Wednesday, June 3, 2009
The orchids are getting new digs, too!!
Volunteers Tony Donzello and Win Turner have been busy readying the new orchid house for our expanding collection. With its new irrigation system, including a water filtration system with a 5-zone capability, this new house will help volunteer Sandy Catron meet the growing requirements for the many species on site. With over 550 square feet of bench space, and much more hanging space, this former swale is becoming a haven for our exotic beauties. .
Vandas have become increasingly popular because they are vigorous, produce a profusion of flowers and are easy to grow in southern Florida. Most grow happily when hung from a tree or a structure; others can be planted in the ground and trained to climb a tree or pole. While many orchid species flower in cooler months, vandas reward their caregiver with blooms 2, 3 or more times per year and the flowers last up to 6 weeks. A well-grown plant will show its appreciation with continuous growth and blooms. Vandas react best to light shade, airy, natural environments with nighttime temperatures ranging from 60-75°F and daytime temperatures of 80-90°F. Temperatures cooler than 50°F will send Vandas into dormancy. Treat them with heavy misting during prolonged periods of temperatures over 90°F.
Sandy feeds every orchid by hand, including this giant Vanda insignis in the old orchid house.
Vandas respond well to repeated watering until saturated. This is best done in the morning giving foliage a chance to dry out before nightfall. You’ll know that you have an adequately watered plant when the roots are a deep green. If roots are white or partially white, continue to water. In hot weather you may need to water everyday, otherwise water when soil is dry on the surface. Drought stress shows as pale green or yellow leaf color. Sandy recommends a weekly application of 15-5-15 fertilizer, mixed at a rate of 1.5-2 Tbs. per gallon of water, during the summer, reduce to once or twice a month in cooler weather.
Vandas don’t like to be disturbed. If divided, offshoots should have three roots on them and be properly secured to a large container.
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