November 2016: Newsletter 385

October Evening Meeting

Present: 33 members.

We were very pleased to be able to hand certificates from the National Orchid Expo.

Elizabeth Bailey: First & Third; Conrad Coenen: First & Second; Erica Cowdell: First & two Seconds; Barry Curtis: Second & Third; John Edwards: Second & Third; Brian Enticott: First & two Seconds; Wilma Fitzgibbons: First; Diane Hintz: First & Second; Helen McDonald: Second; Ron Maunder: Several; Sandra Simpson: Second.

Our speaker for the evening was Sandra Simpson who had captured the essence of the Expo, the orchids themselves, with her camera. Sandra is very meticulous with her photography, but found conditions a challenge in this vast barn of a building, with very distant, high lighting. Luckily it was fluorescent, which does not distort the colour range, but taking beautiful photos took a great deal of time and effort. Sandra concentrated on individual orchids and flowers rather than wide display shots.

The new Grand Champion is Dendrobium Matthew Moore ‘Purple Jester’, grown by Jenny Walsh of the Taranaki Orchid Society. Jenny had many beautifully grown specimen orchids on show in the Taranaki display. Click on the link above to see photos from the show and see a list of winners.

During Sandra’s Powerpoint display we were very fortunate to have input from Helen, Pam and other judges present at the Expo. This gave us a much greater understanding of the complexities of judging displays and individual orchids. Thank you Sandra, for your delightful talk and photos, and to all others that joined in to add to the evening.

10 Simple Points for Successful Phalaenopsis Growing

1. Give as much natural light as possible, without direct sunlight, when growing indoors.

2. Water every 7 days during winter and a little more in summer, with a tiny amount of all-purpose fertiliser (1/2 tsp per litre in water), preferably not too high in nitrogen (N). Do not use slow release fertiliser, like Osmocote, as the plant can suffer root burn.

3. Try to give a little extra calcium as a lime or dolomite dusting on top of the bark occasionally.

4. Pot in bark, No 3 or 4, for flowering-sized plants, with polystyrene bits in the bottom for drainage.

5. Repot newly purchased plants straight away, particularly those in sphagnum moss (which is strictly for experts).

6. Repot into fresh bark every 2 years, removing dead or unhealthy looking roots. Carefully curl any ‘air’ roots into the pot and gently work the bark down around them.

7. Give your flowering sized plants 2-3 weeks cooler temperatures at the end of February and beginning of March to initiate flower spikes. Find the coolest room in the house or use a sheltered porch. Temperatures should come down to 15°C to 16°C. For normal growing they prefer 20°C – 22°C and love to have air movement around them.

8. There are two options for dealing with spent flower stalks. Some prefer to cut off the stalk just above the lowest node, so that stalk will send up a secondary flower shoot. Others prefer to cut off the stalk close to the plant, to force the plant to grow a new stronger flower shoot.

9. To keep up the humidity around your plant, sit the pot on a layer of gravel, marbles or river-stone and keep the water just below the surface. Don’t sit the plant pot in water.

10. To water your plant take the pot to your sink and flush water through the pot and around the roots. Try to do this early in the day so any water caught in the leaves can dry out before night.

Care Instructions for Zygopetalum Orchids

These instructions are written specifically for the plants sold by Brennan’s Orchids in the US but cover some good points for growers in New Zealand too (conversions made).

Zygopetalum crinitum. Image: JJ Harrison (Wikipedia)

1. Let the planting medium dry between waterings. If your plant is potted in moss, pinch the top of the mix. When the top of the mix is just dry between your fingers, take the pot to the sink and water the pot with tepid water until the water is pouring out the drainage holes. Let the plant drain thoroughly. If your plant is in bark, let the mix dry a quarter to a third of the way down into the pot between watering. If you see black freckles or pitting appear on your leaves, the plant either got too dry or too hot. Zygos do not enjoy temperatures over 30°C.

2. Give the plant the proper light. Morning or late afternoon light is best. That means an east, west, or shaded north-facing window. Avoid direct sun during the harshest ‘skin cancer’ hours.

3. Regular meals all year long, please. Your orchid does not go dormant. When not full of buds and blooms, your orchid is growing roots and leaves so it will have the energy to put out more blooms the next cycle. Feed your plant every other watering with a balanced (20-20-20) plant fertiliser mix or a balanced orchid fertiliser.

4. If your plant is potted in New Zealand long-fibre sphagnum moss, repot your plants every two years; increasing the pot size just enough to fit the new air root growth into the pot, not more than an inch at a time. If your plant is in bark, repot every year. Repotting usually occurs in late spring or right after all the blossoms are spent and gone. Moisten the mix before use. Pot the plant so that the mix is firm but still airy.

5. This is more of a guideline than a rule. The older leaves will sometimes get brown tips. This is normal and you don’t have to do a thing. If you find it unappealing, you can trim the brown tips off. Sterilise your cutting instrument first.

Popular Vote, October 2016

Barry Curtis: Cym. Magic Devon ‘Maisie’ 1st. The photo was taken at the National Expo.

Helen McDonald: Lyc. Wyld Court ‘Sir William Cook’ X Shoalhaven ‘Kobe’ 2nd

Elizabeth Bailey: Den. Brinawa Charm ‘Tuppence’ 3rd

Conrad Coenen: Sarco. John Noble

Noeline Gardner: Phal. Unnamed.

Display Plants (* = Note correct &/or new name) ([?] = Not identified)

Barry Curtis: Sl. Jinn x ? ; C. intermedia; C. intermedia var. Aquinii; Lc. City Life (Lc. Liptonii x C. Circle of Life); Phal. Flight of Birds x Super Stupid; Cym. no name; Zygo. no name; Ada aurantiaca; L. angereri x Lc. Trick or Treat; Pleione Fuego.

Brian and Natalie Simmonds: Cattleya Kiwi Sunset; Lc. Aussie Sunset ‘Cosmic Fire’.

Conrad Coenen: Lycaste skinneri; Den. linguiforme; Baptistonia echinata; Slc. Fire Magic ‘Nora’.

Alec Roy: Coelogyne flaccida; Cym. Scallywag x Featherhill; Doritaenopsis Anna-Larati Soekardi*.

Helen McDonald: Lyc. Murasakino (see 2nd in Popular Vote); Sarco. Fiery Glow; Sarco. Mem. David Hutchins (Galaxy x Yvette); Gomesa croesus; C. Port Light; C. itambana x S.coccinea ‘Seagull’.

Sandra Simpson: Cym. Unnamed x 2; Cym. India Tea’ Superlative’; Coel. cristata alba; Lc. City Life (Lc. Liptonii x C. Circle of Life); Sarco. (Rhinochilus) Lava Burst; Den. (Dockrillia) Pugioniforme.

Elizabeth Bailey: Masd. Copper Angel ‘Chzrlie’ ; Masd. Patricia Hall ‘Lorraine’; Sarco. Perky; Den. nobile type – ? species.

Wilma Fitzgibbons: Maxillaria variabilis var. Lutea; Phal. Barracuda; Phal. unnamed.

Diane Hintz: Angcste. Paul Grigg ‘Brenda’ AM/OCNZ; Lyc. Sunrise ‘Eve’ x Kanara ‘Bern’; Lyc. Promises ‘Purity’; Onc eurycline; Onc. splendidum; Sarco. Elise ‘Plum’ x Velvet ‘Samantha’.

John Edwards: L. angereri x Lc. Trick or Treat; Soph. coccinea; Den. – Nobile Type ? species ? hyb. Sarco. Fitzhart; Sarco. Heidi.

Ute Rank: Cym. Yuri ‘Red Velvet’; Cym. Sarah Jean ‘Ice Cascade’ 4N; Den. Unnamed x 2; Blc. Love Sound x C. Chocolate Drop (= Blc. Brassy Gold)*.

Trevor and Pam Signal: Zygo. crinitum x Zygocolax (Zygopabstia) Kiwi Shadow.

Jan Missen: Cymbidiums Unnamed x 2; Den. Boshnii [?]; Den. Snowflake (? Nobile Type hybrid). Jan has had the misfortune to have all her labels jumbled into one bundle, (by the removal person who transported her orchid plants to her new address!) so unfortunately is going to have to advise that in some cases there could be doubt about the correctness of plant names.

Note: Dendrobium nobile is a species from Indo-Asia including southern China and Taiwan. The name ‘nobile’ should therefore correctly be reserved for that plant. However, it has been called the “matriarch and progenitor of nearly all the ‘soft-cane’ dendrobium hybrids”, and hybridising and line breeding of nobile with other similar species has generally given bigger and showier flowers with a much wider range of colours than nobile itself. These plants have of course been given their own hybrid names – written with a capital letter, e.g. Den. Uvwxyz with no mention of nobile, unless you add it before or after the registered name, in brackets, to describe what sort of dendrobium is involved in the parentage, e.g. Den. Uvwxyz (nobile type hybrid).