwhile last winter, I purchased my first DSLR camera (after a few months of posting pictures from my cellphone), and learned how to work with the RAW image format.

Here are a few highlights from the past year:
  • Posts: 150
  • Pageviews: 23,372
  • Unique visitors: 6,119
  • New orchids acquired: 21
  • Orchids killed: 2 (two failed attempts at growing Den. victoria reginae)
  • Orchids flowered: 4 (with many more spikes to come in 2013!)
     Thank you to those who followed this blog over the past year.  Your comments have helped me grow my orchids better, and it's been a wonderful experience sharing observations with others who grow these beautiful plants.

Evolution of an orchid hobby

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tolumnia Red Berry in spike

Tolumnia Red Berry

     Less than a year since I purchased it in bloom last March, my Tolumnia Red Berry is in spike again.  There were two spikes last Spring, but this year I think I'm getting just one.  

9 day old tolumnia spike

     I actually first noticed the spike 9 days ago. It was growing out of the back of the plant, where I could barely see it, and taking a photo would have been near impossible.  Today was the first day that the spike became visible from the front.  It's a couple inches long now.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Leaf loss on Dendrobium Burana Sundae

Leaf loss on Dendrobium Burana Sundae

     Two months ago, my Dendrobium Burana Sundae arrived as a deceptive mess. It had many thick, tall canes promising a vigorous and fast growing plant, but the roots were a broken, rotten mess.  I ended up trimming most of them away, which is why I needed to add a stake to the pot just so the canes wouldn't topple over.

     In the past two months, the orchid has shed all of the leaves from its older two canes.  Since the dendrobium arrived with 3 generations of canes bearing leaves, I highly doubt that this is normal for this hybrid. Some dens are deciduous and regularly shed their leaves in the winter season as part of their growth cycle, but I don't think this is one such.

     In addition, all the older canes have developed shriveling, and the oldest cane has taken on a ghastly orange-yellow color. I have no way of seeing what's going on with the roots right now (I don't want to disturb the plant yet), but I suspect that the rest of the old roots have died off in the last two months.  It's likely that only the cluster of newish 2-3" long roots from the newest cane remain.  I'll probably check up on them in a few more months.

     In the meantime, the orchid lives in my terrarium, where it's hopefully benefiting from raised humidity.  I water it whenever the humidity tray on the bottom of the pot dries out, which is about every 2 weeks.  I've also been giving it followup treatments with systemic fungicide, because its roots were in such a damaged state, and because I am generally so suspicious about the orchid's health.

     The orchid is currently planted in "dendrobium" mix from, but I'm wondering if maybe I should move it to coarser bark to help it dry faster.  Regardless, I won't be changing anything until after I return from the holidays.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Phals grow side spikes

Phal Memoria Audrey Meldman 'Mendenhal' (left), Phal Gold Tris 'Desk Pot' (right)

     Two of my spiking phals already had old spikes from blooming last Spring, which until recently have been inactive.  Now both are starting a side spike from the topmost bract below the ones which had already produced flowers.

Phal Memoria Audrey Meldman 'Mendenhal' (left), Phal Gold Tris 'Desk Pot' (right)

     Looks like I'll have double the flowers to look forward to.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Noid phal in spike

Noid phal (spotted white)

     Amid a spurt of new root growth, I noticed the start of a new spike on my old phal, a spotted white noid.  This orchid has come a very long way in its recovery since last year, when it only had two small roots to support itself.  

     Now every single one of my phals that is big enough to bloom, is in spike!  The only phals not spiking for me currently, are the two newly potted keikis, and the Phal gigantea seedling.  

Phalaenopsis root vs spike

     One cool thing about this picture, is how the spike is growing right next to a new root tip, highlighting the difference between them.  The root (on left) is uniformly round.  Meanwhile, the flower spike (on right) has a vertical ridge, and a horizontal segmentation line.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Psychopsis Mendehnall 'Hildos' in bud

Psychopsis Mendenhall 'Hildos'

     This orchid has been slowly growing a flower spike since June, when I purchased it. The spike survived two cat attacks, and a bout of root rot.  It is now about 25" tall, and would be even taller if I had it staked upright.  (For purposes of fitting this orchid in my terrarium without scorching the flowers, I am letting the spike curve naturally downward).

Psychopsis flower bud

     The spike has finally stopped growing vertically, and has formed a flower bud. It's about 1/2" long.  Since the flowers can be as big as 4x6", this little bud still has a long time left to grow.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Propping up drooped phalaenopsis leaves

Dtps. Jungo City

     While I was away during Thanksgiving weekend, someone (there are only two posible suspects) knocked my Dtps. Jungo City partly out of its pot.  The orchid dried out, and its leaves wilted as a result.  I righted the poor plant as soon as I came home, and its leaves soon regained their firmness... but they remained flopped over.  I was worried about the leaves developing breaks at the flex points, so I'm trying to right them by propping them up with wooden stakes.  
     In particular, I want to protect the leaves from breaking while I'm away again for the holiday season.  All my orchids will experience a "drought" of at least 2 weeks with no watering.
     The flower spike is now 5 inches tall, and growing fast.  I'll probably stake it up as well if it gets past 10" or so in height.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Second spike starting on Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy

Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy

     I was very excited to notice a second spike starting on Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy.  This a healthy orchid with many leaves and a strong root system.  It should put on quite a show once the spikes mature.

Start of new spike on left, first spike quickly growing on right

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rlc (Port Royal Sound x Chia Lin) matures one pseudobulb, starts growing another

Rlc (Port Royal Sound 'Big Red' x Chia Lin 'Shinsu') 

     This rhyncholaeliocattleya hybrid is just about done growing a new pseudobulb (I expect the leaf to flatten out some more over the next few months).  The new leaf is 7" long, making it two inches longer than the last leaf, albeit somewhat narrower. The new pseudobulb is about the same size as the older ones.

New growth starting on Rhyncholaeliocattleya 

     Now there's a new pseudobulb starting at the base of the old one.  It's actually been visible for over a month now, and is about 1/2" long.  I'm not sure when this seedling will reach blooming size, but until then, it seems to be growing well.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Aliceara Matthias 'Glamour' shedding leaves

Yellowing leaves on Aliceara Matthias

     My Aliceara Matthias did not arrive to me in great condition, and has only worsened since then.  Between the lackluster health of this orchid, and the Den Burana Sundae, which I also ordered from them, I am quite disappointed with this vendor.  I will not be ordering from them again. 
     The Aliceara Matthias had only a few roots, which had some breaks in them, possibly from being shipped bare root.  Those few roots died off fairly soon after I potted the plant, and the orchid has yet to produce new root growth.  The orchid is likely shedding leaves now because it no longer has the root system necessary to support them.  I cut off the yellowing roots, partly because they took up valuable space in the terrarium, and partly because I didn't want decaying plant matter around to encourage bacterial and fungal growth.

Aliceara Matthias 'Glamour' after trimming dead leaves

     The orchid still looks nice with its remaining leaves, and my Oncostele Pacific Perspective has recovered from a worse state.  However, I am annoyed that instead of a healthy thriving orchid, I received another rescue case.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Two more phals in spike

Phal Gold Tris 'Desk Pot' and Phal Memoria Audrey Meldman 'Mendenhall'

     About 3 weeks ago I posted about some phals growing spikes, as well as some growths I wasn't certain about.  Both of those have since turned out to be spikes.  While the old spikes on these two phals remain green but inactive, both orchids are now growing new spikes.

Closeup on Phal Gold Tris spike

Closeup on Phal Memoria Audrey Meldman spike

     Both orchids are growing in the terrarium, safe from kitty attacks.  For both of these flowers, I look forward to seeing if the colors come out different in my care than when I purchased them in bloom last spring.