Hello Orchid Growers August 2019
August Growers Group Meeting saw over 100 enthusiastic orchid growers participating – learning about orchid culture, meeting new friends and having a wonderful afternoon tea. Some members from a local orchid society (Brisbane Orchid Society) joined the afternoon and all gave very positive feedback about the experience.
The main topic of the afternoon was potting. Following are some of the key points we discussed.
Most orchids are best repotted in Spring as they begin new growths and roots. Many orchids are seasonal in their growth and flowering cycle, having a pronounced dormant or resting period. Potting when dormant or inactive growth can set the plant back. Some orchids like most Cattleyas have growth to various extent all year round so are more tolerant.
Have the right potting media
Potting media should have the correct water retention, aeration, drainage suitable for the type of orchid. There are many different components which can achieve the same optimal result. Various types of orchids can be epiphytic (on trees), lithophytic (on rocks) or terrestrial (in the ground). Do your homework and with the help of internet or advice from successful experienced growers use appropriate media for the type of orchid. Aim for the media to allow for 2 years growth. If you are a heavy waterer it should allow to be well drained.
Have a suitable pot / container / mount
There are so many different options on the market. You can even be inventive and make or modify your own. At the end of the day it comes down to the appropriate air, water, pH and drainage suitable for the type of orchid. Again, the internet and advice from experienced growers will put you on the right track.
Have appropriate tools on hand
By having secateurs and other tools that you find easier to use make the repotting experience less frustrating and arduous. I often use a screw driver to slide down the inside of the pot to loosen the mix and roots to enable the plant to be removed from the pot with less physical effort. The secateurs used comfortably fit my grip and strength. Russ has been of great value over the years passing on many simple little tips that make potting life so much easier. Keep an eye out for these little techniques and / or tools that you might benefit from.
Do a health and culture check
Repotting is a perfect time to make an assessment on how your culture is going. Is there strong and vigorous root growth? If an immature plant – is the new growth larger than the previous? Are leaves and pseudobulbs the right colour and of good substance? Has the plant flowered to its potential? Everything is exposed while repotting to evaluate and make improvements if necessary. Also, it is a perfect time to check for signs of pests and disease. Are root tips green and whole? Any signs of scale or mealy bug? If cutting a stem does it look cream to green with no brown / orange or purple colouration? Are the roots creamy white and of good substance? All these signs are important indicators of pest and disease status. There is no point in potting on a plant with inherent developing problems without treating the issue first.
Next Growers Group Meeting will be Saturday 7th September. The main topic of the day will re repotting challenging orchids (overgrown or neglected) and also some more interesting and innovative ways of potting an orchid.
The nursery pack up and reorganization is well underway for Spring and looking good. Somehow, I have even found some time to pot a few of my own plants! Shown are some of the flowerings over the last fortnight that have brightened things up.
Thank you for your support
Ross and Liz