Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Star Orchid for the Holiday Season!

Orchid growing tips for the Christmas Star Orchid ....

Star of Bethlehem Orchid, also known as the Christmas Star Orchid is something you will want to keep your eyes out for to add to your collection this holiday season.

With its star shaped flowers it is exotic indeed, with its heady citrus spicy scent. It is of the Angraecum genus and include nearly 200 species native to the African Tropics and Madagascar.

Common characteristics of the Angraecum include waxy, white flowers, long nectaries, pollination by a specific moth, and generally are night fragrant. Ivory, creamy white, milky white and slight green tinges are the colors of the flowers. The long nectary is one of the more distinguishing characteristics of these orchids.

A. sesquipedale Flowers of the Angraecum orchids are extremely diverse in size, fragrance, growth habits. Sizes range from miniatures to the 5 inch "stars" of the A. sesquipedale. This species is one of the most popular. Flowers are showy and this orchid generally blooms in winter around Christmas time. It is nick-named "The Star of Bethlehem". Other species can flower at various times of the year.

Care of Angraecums:

  • Temperatures: The Angraecums tolerate a broad range of temperatures and adapt well to cool environments, intermediate and warm environments. Angraecums like a higher humidity of 60 - 80% and temperatures between 57 - 85 F. There are s few species require chilling weather for at least three months (A. sororium, A. protensum).

  • Light: Many varieties enjoy high light which is why they can be grown with Vandas and Cattleyas. Generally however, they grow well in phalaenopsis-like light with more shade than sun.

  • Watering: Give considerable amounts of water. Angraecums like "feet like phals"... they definitely like to stay moist. These orchids are sensitive to salt and fertilizer buildup, so flush well.

  • Fertilizer: Many growers recommend a 20-10-10 or 30-10-10 fertilizer solution year round. Generally, fertilize once every 3-4 weeks in the winter and every 2 weeks in spring and summer. Flush plants well after fertilizing to reduce salt buildup.
These awesome exotic "stars" certainly are a terrific addition to any holiday season .... here is wishing everyone happy holidays and a wonderful New Year!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This Is NOT the Way to Care for Orchids!

This was reported from the BBC News Channel:

Precious orchids stolen from park

Rare orchids have been stolen from the Peak District National Park countryside in Derbyshire.

The dark red Helleborine orchids were dug up from the Stoney Middleton area and experts say the theft could affect the biodiversity of the Peak District.

The orchids, which are 15-30cm (6-12in) tall, have a hairy stalk with up to 20 flowers which grow in rows on the stem.

Police have condemned the theft of the orchids, which are only found in five areas of the UK.

'Under threat'

Pete Charleston, wildlife crime co-ordinator for Derbyshire Police, said: "Some people might be surprised to know that it is a crime to take plants from the countryside but these orchids are as much a part of our heritage as a painting in an art gallery and deserve protection too."

The orchids grow in open countryside, accessible to the public in the Peak District National Park.

One plant, which had about 10-15 orchids on it, was dug up by the thieves.

Natural environment team manager for the Peak District National Park Authority, Rhodri Thomas, said the stolen orchids were likely to die due to the difficulties of successfully transplanting rare plants.

"The actions of the thieves have damaged a nationally important wildlife site and put a rare plant under threat.

"Orchids are popular flowers but it is important that they are left to flourish in their natural environment - in this case the limestone area of the White Peak."

Police have asked anyone with information on the thefts to contact them.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is an offense to pick rare plants.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Orchid Growing Tips - Ghost Orchid?

A rare and endangered orchid species lives just around the corner from me ......

I have the honor to live in SW Florida where occasionally one can get a look at the famous Ghost Orchid. These can be found in the everglades swamp ... which is not a lot of fun to hang out in, or you can, like I did, go to the
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary just down the road.

This rare and endangered flower is available for everyone to see whether you are wearing flip flops or high heels. There is even a telescope right there on the boardwalk to take a look! Many talk about the about the flower's story. They share feelings and thoughts, hopes and fears about its birth, discovery and life.

At Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, the treasured blooms float high on the trunk of a 500-year-old bald cypress tree. Ghost orchids usually have about two blooms, although the one at Corkscrew had more than 10 when it bloomed in 2007.

The endangered species normally blooms in June and July, and had five when it first bloomed June 23. Currently two are visible.

The ghost orchid gets its name because the plant has no leaves, only roots, and when it blooms, the flower appears to be floating freely.

Professional photographer Rod Wiley, 57, says, "When it's first born, it looks like a pollywog. Then it opens, and if we're lucky, the sphinx moth comes in and sticks his long tongue down in there. His face brushes up against those little black dots that look like eyes and pollinates it." He is documenting its life for the sanctuary, from buds to blooms, like a parent photographing a growing child.

Sanctuary employee Mike Shunney said, "Yes, the ghost orchid is in bloom," adding, "Yes, you can see it from the boardwalk," he adds. "It's about 50 feet up in a tree and about 150 feet out. There's a spotting scope, so you can get a close look."

The cypress canopy is thick where the ghost blooms, shading the boardwalk completely. The earth below is layered with needles, logs, leaves, roots.

Talk about a real treat to see! Orchid growing tips? I don't have any for the Ghost Orchid, but it is something everyone should see at least once!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Orchid Growing Tips to Make your Orchids Thrive!

Orchids grow all over the world, so when we start thinking about orchid growing tips we need to think about all the different environments that these lovely plants thrive in. Of course, we know that many orchids thrive in a warm humid area, similar to a rainforest. Elevation does not seem to be a factor as many grow quite well at higher altitudes. Some orchids love the sunshine and do very well growing high up in the treetops where the sun rays are the strongest, but then there are others that prefer a much lower light source.

To care for your orchid it is important to know where each plant originates, but for the most part there are a few orchid growing tips that seem to work for most plants:

  • · Most orchids love to have air circulation because this is what they are used to in nature. We must remember that Mother Nature does not “fuss” over her orchids like we do and sometimes the weather can be quite harsh with large temperature swings
  • · Do not over water! I know, you don’t want them to dry out completely, but there is a middle ground here. Be sure to water less in the cooler months as your orchid tends to grow more slowly and therefore need less water
  • · Check your orchids over carefully when the weather begins to change. Look for any fungus, mites or other critters that might be hiding on the leaves … be sure to check the undersides, too!
  • · My orchids love my fish pond water, but rainwater is the second best choice. Otherwise make sure that your water is de-chlorinated and make sure that it hasn’t gone through a softener. The salt from the softener is not a real friend to your orchid. Your water should also be at room temperature. You certainly don’t want to shock your orchids with an ice water bath!
  • · When it is time to begin repotting your orchids, set up an area where you can dispose of your old potting medium that may have pesky pests hiding, dip your plants in an insecticide as well as a fungicide before repotting and be sure to use new medium in a clean pot.

Orchids are not difficult to keep happy if you just follow a few orchid growing tips and for sure they will give you years of enjoyment!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Orchid Growing Tips - Orchids LOVE Pond Water

One of my very favorite orchid growing tips ... Pond Water! Orchids love to grow by a fish pond because of the humidity. What makes them even happier is if you dip your watering can into the pond and give your thirsty orchids a sip of "poopy" fish water!

The fish fertilizer that you pay big bucks for at the garden center is free for the taking ... LOL!

My orchids absolutely thrive on it. I discovered this one day after a storm when one of my orchid pots blew in to the pond. I didn't notice it until the next day and after I retrieved it I thought I hope this guy makes it ....

Two weeks later, I had flowers getting ready to bloom, it was like it had an extra booster of the "good" stuff!

Since then, all my babies are watered with this and they have never been happier. When you are learning how to care for orchids, take a serious look at this some of my orchid growing tips.

Orchid Growing Tips - Orchids have a History

How to care for orchids and orchid growing tips are some of the most asked questions when novices look at these delightful plants .....

The colorful history of the orchid plant goes back centuries ... at one time they were thought to be associated with virility. Indeed, orchids are one of the most studied of plants.

Over the centuries orchids have been a symbol of love, luxury and beauty. During the middle ages, orchids were used as a remedy for a number of illnesses. They have also been considered an aphrodisiac and a main ingredient in certain love potions!

For many, these wonderful plants have a mystique about them as hard to grow, but in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The #1 Orchid growing tips that is your key to success is matching your environment with your orchid.

Orchids grow wild all over the world and there is no reason that you can't find at least a handful of varieties that will flourish in your area.