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  • 2 Post By Chris in Hamilton
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Is there a method to the madness?

This is a discussion on Is there a method to the madness? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; ...

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  1. #1
    azaboi is offline Member
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    Question Is there a method to the madness?

    In the past, I've usually received orchids as gifts or as rescues. Iím now thinking about buying a few to add to my collection.

    I know what type of orchid I want, and I know what my growing conditions are, but outside of that, Iím not sure where else to narrow down.

    Do I want something that blooms more than once a year? Large fragrant blooms? Small clusters? Maybe showy ones? Mericlones of past award winners? And if Iím getting one for myself, should I get one for my mom who also likes orchids?

    Suddenly, Iíve found myself dog-earing a dozen orchids, and finding myself trying to convince myself that I have enough space for them all.

    That being said, what do you all do? Do you have a plan with your purchases? One from each colour spectrum? Sticking to what catches your eye? Maybe a fiscal budget approach? lol

  2. #2
    Chris in Hamilton's Avatar
    Chris in Hamilton is online now Senior Member
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    And so it begins. You've decided what type of orchid you want in what way? There are many things to consider. Large fragrant Cattleya are difficult to bloom in an indoor home situation. Can you keep high altitude plants happy? Do you like the plant to be attractive when not in bloom? Can you keep up with the watering of mounted orchids? Do you have space for artificial lighting? etc. etc. A few years ago I was buying anything. Then started getting only plants I felt I could bloom. Now, with a few exceptions, I'm concentrating on smaller species Cattleya and Dendrobium. What have you dog eared?

  3. #3
    Traci's Avatar
    Traci is offline Senior Member
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    Hmmm. Method to the madness? I think for me there is madness in the method. I feel your pain...I always say, "And this is the last one for X amount of time!" However I have collected 4 orchids in the past month despite having gotten about 6 or 7 (who is counting?) in the previous two months. I pretty much stick to smaller orchids because I am literally running out of space for them so if the orchid isn't a mini phal or paph I have mostly said no to them. It's a shame though because there is a store that has MONSTER sized phals for $16. They are absolutely gorgeous but they won't fit on my shelving. I really want a Paph Prince Edward of York and I did find a small one for sale but knowing that it will be a large one in time I was afraid to purchase right now.
    I tend to buy what catches my eye although I do have a set amount that I will spend on a single orchid purchase. Funny though I don't flinch at the price if it's multiple orchids for that price.

  4. #4
    azaboi is offline Member
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    Yup, itís the long downward spiral from here on out.

    Iíll be growing indoors, but Iíve got good light. Iíve got a corner window with one side facing the east and the other side facing south. So Iíve got sun for most of the day and shade in the late afternoon.

    I had to filter the sun through some cloth, though. My orchid leaves/pseudobulbs are Ďtanningí and turning a little purple, but Iím not burning anything.

    I love experiments and did mount two orchids. I had one cattleya that I didnít mind misting every day. But growth was slow and I didnít feel that it was as happy as it could be. That was switched over to water culture recently, furthering the experimentation. The other is staying as a mount.

    Humidity is an issue for me in the winter, but I do have a humidifier at the ready.

    I donít want grow lights because it helps keep a limit on things. Plus I wouldnít want the added electrical expense. Also, once I get to that point, I start thinking orchidarium, then that starts me thinking of turning one room into an orchidarium and thenÖ well.

    So Iím focusing on cattleyas at the moment. I was gifted some larger catts, and theyíve been doing well. But I figure Iíd try some new colours, more fragrant ones/try my luck. Master those, then move into other species eventually.

    Iím looking at these in the photos. There mostly medium and small seedlings, with one blooming size. Hoping my existing seedlings will bloom soon, so there will be staggered surprises for when they bloom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris in Hamilton View Post
    And so it begins. You've decided what type of orchid you want in what way? There are many things to consider. Large fragrant Cattleya are difficult to bloom in an indoor home situation. Can you keep high altitude plants happy? Do you like the plant to be attractive when not in bloom? Can you keep up with the watering of mounted orchids? Do you have space for artificial lighting? etc. etc. A few years ago I was buying anything. Then started getting only plants I felt I could bloom. Now, with a few exceptions, I'm concentrating on smaller species Cattleya and Dendrobium. What have you dog eared?
    I can understand your pain. I started looking a mini/compact sized plants too, but there's something alluring about a large, elegant bloom.... sigh.

    Set amounts are dangerous! I'm looking at $15 seedlings. .... lol

    Quote Originally Posted by Traci View Post
    Hmmm. Method to the madness? I think for me there is madness in the method. I feel your pain...I always say, "And this is the last one for X amount of time!" However I have collected 4 orchids in the past month despite having gotten about 6 or 7 (who is counting?) in the previous two months. I pretty much stick to smaller orchids because I am literally running out of space for them so if the orchid isn't a mini phal or paph I have mostly said no to them. It's a shame though because there is a store that has MONSTER sized phals for $16. They are absolutely gorgeous but they won't fit on my shelving. I really want a Paph Prince Edward of York and I did find a small one for sale but knowing that it will be a large one in time I was afraid to purchase right now.
    I tend to buy what catches my eye although I do have a set amount that I will spend on a single orchid purchase. Funny though I don't flinch at the price if it's multiple orchids for that price.

  5. #5
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    At initial phase I will try the orchids than can blooms for me in lowland than slowly study other species/hybrids which can grow and noticed most paph they refused to blooms as their requirement is not matched so Im wasting my time and money now I'm very careful to buy the next items but my eyes difficult to resist something so outstanding.Hm Hm

  6. #6
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    raybark is online now Senior Member
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    I think you've started wisely by analyzing your growing conditions and finding plants that will do well for you under those conditions.

    However, being from Toronto, unless you have a greenhouse or intend to grow under lights, I question whether cattleya-types are a particularly good choice, especially that brassavola hybrid.

  7. #7
    Chris in Hamilton's Avatar
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    Have to agree with Ray on the Brassavola hybrid. I have a digbyana and two primary hybrids that have never flowered for me. I'm a small window grower primarily and they don't get enough light. Hybrids with Brassavola nodosa might be a better choice. Most are highly scented and stay fairly small. I know I said this in my previous post but again, if you feel you really want to have Cattleya go for mini hybrids. When that grower say's mid-size you should expect the plant (if all goes well) to be up to 18" tall. Also, be sure to check this growers abbreviations etc. SS stands for small seedling and they state that it should not be expected to bloom for about 3 years. You might also try going to a meeting of the Toronto society. Folks there would have tips on what would be best to start with and they have raffles and sales where you can often get blooming size plants very reasonably. Just be prepared to grab hold of some noses and pull them out of the air. Some will ignore you if you haven't been collecting for a minimum of ten years.
    Last edited by Chris in Hamilton; August 26th, 2016 at 10:53 AM. Reason: Another thought

  8. #8
    azaboi is offline Member
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    Thanks everyone. Definitely lots of good points to keep an eye out for.

    I've sorta based my growing conditions on my mom's results. She's primarily a window cattleya grower. She's had much success, which is why I ended up with gifted cattleyas myself.
    Now that I think about it, though, although I get better light generally, she summers her plants while I can't.

    I've always enjoyed the process of figuring things out/experimentation, so I may end up choosing a sample of orchids for different conditions and see how well they thrive. If some don't bloom, I'm sure I could find a happy home for it in the long run. I think that might be my best bet for now; instead of buying ALL the orchids, choose varying requirements and see how well they do.

    At least I can go into this with open expectations and not get bent out of shape if I can't get them to bloom.

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