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- When should I repot?
Orchids need repotting when the potting material breaks down. This can usually be noted by dead, soggy roots and constantly wet potting material. Orchids also need to be repotted when they overgrow their pot, and/or become too unwieldly. Always repot for the roots, not the foliage.
- When is the best time to repot?
When new rooting activity or the beginning of new growth is seen. New growth activity is usually preceeded by nice green root tips on new plump white roots. In Phalaenopsis, the new rooting rooting will come from the base of the plant. In the orchids with psuedobulbs the new rooting will come from the new growth. If in doubt, repot in the spring.
- Where do I cut the flower spike?
In most cases, cut at the base of the spike with a sharp,hot, clean tool. If cutting a still green spike, Always cut with a very hot instrument, to seal the cut, and cover the cut with a fungicide. Leaving the spike, until it dried out, is another suggestion. When dry the old spike can be broken clean and no worry about infection of living tissue
- What Type of Soil do Orchids need?
The majority of Orchids require no soil. They are air plants requiring a loose, easily drained substrata for support. In nature, orchids can be divided into four distinct types according to their growing substrata.Those growing on trees are classified as epiphytes, or air plants. Those Orchids which cling to the surfaces of rocks are called lithophytes, or rock growers. The third group is the Orchids growing in the leaf litter on the forest floor or the Saprophytes. Finally, there are the terrestrialswhich do actually support themselves in soil or sand.
- Well if you don't use soil, what do you use?
As most orchids are epiphytes, they can be grown in fir bark chips, coconut chips, rocks, lava rock, crumbled charcoal, or wooden baskets or cork plaques. Actually, Orchids can grow in about anything you want, just have to adjust watering and fertilizing accordingly.
- What is your favorite Orchid media?
Our favorite media is coconut chips, as they last 5 times longer than bark, hold a lot water without getting soggy, as well as being lightweight and airy. Plants in coconut chips have less disease problems and healthier roots. Less watering, and definitely less repotting because of media breakdown. Just pick up the whole root ball and move to a bigger pot as the coconut chips are good for 6 to 10 years.
- What is Best Orchid Food Urea or Non Urea?
That is a question sure to invoke a variety of heated responses. Short answer (in my opinion). Urea not bad. But, urea probably not
best, either. You won't kill your orchids fertilizing with a urea based fertilizer. They may not be getting quite as much nitrogen as you
intend. Short reason is that urea is typically broken down into plant munchable bits by soil bacteria. You have few soil bacteria in your
potting mix. So, the prevailing wisdom is that since plants can't utilize urea directly, you are wasting your time fertilizing with it.
That said, it isn't at all true. You can grow good orchids with a urea based fertilizer. But you have to use a lot more nitrogen to get
the same result. Most of the people I know have switched to non-urea based fertilizers for that reason, but any fertilizer is better than no
fertilizer. So, don't worry about killing your plants with the urea, but you may want to consider switching at some point.
Rob Halgren Grow Mor Non Urea Foods
- Should Orchids be protected from drafts?
Only chilly winds. Orchids thrive in an environment where there is a constant air flow.
Orchids like it hot, right?
Not really, most orchids prefer a middle range of temperatures. If you are comfortable the Orchids will be comfortable too. Of course, there some warm-growing species which enjoy hot weather. And then there are some cool-growers which do not mind an occassional subfreezing temperature.
- Where Can I find out More
Right here, Camp Lot A Noise Tropicals has lots of free information about Orchids, Orchid Photos, and our ever present email answer center. Drop us an email and we will do our best to find you an answer.
Camp Lot A Noise Tropicals has a bookstore online, with several excellent books to help a grower learn more about Orchids. The bookstore also has listings of Orchid books available through Amazon. com.
Joining a local Orchid Society is great way to meet local Orchid growers.
Do all the bulbophyllums have the "objectionable"odors indicated by the books as typical of that genus? (i.e. "urine, blood, dung, rotting meat, a herd of dead elephants", etc.)
NO, only about 10% of the 2800 Bulbophyllums actually have a bad smell. However, the 10% give the other 90% a bad name. Most Bulbos are scentless or have a typical flowery fragrance. With the exception of a very few Bulbos, you must have your nose nearly in the flower to experience the fragrance, including the bad smelling Bulbos.
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