Sunday, April 29, 2012

Paphs grow new leaves

The too-tall fan grows taller

    I was hoping for a bud, but the growth on my noid paph is clearly a new leaf.  I bought this orchid in bloom around July of last year, and it is in good health.  If I'm lucky, it will rebloom for me in the summer.  The orchid has been a fast grower for me, so there is still time for it to finish the new leaf and start on a spike.

     There's a chance that it's not getting sufficient light to flower (which might also explain why the new growth has such a ridiculously tall 'stem').  My paphs and phals are growing under a daylight sunlamp, which I now suspect is not bright enough.  I've ordered a new fixture of T5 fluorescent bulbs, which will hopefully arrive soon.

New leaf on paph sanderianum first became visible about 2 weeks ago
     The new growth from paph sanderianum is good news.  It is a young plant which needs to get much bigger before it can hope to bloom.  I've read that sanderianums usually need to develop multiple growths before they flower, and I'll be keeping a hopeful eye out for that.  When I bought the plant 6 months ago from Marlow's Orchids, he had them listed as 2 years from blooming size.  If it grows well, I can hope to see the start of a new fan by the end of the year.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Completed repotting cymbidium Kusuda Shining x Douglas Dillon

Cymbidium in new pot: old pot on left

     It's about a week since I originally tried repotting my cymbidium, and found that I didn't have proper pot for the roots.  Now finally, both the new pot (see picture) and the new media (classic cymbidium mix from have arrived.  

     The mix is different than what I've ever used before.  Instead of primarily bark chips, it seems to be mainly coconut husk.  It seems like a mix that would retain more moisture than plain bark.  I'll see if I like it, and decide whether to use this, or plain bark when it's time to repot my other cymbidium hybrid.

     When transferring the plant from its interim oversize pot (on right) I was happy to see that all the roots were still in good condition, and very dry.  I soaked the plant, and potted it in the new tall pot, with the newest two growths pointing at the center.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mushy backbulb on Oncidium

The brown part of the backbulb feels hollow and mushy

     The oldest pseudobulb on my Wilsonara Pacific Perspective is rotting away.  The brownish portion of the pseudobulb (whose color the camera flash so nicely accentuates) is hollow and mushy on the inside.

    I don't want to repot the orchid now, since it's in full bloom, and I don't want to risk losing the flowers early.  The roots seem healthy, so I hope I am not making a big mistake by waiting.  But as soon as a blooms fade, I will be repotting, and cutting off the rotten bulb.  I will also be switching to a different potting medium, perhaps one specifically formulated for oncidiums.  Currently I have it potted in paph&phrag mix, because it's a fine-grade mix and the oncidium's roots are thin.  But the rot seems to indicate that it needs a change.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Big Phal noid not growing?

     What am I to make of my big phal noid?  I bought the phal in bloom last summer, and although its keikis are growing splendidly, the mother plant hasn't done anything in that time.  When I repotted the phal last Fall, it had a decent root system, but no growing root tips.  Even as my smaller noid phal grew a fresh crop of roots, this one hasn't done anything.  Neither has there been any hint of leaf growth.

     The phal lost one leaf in the Fall, and now the oldest two leaves are showing signs of age.  Is the phal waiting for the keikis to finish growing before it can produce any new growth?  I think it will be at least a few more months before they are ready to detach from the mother plant.  The largest of the keikis now has roots that are only 1 inch long, and the other two haven't yet grown roots at all.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Growth on Ctt Jewel Box 'Scheherazade'

New pseudobulb after 1 month of growth

     It's now been almost 2 months since I repotted the Cattlianthe Jewel Box, and it has since seemed to establish itself.  The one new pseudobulb has grown considerably in the past month. 

     The wrinkling of the new pseudobulbs seems to have partially reversed.  They now have one permanent wrinkle each, but have otherwise filled back out.

New root peeks out

     I've also noticed a new root poking through the holes in the pot.  I take this as a very positive sign that the roots have adapted well to the repotting and are now growing fresh tips.

     Now if only I could have flowers!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Repotting Cymbidium Kusuda Shining X Douglas Dillon

A look inside the cymbidium pot

     I decided to repot the last of my new orchids today.  The cymbidium had recovered from being shipped to my apartment without issue, and since it didn't look ready to bloom anytime soon, I thought it would be as good a time as any to repot.  In general I like to repot orchids soon after I receive them so that I can clearly know what the state of the roots and media is.

     the cymbidium was planted in a mix which was primarily sphagnum moss and perlite.  The root mass was large and healthy, but thankfully not terribly overgrown.  Remembering my mistakes with repotting my other cymbidium, I tried to be extra gentle on the roots while prying the old media out.  I held the roots under a running faucet for several minutes, which helped wash out much of the remaining debris, and helped soften and uncoil the roots.

A beautiful root mass

     In the end, I didn't have to trim many dead roots at all.  I ran into trouble when trying to find a new pot to repot the orchid in.  The old one seemed to small, but the only pots I had which were tall enough to contain the root mass, were also much to wide at the rim.  In the end I temporarily potted the cymbidium into an oversize 7 inch pot using dry coarse media.

oversize orchid pot with old pot for comparison

     Meanwhile I ordered a new pot which is 6 inches at the widest, and 8 inches tall.  Since cymbidium roots tend to grow long (much more so than other orchid roots) I expect a taller pot to fit the root shape better.  I was also dismayed at the cost of larger sized ceramic pots ($30+), so I picked out the one that was on sale, selecting by price and dimensions rather than aesthetics.  I also ordered some cymbidium potting media.  When the new purchases arrive, I will transfer the orchid to new pot and media.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Repotting Paphiopedilum sanderianum

Young Paphiopedilum sanderianum plant

    It is a testament to the Paph sanderianum's slow growth that this is the first time I am writing about this orchid since I introduced it when starting this blog.  I've had the orchid for about 6 months now, and all it's done is finish growing a new leaf.

Another leaf?

     Now there is a hint of something new pushing out from the crown; it is almost certainly another leaf.  Bolstered by the new growth and the incipient Spring, I decided to finally repot the orchid for the first time.

     I was immediately struck by how dark the paph's roots are (much darker than those of my noid paph).  Most of the roots seemed healthy, but I didn't notice any new growing root tips.  There were however several broken roots, which I trimmed off before returning the paph to its pot.

Paph sanderianum roots after trimming

The old paph potting media

     I noticed that the old paph media had rocks mixed in with the bark and perlite.  I guess the rocks help increase the drainage of the media.  Since rock doesn't degrade like bark does, I picked out the pebbles and mixed them in with fresh media, and used that to repot the orchid back in its original pot.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pseudobulb wrinkling on Cattlianthe Jewel Box

     The past week has been extra busy with school, and as a result I have neglected updating the blog for a bit longer than usual.  My orchids have likewise suffered some neglect; with 4 orchids mounted, and 1 in a vase, my collection is also somewhat more demanding now than it used to be. 

     So now I've noticed wrinkling on the two newer pseudobulbs on my Ctt Jewel Box 'Scheherazade'.  On the one hand, the plant is now potted in fresh very loosely packed coarse media, in a porous pot; the orchid now dries out far faster than before.  I have also been more neglectful of watering.  On the other hand, this may be the collateral of the repotting experience last month.  I'll see if the wrinkling goes away, but it might not. With at least one new root growing, and a fresh pseudobulb growth, I expect that it should be able to adapt to the new conditions, regardless.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wilsonara Pacific Perspective Time-Lapse

     Here is my first attempt at putting together a time-lapse of an orchid bloom.  It's far from perfect, but I am pleased with the results for a first attempt.  

     Lessons to be applied to future attempts will include staking up the flower spike to prevent it drifting across the field of view, and take better efforts to keep the background clear of clutter.  Also, it seems that even in the early days when the flower buds don't seem to be doing much in the way of growth... they are surprisingly mobile.  And when they do open, the final unfolding seems to take place over the course of only a few hours (and in the case of this wilsonara, very early in the morning while I'm still asleep).  For these pictures, I chose the less demanding frequency of taking photos once daily (increased to 3x per day when the buds were about to open).  I will try to increase the frequency of pictures for next time I try this.

In the meantime, here are some more photos of the Wilsonara Pacific Perspective in full bloom.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Three new orchids

A new batch of orchids arrived in the mail

     The orchid show peaked my temptation to once again go orchid shopping.  I made myself wait a couple of  weeks, but when I saw a few of these plants go on sale, I ordered yet another batch of orchids for my collection.  On the left is an in-spike Psychopsis Mariposa 'Mountain.'  Meanwhile, on the right are two more tolumnias: Pink Panther and Genting Orange.  

     I intended to grow the tolumnias mounted, and the psychopsis had dead-looking roots poking out from the bottom of the pot.  Consequently the first thing I did after taking this picture was soak the plants in water to loosen the roots for re-potting.

Psychopsis root health: soon to be dead

     Frankly, the state of the psychopsis roots was disappointing.  A number of the longest roots had grown right out of the pot, and I unfortunately had to cause some damage when pulling the plant out.  Meanwhile, that soggy brown-looking thing in the middle of the picture (right at the base of the leaves) looks like ancient sphagnum moss.  

     I know psychopsis don't like being re-potted, but I am glad I did change the media immediately.  The media was very old, and none of the roots looked very healthy.  I trimmed back some of the mushy dead ones, and potted the orchid in a clear plastic pot with loosely packed fresh media.

Growing psychopsis spike

     The orchid did sell 'in spike' at a very attractive discount, so I  am hoping that it will be able to grow new roots and quickly establish itself in the new media.  If not, I will nurse it until it recovers.  Fortunately, my two oncidiums looked far worse and survived, and I expect to be able to save this orchid regardless of what happens in the next few months. 

Tolumnia Pink Panther

     Next I re-potted the two tolumnias.  Tolumnia Pink Panther had the healthiest roots of the bunch.  The root ball was about as big as the leaves themselves, and most of the roots were a healthy white/green color.  To me this looked like an orchid ready for re-potting-- but not over-ready.

Tolumnia Genting Orange

     Although it was in a smaller pot, Tolumnia Genting Orange had actually longer leaves than the Pink Panther (and slightly disappointingly, both were larger than my original Tolumnia Red Berry).  Here, the orchid looks like it should have been re-potted a season ago.  The healthy thicker roots were growing outside the pot.  Meanwhile the mass of roots within the pot is a lackluster tan, and of dubious health.  

     However, I am now realizing that both these plants have far healthier roots than the Tolumnia Red Berry which I bought at the NYBG orchid show. Although that orchid hasn't lost any leaves yet, I am rather concerned about whether it now has any healthy roots at all.

Tolumnia growing spike

     As a pleasant surprise I noticed that the Tolumnia Genting Orange was in spike as well (unlike the psychopsis, the plant was not listed as 'in-spike' on the online catalog).  This means that if I get the care conditions right, I may have new orchids coming in to bloom when my Wilsonara Pacific Perspective finishes flowering.

Two orchids, one mount

     I mounted both tolumnias on a log of 'aquarium decoration wood,' using some living moss and craft wire. The orientation of the top plant is not quite perfect (I would have liked it more vertical) but I figure the leaves will adjust over time. 

     With tolumnias I feel that the pots are so tiny, that I'd have to be watering them frequently anyway (my biggest concern with mounting orchids has been the necessity for daily watering).  At least with the mounts, I'm less likely to rot the roots by accident.  Meanwhile, since I can hang the mounts off the side of the shelf, I'm not taking away space from my other orchids. I love these cheery little orchids, and hope that I won't have casualties in my process of learning to grow them.