(VAN-da) Vanda (VAN-da)- Vandas are captivating orchids that may be grown with relative ease. Vandas are vascular plants with monopodial growth habits, that grow upward from a single point. Growth arises from the crown of the plant. Flowers are available in attractive rich colors, including blue, red, orange and yellow. The flower spikes, which usually carry 8 to 10 blooms, arise from the base of the leaves and last for several weeks. Light- Vandaceous orchids require strong light. Provide full morning sun when possible. Semi-terete and terete types can be grown in full sun all day in tropical areas where the humidity is high. Strap-leaved plants need additional protection during the hottest part of the day. The plants need to adapt/acclimate slowly to any increase in lighting. Watering- should be applied frequently when the plants are in the growing phase, but the roots must dry quickly. Because of this, and their extensive root system, they are mostly grown in slatted-wood or plastic baskets, or in pots with a coarse potting medium. If their situation is warm and sunny (Summer months), they may need daily watering. Water less in the winter months when there is less sun and heat. Temperature- Most vanda like it on the warm side, and do not like to go below 55°. Colder spells can be tolerated for a short time if it is not windy and wet. Optimum night temperatures are 60° to 70° F , and a maximum of 95° F during the day if very humid. Warmer temperatures mean faster growth, which must be balanced with higher humidity, air movement, and increased water and fertilizer. Days should be warm and humid for optimum plant growth. Humidity- Vandas prefer high 60 to 80% humidity. A high humidity is essential during the growing season, from early spring through late fall. During the summer, watering should be supplemented with daily misting of the leaves. Humidity Trays may be needed if your Vandas are growing indoors. Fertilizing- Vandaceous orchids require generous amounts of nutrients. Give plants in the greenhouse a solution of a fertilizer, such as 20-20-20 or 15-15-15, weekly during the growing season. Outdoor plants require a heavier concentration of the same fertilizer. During winter, when growth is slower, apply the same proportions every two weeks rather than weekly. In addition, substitute a fertilizer high in phosphorus (10-30-20) at every third feeding to remove built-up salts, flush plants with plain water once a month. Potting- Vandas can be grown in either a pot with large/coarse bark or in Baskets suspended by a wire. Plants grown in baskets do not need to be repotted often as those in pots. Vandas grown in pots should be repotted once every two years. Repotting should be done in the spring.
(eh-pee-DEN-drum) The epidendrum is one of earliest established genera of orchids with over 1,000 different species. Many Epidendrums can be found growing at sea level, and some of its species can be found at higher elevations up in the mountains. Most Epidendrums have reed-like stems that resemble the Dendrobium orchid’s growth habits. These inflorescences are usually long and produce brightly colored clusters of flowers in shades of white, orange, red, yellow, lavender, or fuchsia. Here in Hawaii we only grow and sell the warm growing type of epidendrum. Water- Epidendrums like lots of water in the growing season as they are very fast growers and need enough hydration to build new growths. Water every 2-3 days throughout the spring and summer growing season. Less water is required in the fall and winter months. Water every 5-7 days at that point, allowing the plant to almost dry out between watering. You can help encourage bud growth by withholding water for about a month, however, make sure that your orchid remains happy. Light- This is a very important requirement for growing and blooming epidendrums well. They require high light throughout the year. It should be equal to or slightly more than that given to cattleyas. Some epidendrums will acclimate to full sun. If your orchid is receiving the ideal amount of sunlight the foliage will be grassy green with a slight tinge of red in color. If your plant is receiving too much light the leaves can start to turn a brownish-bronze or dark reddish color. If you do not give enough light it will cause the orchid to become very tall and will keep the plant from producing flowers. Temperature- Epidendrums can adapt to a wide range of temperatures. Nighttime temperatures can range between 55 to 70°F and daytime temperatures 80 to 90°F. Plants can tolerate temperatures of up to 100°F, if shading, humidity, water and air circulation are increased. Most epidendrums can tolerate low temperatures into the low 40's for short periods of time. Humidity- The ideal humidity range to grow your Epidendrums is somewhere above 50%-60% humidity. Remember to have adequate air movement for your orchids by opening a window and letting in the breeze or by placing an oscillating fan nearby. This will help mimic the breeze that the orchid would receive in nature. Potting- Epidendrum like to potted with a medium that allows for good drainage. A recommendation is to mix both a fine and medium-grade bark with perlite works well. Epidendrums can also grow very well attached to a mount, in raised planter beds (never pot with dirt), or outside in x-large cement or clay pots if you live in an area that doesn’t experience frost. Once the plants begin to grow taller you should stake them for support. We recommend repotting every 2 years.
- Dendrobium Aggregatum
The Dendrobium Aggregatum is an epiphyte, that is found from North-East India through Indochina and Thailand. Plants have been found at altitudes of above 500 meters but can also be grown in warmer to intermediate conditions. The plant is open to a variety of different situations as long as it gets plenty of light, water, and a winter rest. Lighting: The Den. Aggregatum needs a lot of diffused sunlight (about 35-50% shade). Most will grow well under the same light conditions as most cattleyas. When pseudobulbs turn a reddish color, the plant is receiving the most light it can handle and should be left in place unless it starts to sunburn. During the plant's winter rest, the amount of sunlight should be maintained (do not give it less light). Temperature: In their native habitat, these orchids experience mild to warm daytime temperatures in spring and summer, and generally cooler temperatures in the winter. This type of plant can grow in a wide range of temperatures, daytime temps can be in the 70's-80's. But it is not unusual for this type of dendrobium to handle temps in the summer months in the high 90's if the weather is humid). The winter night temperatures range from about 45°F to about 60°F. Watering: The watering may be the most crucial element to success with these orchids. Their native conditions are fairly wet during the late spring, summer and early fall. Rainfall can be quite heavy for a few months, but it tapers off in the late fall, and winter months are fairly dry. Water the plants regularly when they are actively growing; mounted plants can be watered daily if air circulation is good. When the new pseudobulbs have matured in the fall, gradually reduce watering, and allow the plant to dry between watering. Fertilizer: These dendrobiums benefit from regular feeding when they’re actively growing. Any balanced, water-soluble fertilizer can be used, diluted according to package directions. We feed once a week during the active growing season. Reduce feeding in the fall and eliminate it completely when the plants are resting in the winter. Resume feeding when the plant begins to grow again, or when it begins to initiate flower spikes. Winter Rest: Den. Aggregatum requires a winter rest period. For a few months (Nov-Jan), the plant should be exposed to 50-60-degree temperatures at night with slightly warmer days. Watering should be gradually withdrawn and fertilizing completely stopped. Plants should be watered very sparingly throughout the rest period if the pseudobulbs show extensive shriveling. Some shrinkage should not be alarming, and plants may be partially deciduous. Sun exposure should remain the same from the growth period through the rest period in order to ensure spring blooms and growth.
(fail-eh-NOP-sis) MOTH ORCHIDS, OR PHALAENOPSIS (fail-eh-NOP-sis), are some of the most rewarding orchids for the beginner. Their cultural needs are easily met, with or without a greenhouse. Many people say it grows just like a house plant. Large mature plants can bloom for three months at a time and, in some cases, bloom twice a year. An American Orchid Society demographic survey showed that Phalaenopsis have become America's favorite orchid. Water- How often you water will depend on the potting medium. Bark retains less water than moss. If your phal is potted in bark watering once a week (drench the plant well) is generally sufficient. If your plant is potted in sphagnum moss, water when the top feels dry to the touch. The amount of light and heat your plant receives will also affect how soon your phal needs watering. Summer months will need more frequent watering, and winter months will need less. After a watering a few times, you will be able to tell by the weight of the pot whether or not it is time to water again. If you are in in doubt, just wait a day. Light- Phalaenopsis are ‘low’ light type of orchids and are great house plants. These plants grow beautifully in an east facing window and can be grown in a south or west window if protected by a sheer curtain (Never put in afternoon direct sun). A phal’s leaves should be olive green. If they are darker it means the plant is not getting enough light; red tinged leaves mean the plant is getting too much light. Temperature and Humidity- Although phalaenopsis will grow at temperatures between 60 F and 90 F, the optimum maximum is 68 F at night and 85 F during the day. However, plants perform reasonably well at temperatures of 64 F during the night and at warmer day temperatures. Relative humidity should be 70 percent during the day and 50 percent at night. When night temperatures drop, the relative humidity increases. The easiest way to provide adequate humidity in a home is to fill a plastic or glass tray with gravel or small rocks, and maintain a layer of water in the bottom of the tray. Place the container on the gravel or stones; make sure the bottom of the pot does not touch the liquid. Water evaporating from the tray will bathe the orchid in humidity. Choose a tray approximately the diameter of the orchid’s leaf span to concentrate humidity around the plant. Fertilizer- Any balanced orchid fertilizer (look at the numbers on the container, 20-20-20 or 15-15-15, etc.) can be used to fertilize your orchid. Feeding weakly (half strength) weekly works well. Once a month, use clear water to flush any accumulated salts from the potting mix. Where to cut the flower spike after it is done blooming- When the blooms are finished, you can cut the spike down to the level of the leaves. Then the plant will hopefully bloom with larger flowers on a new stem/spike that will form next year. You can also cut off the stem leaving two nodes (those little brown lines on the stem below where the flowers were) on the stem. One of these nodes will then initiate (50% chance) and generally produce flowers within eight to 12 weeks.
(DEN-dro-bee-um) Dendrobiums are an great choice for the beginner growers. Flowers are available in a wide range of colors, sizes and shapes. From the time that the first flower bud opens, the sprays will remain in bloom for the next 6-8 weeks. If the plant is kept in a bright warm spot, the plant may produce multiple sprays of flowers. Please follow the guidelines below for successful cultivation. Light- Most dendrobiums grow and flower well under Cattleya-like light conditions, which is fairly strong light, amounting to 1,500 to 2,500 foot-candles. Enough lighting is must for successful growing and blooming. Dendrobiums prefer either an east or a lightly shaded south facing window. Dark green leaves are an indication of insufficient lighting. Temperature- Dendrobiums can withstand hot weather if adequate ventilation and humidity are provided. They are best grown when the temperature is between 65°F and 75°F in the day and between 55ºF to 60ºF at night. Keep in mind that temperatures close to the window on a windowsill will be colder or hotter than your general house temperature. Water- Water your orchids in the morning so that the leaves are dry before night. How often to water depends on the potting media used, and the size of the pot. Dendrobiums like to be in small pots (tight in the pot) and are usually much taller than the pot is wide. Because they are usually large plants in relatively small pots, watering twice a week is about average. They like to be almost dry before re-watering. The rule of thumb for watering should be as followed: More heat more water, less heat less water. Humidity- Dendrobiums prefer 40% to 50% humidity. Humidity Trays may be needed, especially if a heater or air conditioner is in use in the house. You can also mist the foliage daily to keep your plant(s) lush. Fertilizer- Any balanced orchid fertilizer (look at the numbers on the container, 20-20-20 or 15-15-15 etc.) can be used to fertilize your orchid. Feed weakly (1/2 strength) weekly works well for dendrobiums. Once a month use clear water to flush any accumulated salts from the potting mix. Potting- Dendrobiums should be grown in Medium Orchid Bark Mix and should be repotted once every two years. Ideally, Dendrobiums should be repotted in the spring. Dendrobiums do best when grown in pots that are small for the size of the plant. Tips- Give your plants room for air to circulate around them. Crowding of plants can lead to problems with insect infestations and fungus. A small fan will help provide good air circulation around your plants. When your plant has finished blooming, you can cut the flowering stem at the point where it came out of the tall thin pseudobulbs. Continue watering and fertilizing and within a year a new growth will spike to begin the blooming cycle again.
Miltonias are often called Pansy Orchids because their flowers are flat-faced and resemble pansies in shape and color patterns. These charming attractive plants bloom profusely and sometime bloom twice a year. The richly textured colored, fragrant flowers are formed on slender arching stems. Flower can last up to 6 weeks in bloom and are usually sweetly fragrant when the temperature is warm. Lighting- Miltonias require indirect or filtered sunlight from either an east or a shaded south-facing window. When the temperatures exceed 80°F it is important to increase shade. The leaves on the plant should be light green. If the leaves are dark green, increase lighting. If the leaves turn yellowish green or reddish, increase shading. Temperature- In temperate regions, the plants may be grown outside under a protected patio. Plants grown in the home should be placed next to a cool shaded window. While Miltonia will tolerate temperatures of 90 F an above for short periods, keep day temperatures below 80 F by either increasing the shading or providing evaporative cooling. Night temperatures of 55 to 65 F are optimal for most Miltonia. Watering- Depending upon the temperature, Miltonias should be watered twice a week. During the summer, the plants may need to be watered every 2-3 days. Miltonias prefer to be kept on moist side but does not want its potting media soggy. Do not leave the plant in standing water. We suggest watering in the early morning, so that the foliage will be dry by nightfall. Humidity- Miltonias require about 50 to 65% humidity. Humidity Trays will probably help Miltonias grown in the house. Increase the humidity to help reduce the stress on the plants when the temperature and lighting intensity increases during the summer months. We suggest daily misting of the foliage to help keep the plant nice and lush. Fertilize- We suggest fertilizing the Miltonia with a half-strength, balanced fertilizer (20-20-20 or 15-15-15, etc.) every two weeks (twice a month). This can be reduced by half in winter months when less sun light is available. A 10-30-20 blossom-booster formulation is beneficial in early spring when plants approach their flowering period. Potting- Miltonias must be grown in fine orchid bark or sphagnum moss. The best time to re-pot the Miltonia is usually after the plant blooms. Miltonias should be repotted once every two years.
The generic name Grammatophyllum is derived from the Greek words gramma, meaning "a mark or character," and phylum, "a leaf." This probably refers to the varied markings on the petals and sepals of the flowers, which resulted in Grammatophyllum frequently being called the "Letter Plants." Grammatophyllums produce short thick pseudobulbs which are not covered leaf bases and bear a few leaves around the top of the pseudobulbs. The flowers of most Grammatophyllum species, are generally yellow, brown, green and spotted, and are found throughout the islands of the Malaysia, Philippines and New Guinea areas. Light- Grammatophyllums grow well in moderate to high light intensity (30-35% shade). These plants usually acclimate very well to full sun and are often used in landscaping (Often seen mounted on trees). Lime green colored foliage is an indication of proper light. Dark green foliage, while very attractive, is not conducive to the plant reaching it's full blooming potential. Yellow colored foliage indicates too much light. In very mild climates, most members of this can be grown out of doors, with protection from the colder nights of winter. Watering- We suggest to watering every 3 days or twice a week during the hot summer months. They should not be allowed to go completely dry, yet they don't care for a soggy environment either. We suggest watering once a week in the winter and early spring months, when weather is colder. Humidity- Grammatophyllums like it warm and very humid. The humidity level should be at least 50% or higher. Increase the amount of humidity in the summer months (Mist the leaves daily). Make sure the plants have good air circulation. This will help prevent fungus, insect problems, and mold from forming on the leaves. TEMPERATURE- The ideal temperature range for most Grammatophyllums are 75°-85°F. during the day and 55°-6O°F. at night. Plants will tolerate temperatures to 45°F (if not wet) and up to 100°F for short periods. At higher temperatures, air circulation and humidity must be increased. FERTILIZER- Grammatophyllum plants should be fed consistently. we suggest using a Balance type fertilizer 20-20-20 or 15-15-15. From Spring through early Fall, fertilizing every seven days, with several clear watering in between. In the late Fall through Winter, a light feeding once every other week. Repot- We suggest repotting your Grammatophyllums every 2 years. Usually you can go up 2" inches in pot size from your last pot. This type of plants grows really fast and usually double in size every year. Use large decorative bark chunks to wedge the plant in the pot, the roots should fell the pot and become very root bound.
- Cultural Requirements of Hono Hono Orchids
The Hono Hono Orchid or Dendrobium Anosmum, has been a Hawaiian favorite for many years. The Hono Hono in Hawaiian refers to the plants’ growth habit of alternating leaves, very similar to the introduced weed, Commelina diffusa or Wandering Jew. Oddly it’s the flowers and their exquisite fragrance and not the leaves that keep people excited about growing this orchid. Another interesting fact about this orchid is that its botanical name Anosmum actually means without scent! My only guess is that some taxonomist was probably looking at a dried sample, because there is no mistaking the unique fragrance that the Hono Hono has. For this article and simplicity sake, I am including the related species and hybrids of Dendrobium Anosmum together, since they share similar cultural requirements. To grow the Hono Hono orchid well we must first learn a little about it and where it comes from. Its origin is quite widespread throughout Southeast Asia. This tells us that their dry season is opposite from ours in Hawaii, therefore we need to manipulate our culture to provide the proper environment, enabling us to flower the Hono Hono well. Dormant Cycle This cycle runs from December to February. Dormancy begins when nighttime temperatures drop, and watering is reduced. Keeping the orchids dry during our wet season could be difficult. One way is to move them under cover (Polypropylene roof or under the eaves of the house). If the Hono Hono does not go into dormancy, flowering will be poor. Next season’s new growth will emerge before the buds and will compete with bud formation. December Decrease watering to two times per week, making sure that the orchids to January are drying between watering. Do not fertilize, tap out any timed released fertilizer from the pots. The Hono Hono Rule: The day that you will eat the most (Thanksgiving Day), is the day that you starve your Hono Hono. It is a good sign when the leaves begin to turn yellow and fall off. The Hono Hono is pulling back and is storing all its energy into the plump and bare stems (pseudobulbs). February Buds should begin to form along bare stems. Currently, they are very vulnerable to flower trip’s, which will turn the small buds brown, resulting in few to no flowers. Next years’ shoots will start forming from the base of the flowering cane. Flowering Cycle The flowering cycle normally occurs during the months of March to May. Using several different species, hybridizers are making new crosses that bloom at slightly different times. But generally, most Hono Hono will flower during this time of year. March The flower buds should become larger and begin flowering. Increase April watering to once per day. Check flowers for unusual markings or May crippling. This could be symptoms of virus. These plants need to be culled, as there is no cure for viruses. Try to keep water off the flowers. The delicate flowers are susceptible to Botrytis or Flower Blight Fungus. Continue to watch for flower thrips. Planting Cycle This is the best time of year that the Hono Hono should be planted or repotted. As new shoots develop so will the new roots. Planting should be done when the new shoots are 4-5 inches long and the emerging roots are one to two inches long. Avoid damaging the tender root tips. The most common media used with pots, is a bark mixture (Approximately 3 parts medium orchid bark, 3 parts peat moss, and 1 part perlite). My favorite is New Zealand Sphagnum Moss. Others like to mount them on Hapuu (Hawaiian Tree Fern), or onto cork. One caution when mounting is that you really need to water often as they tend to dry a lot quicker. May Continue watering every day or more if possible. Begin fertilizing with a to July water soluble type of fertilizer. The new growths emerging from the base of the recently bloomed stems should be about four inches long with new roots forming, before the old stem is removed. Make sure that you sterilize your pruner between plants (A propane torch is best). Viruses are the deadliest disease of Hono Hono and is mostly spread by your pruner. Label cut stems and cut them into 4-5-inch segments. Remember that keikis will only form on areas of the stem where the nodes that have not flowered. Place them in a shallow tray containing 3 parts peat moss and 1 part #2 perlite mix. Keep them in a shady area and allow the keikis to emerge. Grow keikis in these trays for a year. Repot them into them flowering pots when new growths and roots begin to appear. These plants should flower for the first time in two growing seasons. Treat the area for slugs as they love to feed on the tender new shoots. Older plants should be repotted every two years. As the media ages, it begins to breakdown becoming sour and soggy. Fertilization causes pH of the media to become too low or acid. Salts begin to accumulate to toxic levels. The root system soon dies. From the third year and beyond, you will notice that the stems will become shorter and the flowering will become less and less. Growing Cycle During this time the Hono Hono is in its most active growing stage. They are heavy feeders and want abundant water. Grow them in an area of filtered sunlight. Avoid direct midday sunlight, unless you are close to the mountains and have a lot of cloud cover. June Continue watering once per day or more. Fertilize twice a week with a July one half strength, balanced, water soluble fertilizer. Inspect new shoots August for thrip damage (browning of the new leaves in the whorl). Also, September caterpillars can affect the new leaves. Inspect the undersides of the leaves October for spider mite damage (silvering to browning, with tiny red dots). November Stop fertilizing by mid-November. By following some of these basic rules of growing the Hono Hono, you too can be successful. By collecting the different types of Hono Hono, you may be able to stretch their blooming season from February to June. Just imagine having the beautiful flowers and wonderful fragrance for one third of the year! The best thing about growing Hono Hono orchids is that everyone can share their extra keikis with friends.
(Kat-lee-uh) Cattleyas are known as the "The King of the Orchids". They are best known for being the classic corsage orchid. Cattleyas are an excellent choice for beginners. Due to their relative ease of culture and adaptability to many different environments. Cattleyas are among the most popular orchid genus grown. They produce breathtaking fragrant flowers an are available in a wide range of spectacular colors, sizes, shapes, and textures. Light- Cattleyas grow and flower best with strong, filtered or indirect sunlight. The most common cause for failure to flower is insufficient light. Growths and flower spikes should develop straight and strong without the need for staking. Foliage color should be medium olive green. If the growths are weak and floppy, and the foliage a very dark green, the light is probably insufficient. If the foliage is more on the yellow side and quite hard, the plants may be receiving too much light. While it will flower, the plant is probably being stressed and will not perform to its optimum. In the home, cattleyas prefer either an east or a lightly shaded south-facing window. West windows should be used with caution. Depending upon the location of the home, the west window may become very hot during the late spring through early fall. Watering- Depending upon your temperature, Cattleyas should be watered about once or twice a week. During the summer, the plants may need to be watered every 3 days. The simple rule of thumb for watering should be as followed: The hotter the days, the more watering is needed, the colder the days are, the less watering is required. Cattleyas may be allowed to dry out between watering. Try to water the plants early in the day (morning), so that the foliage can dry off during the day. Give the plants ample air circulation to help dry the leaves. Temperature- Cattleyas adapt to a wide range of temperatures. Provide nighttime temperatures 55 to 60°F and daytime temperatures 70 to 90°F. Plants can tolerate temperatures of up to 100°F, if shading, humidity and air circulation are increased. Most cattleya can tolerate low temperatures into the low 40's for short periods of time. Humidity- A range from 40 – 60-percent relative humidity is recommended. While relative humidity is naturally inversely proportional to temperature, the reverse is needed by cattleyas. That is, the humidity should rise with the temperature to prevent the plant from being stressed by transpiration. In greenhouses, under-bench misting activated by a humidistat is a practical solution. An alternative is to spray the walks and benches with water. In the home, place plants on a grid over a water-and-gravel filled tray or mist them daily. Fertilizer- Any balanced orchid fertilizer (look at the numbers on the container, 20-20-20, etc.) can be used to fertilize your orchid. Feed weakly (¼ strength) weekly works well for catts. Once a month use clear water to flush any accumulated salts from the potting mix. Increase the fertilizer to ½ strength when the plants are in active growth. Potting- Cattleyas should be grown in Medium Orchid Bark. The bark mix should be moderately coarse to allow for free drainage. Cattleyas should be repotted once every two years. Ideally, Cattleyas should be repotted in the spring.
- Basic Orchid Care
Place orchids in a location where there is bright light, but not in direct sunlight. Most orchids like bright filtered light or early morning direct sun. Usually, a southern or eastern exposure will provide the light you are looking for. Make sure there is good air movement around the plant near an oscillating fan or an open window. Moving air prevents disease, Fungus, and bacteria which tends to germinate on wet surfaces. Providing humidity around the plant is very important. Placing your orchid in the bathroom can be an ideal place since there's usually a window to let in light and a hot shower once a day provides excellent humidity. Having a fishbowl near your plant or using humidity trays, humidifiers and fountains work just as well. You can also mist the leaves on your plants daily, this will help keep your plants nice and lush. Unlike most of our familiar houseplants, orchids are adapted to conditions that experience not only seasonal variation in temperatures but also significant day/night variations as well. Most orchids can handle temperatures ranging from 70's-80's during the daytime and a low in the 40's at night. Orchids like to be in tight pots and let their roots travel and fell up the pot. Use media that drains well like sequoia bark, coconut husk chips or Orchites bark from New Zealand. We usually recommend re-potting/transplanting every 2 years and upgrading the pot size about 1-2" inches. Water your orchid when the media in the pot is dry and your pot feels light when lifted. Usually a once to twice a week watering is enough (Drench the plant thoroughly). Water heavily only in the mornings and make sure the plant gets good air movement after. We are currently using a fertilizer in our water system: Peters Excel (cal-mag) 15-5-15. Our suggestion is to fertilize once every other week. You do not have to use the exact type of fertilizer that we use. Many people are having success using a 15-15-15 or 20-20-20 that you can purchase from your local garden stores. Just remember to fertilizer your orchids twice a month and hopefully they will flourish for you