SO Gardening

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SO Gardening

Sunday, December 08, 2019

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Dear Orchid Doc:

I was really looking forward to seeing my lovely Schomburgkia orchids bloom, but sadly all the buds are drying up before they have come to the blooming stage. I waited over three years since they were babies, only to be confronted by this distressing situation. They have been sprayed with many different chemicals, but I just cannot get rid of the problem.

Merle

Dear Merle:

Schomburgkia orchids are indeed a beautiful species. They take about the same amount of light as dendrobiums.

I believe that your orchids may be suffering from mites and thrips.

Just as one medication cannot be used to treat every ailment in humans, the same is true of insects. Some insects are the sucking type, some are the biting type and some have to be killed on contact.

Against this background, please get a miticide at the farm store; a good one is Newmectin, and a general (not specific to a particular insect) is Caprid, which takes a bit longer to fix the problem, but which is less expensive.

Dear Orchid Doc:

I recently received a few phalaenopsis orchids for Christmas. They are still blooming, but I have no clue as to what I should do to keep them alive for the next blooming season.

Are there any suggestions?

Joy

Dear Joy:

Your phalaenopsis plants can last way into April if they are kept in the cooler areas of your home, or if at the office, keep them in the air-conditioned areas.

When the blooms are withered, where you put them and how much water they get depends on the medium they are planted in.

If they are in sphagnum moss, then you should water ONLY when the moss is 3/4 dried.

If they are in any other medium, they should be watered more often, almost every day, depending on the area where you live.

As I like to say...if you are in Portmore, you need to water much more than if you are in Stony Hill.

With regard to fertilising, between one to three times per week should be good enough; just don't make it full strength.

Spray with insecticide once every two weeks, unless sick, in which case you would spray once per week for at least four weeks.

Dear Orchid Doc

How do you make another plant from a very big orchid?

Sucheta

Dear Sucheta:

If you are speaking of sun vandas, make a slant cut — this prevents water from settling on top — on the main body of the orchid, allowing a minimum of three roots on the new plant. Pot as you would normally with stones mixed with coal if you wish, then put new plant under 50 per cent shade (not too much shade).

If you are speaking of dendrobiums, they usually put out babies much easier, eventually with roots. Separate from the parent when the babies' roots are hard enough to be independent, then pot in stones... not too deep. Pack around the dendrobium rather than on top of the heart, as this will cause rot. Place in about 50-60 per cent shade.

Oncidiums are easier — just take away a bulb or two, and remember not to bury too deep.

Phalaenopsis orchids usually have their babies on the spent stem. Cut off with a piece of the stem and plant in medium of your choice, using the spent stem to anchor leaving the roots on barely on top of the medium.


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