Hello Orchid Growers June 2019
I am considering spending less time with my orchids to concentrate on fishing. We ran away for a few days camping at Inskip Point this month. It appears that I do have some potential in catching and releasing fish!
Winter did not deter a good roll up and enthusiastic time at the June Orchid Growers Group. Discussions centred around flowering in orchids. Following are some of the reasons orchids do not flower or bloom with problems.
Many varieties of orchids require high light intensity to flower. If the leaves are dark green and growths soft it would indicate that the orchid is receiving insufficient light. Moving the plant to a higher or more exposed position is required. Watch the change in the colour of leaves and strength of growth.
Insufficient exposure to change in day length
Some orchids initiate flowering with the on set of increasing day length and some with decreasing day length. If the orchids are in constant day length conditions such as artificial lighting they may not bloom.
Exposure to a difference in temperature
Most orchids in nature have a significant difference between day and night temperatures. Many require a drop in temperature to initiate flowerings. This can vary from a short sharp drop to a longer period of temperature differential of lesser amount.
Requirement for a dormant period
There are many types of orchids which in their natural habitat have a dry Winter period. These types go into dormancy and bloom after the rest period when water and temperature increase in Spring. If you overwater and/or fertilize these types you will interfere with allowing the initiation of flowering.
High or Low temperatures
Flower buds and spikes developing are very soft and fast growing tissue. If temperatures are too extreme this can result in the buds or spikes aborting. It is best to place plants when initiating blooming in a more stable protected area.
High or Low humidity
Similar to temperature if the extremes are too excessive it will affect development of flowers and spikes.
The majority of orchids are “slow feeders”. If dormant or in slowing growth they require less fertilizer, particularly nitrogen. Continual applying such fertilizer will result in no or poorer quality flowerings.
There are many chewing insects that find young fresh buds and spikes attractive food. These can include thrips, grasshoppers and cockroaches. Also, mice, rats and possums many enjoy having a feed. Take obvious precautions.
Virus puts the orchid under stress and it is well documented, particularly in orchid cut flower industries, the serious effect. Blooms may be reluctant, lesser quality, not last as long, not as floriferous and/or deformed. It is important to note that these symptoms of virus in your orchids do not have to associated with symptoms of colour break in the bloom.
Some orchid growers have to continually experiment with “magic potions”. Chemicals such as pesticides and hormones can result in physically damaged and/or deformed flowers.
Some orchids need to have so many bulbs or to be of such a size to flower. It is not uncommon for many types whilst still maturing to produce sheaths on immature bulbs which will not develop into flowers. Patience many be required.
Divided or disturbed plants
Repotting and dividing will result in a period before the plant has again formed new roots and is functioning effectively. Dividing the plant too hard and repotting at an inappropriate time of the year will affect the orchids ability to bloom.
Next Orchid Growers Group will be Saturday 6th July. The main topic will be Orchid Pest and Diseases. A significant session will cover all you need to know about virus in Orchids. Emphasis will not just be about identifying pests and diseases, but strategies for effective prevention.
Thank you for your support
Ross and Liz