August 2013: Newsletter 349

July Day Meeting

Despite the miserable weather the visit to Brian and Natalie’s property was a great success. Between 25 and 30 people attended all eager to view their collection of plants and they were not disappointed.

Some members brought their friends along and it was nice to meet them and discuss their interests. After a delicious meet and greet morning tea we all put on rain gear and took the short walk to the orchid house.

We were immediately impressed by the number and variety of plants all set out according to their species. There were separate spaces allocated to dendrobiums, succulents, bromeliads, laelias, cattleyas and many more types of orchid, so folks lingered in the dry warmth with rain beating on the roof, checking out labels and admiring the several lovely plants which were in flower. Brian was on hand to assist with identifying plants and give cultivation advice when asked. It was obvious that Brian and Natalie‟s collection of thousands of plants has been acquired over many years and lovingly tended to create an orchid oasis.

– Nigel Wilson

Evening Meeting, July 16

Present: 41 members & 1 visitor.

Lee and Roy Neale gave us a wonderful presentation on growing mini Epidendrums. Lee and Roy had a fantastic array of plant photos, as well as a comprehensive set of notes that covered all points of growing, caring, feeding, repotting and display. These notes were linked to their personal experiences and developing understanding of how to get the very best out of these amazing little orchids.

The Neales decided to give these orchids a go after a trial of 3 flasks from Australia proved the plants could be flowering just 18 months from flask. So a larger consignment was imported from the US in 2011 and it was these plants that we saw at the National Orchid Expo in Taranaki last November.

Lee gave us a comprehensive list of growing tips for mini Epis and I will try to pass on the main points.

1. Plenty of air movement, use a fan. Can grow outside if no frosts.

2. They don’t like cold winds. (Member of the Cattleya family.)

3. 50% shade in summer with higher light in winter.

4. Water every 2 days in summer with fertiliser included. This is the secret to fast growth. Only water once a week during winter and never on frosty days. Water early in the morning to allow time for plants to dry out.

5. Temperature range preferred is 10°C – 27°C, but the Neales grow with temps of 5°C-30°C, but not too many days below 10°C for continual growth.

6. The plants we buy are in 50/50 No 2 & No 3 Kiwi bark with some shell and pumice added, usually in a 50ml pot. They can stay in this until they fill the pot and have 3 to 4 growths. Repot into next sized pot using No 3 bark.

7. Feeding. Roy uses the same feed all the time, but Lee uses a full range of shop-sold ferts, continually alternating to feed her babies just out of the flasks. But both are adamant that orchids need Calcium nitrate once a month at the rate of ½ teaspoon per watering can. This is followed the very next feed with Epsom Salts at the rate of ¼ teaspoon per watering can. The two fertilisers used in sequence seems to combine to produce amazing results, BUT PLEASE, do not combine the two in the same watering container. (Note: Epsom Salts or Magnesium sulphate can be bought cheaply at Bin Inn as “bath salts”.)

8. Pests. Aphids and scale seem to be the worst pests on Epis, often brought by ants. But remember that aphids fly and scale, in juvenile form also fly. So keep up your insect sprays regime.

Mini Epis flower from August onwards, for up to 4-8 months, but the sequential flower heads will be smaller. Roy thinks that allowing the plants to continue flowering weakens the plant for the following season, and prefers to cut off the flower head, 2 leaves down. This will let the plant bulk up and produce more stems for the next year.

When repotting, Lee suggests that all weak or baby roots are removed from the root mass to promote strong new root growth. If the plant has a side shoot attached, snip it off and plant it in the same pot.

Popular Vote, July

Barbara Nalder: Lc.Mari’s Magic ‘Purple Flare’ 1st
Phal. Leningrad ‘Pink Stripes’ 3rd
Den. Tarean –.

Mary Parkinson: Paph. sukhukulii 2nd
Oncidium ?? tetragonum –.

Pam & Trevor Signal: Den. Colonial Maid –.

Display Plants

(* = Note correct&/or new name; [?] = not identified – check label)

Barry Curtis: Den. Emma; Den. Unknown; Cym. tigrinum; Laelia anceps; Onc. Bracteatum.

Brian & Natalie Simmonds: Onc. Gold Dust; Laelia gouldiana; Laelia anceps x L. furfuracea; Sophronitis acuensis.

Alec Roy: V. Rasri Gold x Ascda. Krailerk White (= Ascda. Kultana White Wing)*.

Helen McDonald: S. Nishimino; Odcda. Bittersweet; Masd. Karen Eleanor ‘Foxy’ AM/OCNZ; Masd. angulata; Masd. Tanager.

Barbara Nalder: Onc. ornithorhynchum; Den. Val Peck x Coral Sun.

Elizabeth Bailey: Den. Yondi’s Surprise; Den. Crooky ‘Jesse’ x Jesmede (?) ‘Cody’; Onc. ornithorhynchum; Pleurothallis truncata; Onc. Tsiku Marguerite; Paph Aladins Pink.

Pam & Trevor Signal: Zygo. Aussie Dinkum x Kiwi Choice; Cattleya (Marriottiana x California Apricot) x Beaufort; Colmanara Masai Red.

Jan Missen: Encyclia polybulbon.

Mary Parkinson: Odontoglossum ?; Oncidium ?; Epidendrum ciliare.

Wilma Fitzgibbons: Isabella violacea; Lepanthes telipogoniflora; Lepanthes tentaculata.

Erica Cowdell: 2 x {Paph. Gowerianum x SilverFleuret (= Paph. Fleuret Green)*} x {Mythic Way x Incantation}; 2 x upside-down Paphs Sandra Mary ‘Empire’ HCC/AOS x Winston Churchill ‘Redoubtable’ HCC/RHS (= Paph. Sand Hill)*; Paph. (Hsinying Makurow x Luna Moth ‘Titan’) x Ruby Voodoo ‘Chunky Monkey’; Paph. Barbatum.