Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Darwinian orchid care

      Even as my updates have gotten fewer, I've also been finding less and less time for watering my collection.  Where before I was spending nearly an hour on my orchids every day, now I water everything in one quick go every few days as I remember.  Sometimes 'a few days' means almost a week goes by.

     With this kind of neglectful care, my collection is undergoing a rather harsh natural selection process.  Some orchids seem perfectly fine for now under this regimen of care.  Others, particularly orchids which were in weak health to begin with, have visibly suffered.

     My collection is now reduced by two.  I lost Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy almost a month ago.  This was the orchid which rapidly lost all its roots due to what I think was excessive cold during the winter.  The phal continued to shed leaves, until nothing remained of the orchid.  RIP.

Infected orchid

     I also threw away my hapless Aliceara Matthias 'Glamour'.  This orchid has been trouble ever since I first bought it.  I had noticed a white fuzz on it a while ago, and recently it appeared to have spread.  I am not too versed in orchid pests, but I'm guessing this is 'scale'.  Regardless, I had the orchid isolated from the rest of my collection for a while.  Today, in a moment of frustration, I just threw it in the trash.  I'd rather have one less young, sick plant to take care of, than risk the rest of my orchids for the chance to see this one flower.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Guest Post on OrchidsMadeEasy

     Ryan and Laura Levesque, authors of Orchids Made Easy, have kindly invited me to answer some questions on their site.  Check out my guest post at  

I hope to get a regular post (or two) up later this week.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy! And check out the rest of their website on orchid care.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dtps Jungo City in bloom

Dtps. Jungo City

     I apologize for the long gap between updates.  Life got significantly busier, and I'm not sure when I'll be able to return to the old pace of posting every 2-3 days.  In the meantime, I have a large backlog of updates to go through.

     Dtps. Jungo City bloomed at the very beginning of May. I wanted to wait for the spike to come into full bloom, but due to general dehydration issues, the flowers wilted soon after opening.  So these two pictures (the top with flash, and the bottom without flash) are the only ones I've captured.

Dtps. Jungo City (natural light)

     The color on the flowers is almost identical to my Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy blooms.  However, at 2.5" across, the flowers are significantly larger.  I don't know if the wrinkling of the flower petals is a result of underwatering, or just a consequence of this orchids genetics.  I hope I'll find out with next year's blooming.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Phalaenopsis Memoria Audrey Meldman 'Mendenhall' in bloom

Phalaenopsis Memoria Audrey Meldman 'Mendenhall', with flash

     The phalaenopsis opened a single 2.5" flower on a short 4" spike, on April 24th.  This makes a 5 month maturation time from when I first noticed the spike in November.  There were originally to be 2 buds, but I accidentally knocked one off a couple months ago.

Phalaenopsis Memoria Audrey Meldman 'Mendenhall', natural light

     The flower color is a much deeper red than when I had first purchased this orchid in bloom.  However, it is still very much a dark pink, rather than a true red flower.  Taking photographs with flash enhances the red tones, which are much less pronounced to the eye.

Using flash enhances the red tones in the flower

     Nonetheless, bud maturation during the colder months brought out a darker hue in the flower, which I enjoyed.

Last year's bloom had a pinker tone

Saturday, May 4, 2013

New growth on vinicolor noid paph

Noid paphiopedilum

     My noid vinicolor paphiopedilum recently finished blooming.  I've cut off the dried flower spike.  Almost immediately after the flower wilted, the orchid started working on a new growth. 

New growth

     Once the growth becomes large enough to be putting out roots of its own, I will attempt to repot the orchid such that the growth is a little close to the potting media.  Right now it's quite a few inches up the stem of the previous growth.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Angraecum leonis repotted

Dehydrated Angraecum leonis in a vase

     After almost 2 years, I am terminating my attempt to grow Angraecum leonis in a vase.  The methods was not intrinsically flawed, so much as I have run out of time to water the orchid as much as it requires.  Grown in a vase, my Angraecum needed daily watering during the cooler months, and would need twice daily watering during summer.  Lately, I have been finding myself too busy to take care of my orchids on a daily basis (hence the recent decline in post frequency as well).   I've been watering the orchids every 3-4 days, and the Angraecum has suffered as a result.  The newest leaf is shriveled.

Newly repotted Angraecum leonis

      I've repotted the orchid into a 5" clear plastic pot, with large bark pieces.  Hopefully this setup will help it better tolerate my lackadaisical watering schedule. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

New growths and a possible spike on Cymbidium Kusuda Shining x Douglas Dillon

Growth or spike?

     My Cymbidium Kusuda Shining x Douglas Dillon has produced a number of new growth starts, one of which is much rounder than all the others.  Could it be a spike?

This one is definitely a growth start

Slightly larger, but also a new growth

   The last two pictures show what I'm fairly certain are starts of new pseudobulbs.  So what about the top picture: growth or spike?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Spotted noid phal in bloom

Spotted Phalaenopsis orchid

     This lovely little orchid is the oldest in my collection.  It's a no-name box store hybrid phal, which has survived with me since 2009, and was the first of my orchids to ever rebloom for me.

Flower closeup

     There are 4 flowers on a short spike (and a 5th bud developing).  Spike maturation lasted 3 months.  The first flower opened on 03/13/13, and all are still blooming strong.  The flowers are 2.5" across.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Surprising blooms from Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy

A severely dehydrated Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy in bloom

     My Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy took a big turn for the worse soon after I treated it for cold-induced root loss.   The leaves turned limp and wrinkled, and eventually yellowed and died.  It now has only two leaves left, and neither looks very strong. And yet, even as the plant itself suffered, it managed to proceed to blooming.

Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy

     Even more surprising than the appearance of the flowers was their look.  They look different from the image advertised on the Hauserman's website when I purchased this orchid, and even more different from images of Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy I've seen online.

Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy as advertised on Hausermann's

     In hindsight, perhaps the Hausermann's picture is not too different (just a yellow hue which changes the colors of the flowers). However, there is a great variety of Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy flowers around the internet with all sorts of different colorations and shapes.  Check these photos out: one, twothree.  Every single one looks like a completely different hybrid, yet all bear the same name.

Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy, by Orchidgalore (Flickr photostream)

     Some of these flowers are solid colored, some are spotted in various patterns.  Some have the more typical phalaenopsis shape, while others like mine have the smaller petals and pronounced lips typical of dtps. hybrids.

My Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy flowers closeup

     The flowers on my Dtps. Yu pin Burgundy are a very deep saturated wine red, with white edging on the tips of the petals.  The flowers are small, only about 1.5 inches across, and their lips are disproportionally large.

Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy

       The individual flowers didn't last very long, but I suspect that's a reflection of the plant's current dehydrated state.  The first flowers opened on March 12, and the orchid is still in bloom now.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Phalaenopsis Gold Tris 'Desk Pot' in full bloom

Phalaenopsis Gold Tris 'Desk Pot'

     My Phalaenopsis Gold Tris is now in full bloom.  The first of the flowers actually opened on February 23rd, and further buds have been slowly maturing every since then.  

Phal Gold Tris 'Desk Pot'

     The orchid produced 21 flowers on two spiked.  However, 15 flowers was the most to ever be open at the same time.  The earliest blooms have since started to fade, while the last two buds have yet to open.

Phal Gold Tris 'Desk Pot' closeup

     The flowers are much more vibrantly colored this time, compared to the pale yellow blooms from last season.  Again, I attribute the winter cold for bringing out the red tones on these flowers.

Phal Gold Tris 'Desk Pot'

     The flowers are 2 inches across, and unscented.  Half the flowers face to the front, and half to the back of the plant.  The spikes are about 8 inches tall.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Repotting noid phalaenopsis

Large noid phal

     In March, my large noid phal (still in bloom since December) lost the last of the 10+ inch leaves it had originally arrived with.  At this point, since the orchid did not eem to be growing so well, I decided to do a repot.

Noid phal roots before and after trimming

     When I removed the orchid from its media, I discovered a rather large proportion of dead roots.  These roots did not strike me as rotten or diseased, so much as just expired.  The roots higher up on the stem remained healthy. Nonetheless, the low proportion of healthy roots explains why this orchid has not been growing as well as it could have been.

Newly repotted phalaenopsis

     I repotted the orchid into a smaller, 5-inch clear pot with coarse bark media. Hopefully the repotting will help inspire further new root growth.  In the meantime, the orchid has produced yet more buds from the tips of its spikes, so I will get to enjoy its blossoms for several more months to come.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cattianthe Jewel Box 'Scheherazade' in bloom again

Cattlianthe Jewel Box 'Scheherazade'
     These flower developed incredibly quickly (by orchid standards).  In February, I posted about the pseudobulb finishing its growth, with a hint of swelling in its sheath.  Less than two months later, I had two open flowers (03/26/13).  This sets the length of bud maturation at around 6 weeks.
Cattlianthe Jewel Box 'Scheherazade' closeup
     The flowers are unscented, and about 3 inches in height and width.  The color is a deep scarlet, with orange near the lip.  This makes a great difference from the last blooming, when the flowers had a paler and pinker magenta tone.
Summer blooming on left, winter blooming on right
     The difference in color is the result temperature variation.  Last years flower buds developed in the heat of NY summer (flower opened in mid June 2012).  The heat led to a more adulterate red coloring.  Meanwhile, the current flowers developed during February and early March, when nighttime temperatures often decended into the 50s (if not lower) where the orchid grew.  As a result, the red color is much more intensified.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Repotting Phalaenopsis gigantea

Bare root Phalaenopsis gigantea
     Phalaenopsis gigantea got moved up to a larger pot on 03/12/13.  The reasons for the repot were two-fold.  One: I'm finding myself less and less willing to water orchids every day.  The 2.5" clay pot that housed my gigantea seedling dried out very quickly, and I wanted to have more time between waterings.  Second: the orchid has grown a great number of roots since September, but they were all growing up and out of the pot.  But putting the orchid is a wider larger pot, I was able to give all these new roots a chance to grow into the media.
Phalaenopsis gigantea seedling

Friday, April 5, 2013

Repotting Phalaenopsis Memoria Audrey Meldman 'Mendenhal'

Phalaenopsis Memoria Audrey Meldman 'Mendenhal' in bud (04/05/13)
     After the disastrous root loss on my Dtps Yu Pin Burgundy, I carefully the examined the rest of my pants for any signs of trouble.  Most of the orchids were perfectly fine, but I noticed a hint of rot on my Phal. Memora Audrey Meldman. 
Phalaenopsis roots before and after trimming
       Fortunately, I caught the problem quickly, and most of the roots remained healthy.  I really think that the cause of this root loss is not bacterial or fungal in nature, but rather caused by too-cold nighttime temperatures.  If I am right, then I should have no more root issues now that Spring is coming.
     I repotted the phal on 03/14/13.  The orchid remains healthy looking today, and is working on a singular flower bud.  I managed to snap off an earlier flower bud a couple months ago, so I am trying to be extra careful in handling the orchid so as not to damage this one.    

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Vinicolor noid paph in bloom

Noid Vinicolor Paphiopedilum
     My noid paph opened its flower during the first week of March.  These pictures were taken on March 9th.  The spike matured rapidly, taking only 6 weeks between the first sighting of the flower bud to flower opening.  However, the final opening of the flower occurred over several days, so it's difficult to pinpoint an exact blooming day.

Vinicolor paphiopedilum noid closeup, natural light
     The flower is 3.5 inches in height, and 4.5 inches in width.  The spike is just over 12" tall. It opened with several imperfections which weren't there when I purchased this orchid last year.  There is the little dry spot at the front of the pouch.  Additionally, the dorsal sepal never fully opened.  It leans forward at a 45 degree angle.
Vinicolor noid paph, backlit front view
     Still, I love the deep berry color on this orchid, as well as its quick and undemanding growth habit.  
Paph noid vinicolor, front view flash

Monday, April 1, 2013

Repotting Oncostele Pacific Perspective

Oncostele Pacific Perspective
     On the same day as the Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy repotting, I also moved my Oncostele Pacific Perspective to a larger pot.  The orchid had grown so many roots, that I simply could not keep up with watering it frequently enough in the old 4-inch pot.  You can see in the picture above how the pseudobulb on the far left is starting to wrinkle.  All those creases have since evened out once I moved the orchid to a larger pot which stays moist for longer.
Oncostele Pacific Perspective
     The roots on the oncidium intergenic were healthy and numerous.  I barely had to do any trimming to clean up dead material.  Impressively, all this root growth is less than 6 months old.
Oncostele Pacific Perspective

     The orchid is now housed in a shallow 5-inch plastic pot, which will hopefully hold it for the rest of the year.  Its two new growths are now maturing quickly, and promising to grow quite large.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Repotting Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy

Dtps. Yu Pin Burgundy

     On March 09, I noticed some more rotten roots through the clear plastic, and decided that I could not risk waiting any longer to repot.  If the stress of repotting would blast the flower buds, so be it.
Extensive root damage
Remaining roots after trimming off dead and rotten material

     When I removed the orchid from its pot, I discovered extensive root damage.  Most of the roots were either dried out, or rotten.  Only 4 living roots remained, and those were all shriveled and unhealthy still.
     My suspicion is that the damage was caused by cold shock.  My orchid shelves are next to an open window, and this season had some very cold nights.  Further, the water I use on my orchids is stored in a glass tub right next to the window, so I was likely watering my phals with water that was far too cold for their roots to handle. 
     In the meantime, I treated the orchid with fungicide, and repotted into a smaller 4-inch pot.  The orchid is now looking very scraggly and dehydrated, and losing leaves.  I hope it manages to pull through.  In the meantime, it has managed to open some of its flowers, which I will post about at a later date.

Friday, March 29, 2013

New York Orchid Show 2013: Cattleyas

Laelia superbiens

     Laelia superbiens was a striking tree-like specimen.  Many of the growths were over 5 feet tall, raising the mops of lilac blooms over the heads of passersby.

Rhyncattleanthe Fuchs Orange Nugget 'Lea'

     A name to pronounce at ones own risk.  This orchid, and the next one below, were both blooming in the miniatures terrarium.

Rhyncattleanthe Hsinying Catherine 'Dogashima'