Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > January 2016 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--The "Other" Orchids...

BONNIE'S GARDEN--The "Other" Orchids...

Last month, I did a blog on Phalaenopsis orchids—you know, the “ice cube” orchids (the ones you should never put ice cubes on!).  This month, I thought I’d touch on some of the “other” orchids—orchids with the rather intimidating names of Cattleya, Dendrobium, Oncidium, etc.   Now, if you’re not sure what any of these are, then here is a quick guide:  Phalaenopsis orchids have low broad flattish thick leaves with a flower stem that comes up from somewhere at the base of the plant.  The “other” orchids usually have a thick fleshy stem with a leaf or two coming out of the top.  Flower stems may either come out of the top, or from the base of the plant.

If your orchid has a fat stem (called a pseudo-bulb, by the way) with a leaf atop, then it is probably an “other.”  Now, Phalaenopsis orchids are fairly easy to accommodate in the house—just two or three hours of sunlight and average household temperatures are fine for them.  Some of these “others” have somewhat different requirements.  The “fat stem”orchids, by and large, need closer to a half-day of sunlight (especially in the winter when sun is weak and days are short.)  They also need a drop in night temperature of 10 to 15 degrees. 

During the winter, simply setting the plants close to the window (where it gets colder at night when the sun goes down) can suffice.  During the summer, however, we don’t turn our air conditioner colder at night, so the plants must go outside.  Mother Nature may take the temperature from 95 to 75 at night, but it’s the CHANGE that the orchid needs in order to initiate bud set.  With these kinds of orchids, the number one reason I see that they may not bloom, is that they are not getting that temperature change. 

Now there are other varieties of orchids that have other requirements—like Vandas which need LOTS of sun and perfect drainage and Cymbidiums which seem to prefer an even bigger drop in night temperatures so if you don’t have a tag in yours with the variety on it, then have someone who knows orchids identify it for you.

Fertilizing your orchid is recommended.  The American Orchid Society suggests a weak dose of a balanced fertilizer, like 20-20-20.  I usually do half-strength every other time I water.  Some growers like to do a quarter-strength every time they water.

By the way, in February, we will be offering a free seminar on orchid care, so check our website for further information.
Posted: 1/11/2016 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: Bonnie's, Garden, Orchids
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