Thursday, March 29, 2012

Noid no more: presenting the Wilsonara Pacific Perspective

     Within hours of me posting to the Identification subforum of the Orchid Board, a user 'WhiteRabbit' found a named match for my red oncidium.  My orchid, is very likely called Wilsonara Pacific Perspective.  The 'Wilsonara' genus is an intergenic of three orchid genera: cochlioda, odontoglossum, and oncidium.  While it is rare to be able to identify an intergenic orchid noid, the similarity between the blooms is so compelling, that I am convinced.  

Here are some more comparison pictures I made, joining my photos with similarly lit image search results:

So are you convinced?  I think I am. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

First blooms open on oncidium

A delicate veining of the petals shows through in the sunset light

     It's finally happened!  Almost exactly 2 months after I first noticed a spike, the first flower buds are opening.  It's a relatively small flower spike: only 6 blooms.  Once the orchid's roots have further recovered, I expect to see bloomings that match its former glory: flower spikes over 3 feet high with dozens and dozens of blooms.  For now, I am certainly enjoying my first orchid blooming since moving to New York!

     The flowers are about 2.5 inches across, in either direction.  They also have an odd sort of spicy/musky scent.  I can't quite decided whether I think it's pleasant or not.
how the color looks to the naked eye in diffuse light: a kind of terra-cotta earthy red

I edited the color tones in the above photograph to match how the orchid's color looks to my eyes, since my camera was making the reds of the petals and the yellows on the lip stand out much more than I could see. 

camera flash gives the blooms a lovely waxy red tinge, but looks nothing like what I see with my eyes

     All the three closeup shots of the blooms look very different due to changes in lighting.  One might think they were three different flowers!

two buds fully open, one partly open, and three flower buds still developing

     As you can see in the last picture, the inflorescence is not yet in full bloom.  I'll post an update once the last buds open.  In the meantime, I'm taking advantage of my tripod to put together some timelapse videos of the opening flowers.  It won't be the professional level, since I can't sit at home taking a photo every 30 minutes for a month as the flowers open (nor do I have the setup for an automatic shutter), but it's still pretty cool ;-).  

     If anyone seeing this has suggestions for what might be the name of this lovely noid, I'd love to hear any ideas!

EDIT 3/29: Identified as Wilsonara Pacific Perspective!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Paph flop corrected

staked up for support and stability

     I'm still not sure what made my paph flop over a week ago, but I managed to coax the leaves back upright. The leaves don't look wilted or damaged in any way.  I looped a bit of craft wire around the entire growth to keep it upright.  It seems to give the overly tall growth some stability, which should be helpful.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tolumnia Red Berry out of bloom

Mounted tolumnia with dead roots peaking through live moss

     It seems that within a couple weeks, my tolumnia red berry went out of bloom.  The flowers lost their vibrance, and rapidly dropped to the ground.  I don't know how long tolumnia blooms usually last, but I suspect it's longer than a week.  However, the stress of travelling from the nursery to the store to my house--coupled with the multiple repotting/mounting attempts likely had drastically shortened the blooms' lifespan.

     As you can see in the picture, although all the leaves remain green and firm, the roots of the tolumnia are not doing too well.  You can see the pale white roots through the green moss.  All of these are dried and dead.  I am not too disappointed, because they didn't look too healthy even the first day when I brought the orchid home. I can see one green root higher up near the base of the orchid (hidden under moss), and hopefully there are others, alive and out of site.

     Hopefully the tolumnia won't suffer too badly a decline from the apparent root loss.  At least a couple healthy roots should still remain, and since the orchid is mounted, I can water daily to provide regular hydration without risk of root rot.  I remain thoroughly charmed by the miniature orchid, and last week ordered 2 more tolumnias from Orchids by Hausermann.  My plan is to mount all 3 orchids on the same piece of driftwood and hang it off the side of the plant shelves to save space.

Coincidentally, I was extremely tempted by add a Phaius tankervilliae to my order (I loved the one I saw at the NYBG) but the prolific size of the plant and my unfamiliarity with phaius care dissuaded me from the purchase.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Keiki roots

phalaenopsis keiki roots

     I peeked under the sphagnum moss on my keikis and was delighted to see two small new roots.  So far only the largest of the 3 main keikis has roots, but I'm sure the others are not far behind. The keikis are approximately 6 months old now.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New growths abound

new growth on blooming oncidium

     It seems that my orchids have picked up on the spring season, and responded with an abundance of new growth.  Above, is a tiny new growth on my currently budding oncidium noid.  Meanwhile, many other orchids are throwing out new leaves and pseudobulbs galore.

New leaf on phal: with 5 new healthy roots, I'm hoping this leaf won't end up stunted like the last 3 did

hint of new leaf on my slowly developing keikis from the bigger phalaenopsis noid

the start of a new pseudobulb on my Cattlianthe Jewel Box--good omen for repotting success?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Proplem with paph: new growth wilted

floppy paph: but why?

     The big new fan that my paph has been growing for the past 6 months has suddenly wilted and flopped over.  Why did this happen?  The change seemed to happen overnight.  The media was still damp, so it's not simple dehydration.  The paph has looked like this for a couple days now, and I'm not sure what to do about it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Growing orchids in live moss

I visited my family in Michigan over the weekend, and noticed some really prolific moss growing all over their backyard.  I harvested some to bring back with me for my orchids (thankfully TSA didn't question why I had plastic bags of green herbs in my baggage).  If dried sphagnum moss works well as a potting and mounting medium, then live moss should work even better, right?  I guess I'll soon see the answer.  My hope is that living moss will be better able to keep a good humidity around the roots.

slight wrinkling of the cane shows dehydration from my lack of watering over the weekend.  The wrinkling disappeared soon after I came back and watered 
     As seen in the above picture, I decided to try mounting my dendrobium victoria reginae.  I'm hoping that this way I'll be able to water the orchid daily and thus provide more moisture, without risking root rot.  Also, by hanging the orchid mount off the side of the shelf, I save space, and can place the orchid directly next to the humidifier for maximal moisture.    

     I also placed some leftover moss at the top of some of my pots.  Even if there is no benefit to the plant, I think a green layer of moss is aesthetically pleasing.

     My one difficulty is that in attempting to keep the moss alive, I may end up overwatering my plants.  For now I'm going to keep my watering regimen the same as before, but spray the top of the moss daily to keep some surface moisture.  Hopefully some of this moss will establish sufficiently to survive my conditions.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Tolumnia Red Berry

     I picked up this tiny orchid from the guest shop at the NYBG.  I was absolutely charmed by the bright colors and the tiny pot.  The bloom spike is several times taller than the plant itself, which was in a pot barely bigger than a dollar coin.

here's the pot with a penny for reference

     As soon as I brought the orchid home, I set about getting ready to repot.  I soaked the orchid for a while in a tub of water to loosen the roots, and then gently pulled it out of the pot.  Even being as gentle as I could, I think I still damaged several leaves. I guess I'll know in a few days if I snapped some leaves if I see them turning yellow. 

    Surprisingly the orchid was potted up in coarse bark mix.  I was expecting to find sphagnum moss, or at least something finer-grained.  The roots looked fine, so I did minimal trimming. However, after I spread them out to remove the bark chips, they no longer fit into the original pot.  Not having any other pots of similar size, I decided that I would try my hand at mounting the orchid instead. I figured that a pot so small would need watering about as frequently anyway, and with a mount I could avoid needing to distress the roots as often.

     And here it is perched on a piece of aquarium driftwood, with a patch of sphagnum moss for moisture.  Although I have craft wire, I actually used some old hair ties to attach the orchid to the wood.  Perhaps that is a mistake, but it seemed easier at the time.  If the hair ties start to rot from the watering, I can supplement with wire later. [edit: I did end up changing over to wire a few days later.  It makes a much more stable mount]

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The New York Orchid Show 2012

     On Saturday I checked out the Orchid Show exhibition at the New York Botanical Gardens.  I must have misunderstood the difference between this orchid show and others that I've heard about, since this wasn't the kind of show with judging and vendors putting up displays of orchids for sale.  Instead, the show consisted of several rooms in the NYBG greenhouses filled up with artful displays of blooms.  Additionally, the regular portion of the greenhouse had all sorts of orchids blooming in nooks and crannies in a more natural setting.
     The sunny Saturday made a wonderful experience walking through the greenhouse enjoying the blooms of orchids and all sorts of other exotic plants. (And I think I added several more species to my growing wishlist)

poor picture, but breathtaking blooms: Miltonidium Cindy 'Pinky Lee'

A non-orchid dazzler--the Mysore Clockvine

Nun Orchid--Phaius Tankervilliae

Like a butterfly in flight--Psychopsis orchid bloom high in the air

Zygolum Rhein Moonlight

Oncidium Sweet Sugar

Jade Vine--people were wondering if the color was artificial, but it seems to actually grow this way

A display of miniatures behind a glass screen

Living Rocks--Lithops dorotheae

Giant Longhorn Fern

Tolumnia Genting Angel

And I didn't go home empty handed. :-)  But this post is long enough already, so I will leave that for another day.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Repotting the Cattlianthe Jewel Box 'Scheherazade'

Hollow dried roots

     After noticing several surface level roots dry out and die on my Ctt Jewel Box (formerly 'Slc Jewel Box'), I became concerned with the health of the plant and decided to repot.  Although cattleyas are said to be finicky about repotting, I figured that the orchid wasn't doing much growth currently anyway, so that if there was trouble beneath the surface I would rather find out sooner than later.

Ctt Jewel Box before and after trimming dead roots

     When I removed the orchid from its pot, I was actually pleasantly surprised by the health of its root system.  The root mass was significantly large, and at least half of the roots were in good health.  In the left panel above shows the dark dead roots and the healthy tan ones.  I trimmed away most of the old or dying roots and repotted the cattlianthe into a slightly bigger ceramic pot.  

     I arranged the orchid slightly off-center, so that the two newest pseudobulbs face the middle of the pot, with plenty of room for further growth.  I've heard that cattleya orchids can pout for a long while if their roots are disturbed, so we'll see how successful my repotting has been.  Hopefully the orchid will be happy in its new pot, and I won't have to move it for a while.