September 7: Panel of Orchid Experts

04 1 Cymbidium Fairy Rouge 'Lavendar Fallers' Exibitor V Dinh Photo T Dark

 

When:  September 7, 2016

Time:   7:00 pm – 9:00 pm 

Topic:  Growing your best orchids at home!

This is a meeting you won’t want to miss.  Our next SFVOS meeting will feature a panel of experts who will give you all info on how to get the best results from your own orchids at home.    Our panel of experts will be AOS Judge and our new president, Arthur Pinkers,  Orchid Expert and cymbidium grower extraordinaire, Art Mendoza and our new Vice President and long time orchid grower, Mark Bentow.

The panel will discuss the best way to keep your orchids healthy, how to water and fertilize each type of orchid,  how and when to report and how to coax your orchids to re-bloom.

Bring your questions, and if you have a plant that needs special attention, bring it to the meeting and ask our experts what to do to bring your plant back to optimal health.

Don’t forget to bring your blooming orchids to show in our Plant Forum, and if you can, bring a snack to share with the group.    Bring a guest, and we will see you there!

 

 

 

 

3/2/16 “Keeping your Orchids Healthy” by Pam Aitchison

Our guest speaker for our next SFVOS General meeting on March 2, 2016 is our very own SFVOS Vice President Pamela Aitchison, who will be sharing information about how to keep our orchids healthy in our home environments.  Her talk will cover many topics that will especially be of interest to new orchid growers, but experienced orchid growers may learn a trick or two as well.

Pam is a Certified University of California Master Gardener, and has been teaching organic gardening for many years.  She provides training to the new Master Gardener Candidates every year, and is a regular guest lecturer at California State University Northridge (CSUN), the LA County Fair, and schools and non-profit organizations throughout Southern California.

Pam has been growing orchids for more than 30 years, and her collection includes Cattleyas, Dendrobiums, Epidendrums, Miltonias & Miltoniopsis, Oncidiums, Masdevallias, as well as Phalaenopsis, Cymbidiums, Vandas, Vanilla Orchids and Zygopetalums.

Pam will be showing us a PowerPoint Presentation and will hopefully give you many ideas and suggestions for caring for your orchids at home.   You won’t want to miss this lecture, so mark your calendar today.

SFVOS Guest Speaker February 3rd, 2016: Doug Overstreet on the Care and Feeding of Orchids

Doug Overstreet.photo

Orchid educator Doug Overstreet, considered by some to be a “man of all orchids,” will present the program when the San Fernando Valley Orchid Society meets at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 at the Sepulveda Garden Center.   The program is free and open to our members and to the public.  Doug will be speaking about the care and feeding of orchids. He will be demonstrating re-potting techniques, and giving us all his tips and tricks to help our plants be healthy and beautiful.

Many of you already know Doug as our interesting and knowledgeable auctioneer at our annual orchid auctions. His encyclopedic knowledge of orchids and lively banter always make for a great orchid auction experience.

Doug Overstreet was born and raised in New Mexico. He is a descendant on both sides from a long line of farmers and is the son a floral designer, so he comes by his interest in orchids naturally.  Overstreet began growing orchids at the age of 10 and said he has been avidly involved in the hobby ever since. He continued his love affair with orchids after moving to California in 1975.

In 1984, his collection began to grow by leaps and bounds, and he now maintains a mixed collection of approximately 1,000 plants.  Overstreet also became an active participant in the local orchid community. Over the years, he has served on the board of the Orchid Society of Southern California, and he is a past president and board member of the Southland Orchid Show Committee. He is a former ribbon-judging chairman for the Orchid Society of Southern California and is an accredited American Orchid Society judge in the Pacific South Region.

A frequent lecturer on orchids and related topics, he has spoken for numerous orchid societies, botanical gardens and orchid nurseries. He is noted for his ability to present complex information on orchids clearly, concisely and in a manner suitable for the advanced enthusiast but also easily understandable by the beginner.

Overstreet has written articles for Orchid Digest and has served on the editorial committee of that publication as assistant editor.  He lives in the Glendale area and owns and operates Nature’s Bounty Orchids, a small nursery serving the Southern California hobbyist and gift plant community through local certified farmers’ markets.

January 6th, 2016 Guest Speaker James Rose of Cal Orchids

James and Lauris Rose.large thumbnailOur guest speaker for January will be James Rose, owner of Cal Orchids.  Jim will open his presentation by teaching us the best way to re-pot our orchids.  This is an important skill, and is a subject many have requested. 

His main topic will be the “Orchids of Madagascar”. Madagascar is best known for its remarkable fauna, including the famous lemurs.  It is also home to over 900 orchid species in 57 genera, many of which are as endangered as the lemurs. These orchids are so beautiful and unique.

You may be familiar with the story of “Darwin’s” orchid.  Angraecum sesquipedale, which is also known as the Christmas orchidStar of Bethlehem orchid, and King of the Angraecums, is an epiphytic orchid in the genus Angraecum endemic to Madagascar.   It is noteworthy for its long spur and its association with the naturalist Charles Darwin, who surmised that the flower was pollinated by a then undiscovered moth with a proboscis whose length was unprecedented at the time. His prediction had gone unverified until 21 years after his death, when the moth was discovered and his conjecture vindicated.

These orchids are highly prized and hunted by collectors and the orchid trade. Additionally, much of Madagascar is rainforest, and much of that rainforest is disappearing.   When the rainforest the threatened, the orchids that live there are also in peril.  Some of the threatened species are AngraeDarwin's orchid and moth.cum longicalcar, Angraecum magdalenae,    Bulbophyllum hamelinii, Grammangis spectabilis

and Eulophiella roempleriana.  Be sure to mark your calendar.  You won’t want to miss this highly informative talk and the culture session on “repotting”.

(Right: Darwins Orchid: Angraecum sesquipedale and its pollinator, a long-tongued moth)

 

 

October 7th, 2015 Presentation: Orchids: Sex, Lies and Deceptions

The Flying Duck Orchid

The Flying Duck Orchid  

Our guest speaker for our next San Fernando Valley Orchid Society General meeting on October 7th is our very own SFVOS member Pamela Aitchison, who will give us a presentation about the amazing world of orchid pollination. 

Orchid flowers are different than the flowers of most other plant species, and their reproductive methods are even more unique.   Many orchid flowers resort to clever illusions and trickery to lure their pollinators.  

Pam has been growing orchids for more than 30 years, and her collection includes Cattleyas, Dendrobiums, Epidendrums, Miltonias & Miltoniopsis, Oncidiums, Masdevallias, as well as Phalaenopsis, Cymbidiums, Vandas, Vanilla Orchids and Zygopetalums.

Pam is a UCCE Master Gardener, and has been teaching organic gardening for many years. She has spoken at many locations throughout Southern California including California State University Northridge (CSUN), the LA County Fair, and many schools and non-profit organizations in our region. 

Santa Barbara International Orchid Show 2014

Mark your calendar.   The Santa Barbara International Orchid Show is almost here.  It is always a great show with beautiful displays of every type of blooming orchid put together by Orchid Societies and Orchid Vendors. There are classes taught by experts and there is a huge room filled with vendors selling orchid plants and supplies.   If you haven’t already visited this show, it is definitely worth the short drive to Santa Barbara.

Additionally,  many of the Orchid growers that are in or near Santa Barbara hold Open Houses that same weekend so you can drop by the various greenhouses and see where the orchids are propagated and grown.   Mark your calendars.  You won’t want to miss these great events.

Why won’t your orchid bloom?

proper light for orchids

Like all plants, orchids require sufficient light in order to produce flowers. 

Insufficient light is the most common cause of failure to re-bloom your orchid. Leaf color indicates if the amount of light is adequate. The lus, rich, dark green of most houseplants is not desirable in orchid leaves. A grassy green color (light or medium green with yellowish tones) means the plant is receiving sufficient light to bloom.

Vandas

Vandas are impressive orchids that are relatively easy to grow.Vanda.in.cage

Vandas are monopodial, which means that the new leaves grow from the crown of the plant. This means the vanda is continually getting taller. Vanda flowers come in beautiful and superbly vibrant colors, including purples, blues, reds, oranges and yellows.  The flower spikes are very long and they usually have  8 to 10 blooms, which are located in a cluster at the end of the stem. The flower stem grow from the base of the leaves and can last for several weeks.   The long, heavy, flower laden stems can sometimes make the plants difficult to hang up and display at Orchid Shows or in your home, and may require additional support during blooming.

LIGHTING
Vandas need an abundance of light. They like either bright  morning  sun and/or  late afternoon sun, providing the sun exposure occurs gradually.  The plants need to adapt slowly to the any increase in lighting.  A good tip is to provide full morning sun whenever possible.  You don’t need a greenhouse to grow Vandas.   Any outside location with bright morning light will do, but  be careful while making the change to brighter light.  Try not to expose it to direct sun on the leaves,  just bright light.  Move it gradually, over the course of several weeks,  into brighter and brighter light and be careful to do it a little at at time.

I had my first Vanda for five years and it never bloomed.  I didn’t know what I was doing wrong.  It seemed healthy but wasn’t flowering.   I was fortunate that at one of our SFVOS meetings,  there was an expect who shared his knowledge about Vandas and explained to me that Vandas are happiest when they get very bright light.  The very next day, I moved my Vanda from the east side of my greenhouse to brighter west side of the greenhouse and I hung it up from the rafters at the top.      I am happy to report that since moving my Vanda to  brighter light, it has bloomed three times in the last year, and each bloom is more beautiful than the last.

TEMPERATURE
Vandas prefer to be kept on the warm side.  Vandas do best when when the nighttime temp is between 55 to 70°F and when daytime temperatures range between 65 to 95°F.vanda.multi.colors.

WATERING
The general “Rule of Thumb” for watering Vanda should be:  Hot temps = more water, and cooler temps = less water.

My Vanda is growing in a wooden cage with the roots all flowing out.  Some of the roots are 24 inches long. I have very little potting media in the cage, and most of the roots are loose and free, but many of them have attached themselves to the wooden cage itself.   I generally water mine about once a week, but when the temperatures are over  95 degrees and the humidity is low,  I give it a daily shower.

Remember that Vandas grown in baskets, without potting media, require more frequent watering.  In baskets, they may need to be watered daily during the summer. Always allow your Vanda to dry out between waterings. Try to water the plant early in the day, so that the foliage will be dry by nightfall.   If you are growing your Vanda in a greenhouse, and the humidity is constantly high you can use Physan 20 once a month (add it to your water) to prevent bacterial and fungal disease.

HUMIDITY
Although Vandas generally prefer 60% to 80% humidity, I can report that my greenhouse almost never has humidity this high.  If you can increase the humidity during the growing season, from early spring through late fall, your Vanda will thank you for it.  During the summer, watering should be supplemented with daily misting of the leaves. Humidity trays may be needed if your Vandas are growing indoors.

FERTILIZER
Vandas are heavy feeders. They must be fertilized on a regular basis! For best results, use nutrients every week. The experts recommend that you water the plants first with plain water, and then water the plant with a 1/4 strength nutrient solution.  Once a month water only with plain water to flush out any excess fertilizer.vanda_orchid_plant.in.pot

POTTING
Vandas may be grown in a medium to large sized Orchid Bark Mixture or you can grow them in wire or wooden baskets, which can then be  suspended (hung up) by a wire hanger attached to the cage.  Plants grown in baskets do not need to be repotted often as those in pots. Vandas grown in regular potting mix in pots should be repotted once every two years.  Repotting should be done in the spring.

It is almost impossible to extract a vanda from a “basket” or  “cage” once it has become attached to it.  When my vandas outgrow their smaller “baskets” I generally leave them in that basket and just place the entire small basket inside a larger basket.  I carefully thread the roots through the holes of the new basket and try not to damage the roots as much as possible.  One of my Vandas which is currently in an 8″ square wooden (redwood) cage has three smaller “cages” inside the basket from prior stages of  its life.   It does no harm to leave the old basket(s) there if they are in good shape and not starting to rot.

If your Vanda’s home “Basket or cage” begins to rot (which may also mean that you are overwatering) then you must re-pot for the health of the plant.  You will need to extract the roots as carefully as possible before re-potting it in its new home.  Soaking the roots for a couple of hours before attempting this will soften the plants roots and make it easier for you to handle them and try to get it out of its old pot.  Take your time, and save as many roots as possible.    Even if you lose a few roots, the plant should rebound and adapt to it’s new home in no time.

SELECTING YOUR VANDA

Vandas are becoming more available to hobby growers and can usually be found for sale at Orchid Shows and they are also available for purchase from many Orchid Growers websites.    You will probably want to start with a smaller specimen, as they are much easier to transport and would be much less expensive.   Your Vanda may need to get a bit bigger before it will bloom.   Your patience will be rewarded with a spectacular show of flowers.

 

PESTS  Common pests associated with Vandas are scale and spider mites.  Check your plant often to make sure it is pest free. Check our section on pest control if you notice any “freeloaders” hanging around your plant.  Vandas hung up from the rafters and/or suspended  are much less likely to get pests.  Best of luck with your Vandas and enjoy the spectacular blooms.

AOS Book Review: The Orchid Whisperer

Book Review:
The Orchid Whisperer

By Bruce Rogers. 2012. Chronicle Books, San Francisco. Softcover. 143 pages. 75 color photographs.

The Orchid Whisperer is an eminently intelligent and attractive book for beginning orchid growers. While not actually advocating muttering at plants (at least not as an active growing tool), it presents plenty of easy-to-understand advice to get novice growers on the road to success. At the same time, author Bruce Rogers, a longtime commercial orchid man, makes it all so readable. Unlike some other “beginner”advice books, Rogers’ language is engaging and humorous, and strikes the right balance between being easy to read and needing a science degree to understand.

Rogers departs from the frequent novice- formula of analyzing conditions and buying plants to match those conditions. Instead, he suggests new growers buy what they like and then look for places inside their homes hospitable to the plants. His topics include practical advice on buying and selecting plants, mixes and repotting, light and temperature, watering and pests. In addition to the usual recommendations about beginning with phalaenopsis and cattleyas, he provides details on other genera such as miltoniopsis and reed-stem epidendrums. Rogers is unabashedly organic, offering green solutions to common pests like mealybugs, aphids and spider mites. He is also unabashedly optimistic, assuring his readers that their orchids can be kept blooming “no matter your experience level, budget, or locations.”

Then there’s Rogers’ humor:
“My advice is to learn how to repot cymbidiums, then find a job that pays well enough that you can hire someone to repot your cymbidiums.”

Graphically, the color photographs by Greg Allikas are excellent and the occasional checklist of tips practical and well organized. Rogers even adds a chapter on decorating with orchids, which is interesting enough to challenge even experienced growers to new levels of creativity. One more chart summarizing the light, water and temperature requirements of the included species might have been beneficial, but that’s available from other sources. The Orchid Whisperer is one to put on the holiday list for novice orchidists, or for those who may cuss while repotting.

— Sue Volek has been growing orchids as a hobby for more than 15 years, in San Diego, Washington, DC, and now Portland. She is on the board of the Oregon Orchid Society, an AOS affiliate, and has been an AOS member for more than 15 years.

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Bryce Augustine on Orchid Propagation

Bryce Augustine will be our speaker for the San Fernando Valley Orchid Society meeting on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013.  Bryce is a long time member of the Santa Barbara Orchid society and an American Orchid Society judge.   He owns and operates Monsoon Flora Orchids (monsoonorchids.com), which he established in 1991 and where he produces Paphs and Phrags in flasks, compots and seedlings.

He is a 20-year veteran of the American Orchid Society judging system as an accredited AOS judge and brought AOS judging to the central coast in April 2008 by creating a new Judging site in Santa Barbara where he served as its chairman for two years. His presentations are always fun and informative and this coming meeting will be no exception.  He will cover many different aspects of Orchids, covering how propagation from seedpods, rainforests, and your own backyard jungle are interrelated. If you were unable to attend the July meeting at the Malibu Orchid Society, you missed a real treat.  I went to that meeting, and learned a great deal.  He had a great PowerPoint presentation and a live demonstration.  After the meeting, I asked Mr. Augustine if he would come and talk to our group, and he graciously agreed.  He also brought some great items for the POT.  Some were “compots” of many small plants in a single pot.   Mark your calendars so won’t miss this fabulous speaker!