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How do you keep track of culture requirements?

This is a discussion on How do you keep track of culture requirements? within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; With Autumn here, some of my orchids need a rest period. How do others keep ...

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  1. #1
    Katherine's Avatar
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    Default How do you keep track of culture requirements?

    With Autumn here, some of my orchids need a rest period. How do others keep up with specific orchid needs?

    I am only a year into this experience, so what do you do?

    Separate them, tag them? Some want little water, others none.

    And, also, when do I harvest my Pleione bulbs?

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    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
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    In my greenhouse collection, I don't keep track of the different cultural requirements. It would be impossible to water them differently. Every orchid gets the same treatment except for my Israeli orchid and it is dormant so there is no foliage for most of the year. When I see it start to sprout, then I water it just like everything else. Not sure about Pleione bulbs.

    cheers,
    BD

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    I have a small collection of about 20 plants, so I keep it all in my head. I check almost every day and water each plant at the most opportune time. This works well as I have small and large plants planted in different mediums. I have a few Dendrobiums that get a dry winter rest and once the weather gets cool I open the windows at night, exposing the plants to 50-55f night temps, at least for several weeks, to induce blooming. I have a few plants that I don't want to get that cool and they get shut in the bathroom each night.

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    I intend to start growing pleiones again . I sold all my collection many years ago when I moved house and had nowhere suitable.
    But the answer is, after leaf drop. Presently the leaves should start to turn yellow, and you stop watering then. After leaf drop, you can usefully harvest, clean up, pack the bulbs in dry paper bags, and keep them somewhere cool maybe down to a few degrees C. Like 3 or 4 , until after Xmas. Some of the richer purple ones develop much better colour if they have got down to even 2 degrees C. But no colder, and not damp, or rot is a possibility. I used to repot on my birthday - easy to remember, and a joy to do, so my own present to to me - and thats 15 Jan. Start them off in barely damp compost, and no watering until new roots appear, after flowering usually, but depends on the kind. Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorsetman View Post
    I intend to start growing pleiones again . I sold all my collection many years ago when I moved house and had nowhere suitable.
    But the answer is, after leaf drop. Presently the leaves should start to turn yellow, and you stop watering then. After leaf drop, you can usefully harvest, clean up, pack the bulbs in dry paper bags, and keep them somewhere cool maybe down to a few degrees C. Like 3 or 4 , until after Xmas. Some of the richer purple ones develop much better colour if they have got down to even 2 degrees C. But no colder, and not damp, or rot is a possibility. I used to repot on my birthday - easy to remember, and a joy to do, so my own present to to me - and thats 15 Jan. Start them off in barely damp compost, and no watering until new roots appear, after flowering usually, but depends on the kind. Good luck.
    Thanks Geoff, They are Formosiana..........And BTW, my b-day is the 28th of January.

    ---------- Post Merged at 10:46 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris1140 View Post
    I have a small collection of about 20 plants, so I keep it all in my head. I check almost every day and water each plant at the most opportune time. This works well as I have small and large plants planted in different mediums. I have a few Dendrobiums that get a dry winter rest and once the weather gets cool I open the windows at night, exposing the plants to 50-55f night temps, at least for several weeks, to induce blooming. I have a few plants that I don't want to get that cool and they get shut in the bathroom each night.
    It is the drying out thing i need to do. and it is sooo easy to water them all at one time. I guess I will put them on a separate tray and Flag them or something. Vernalizing is no problem for me, I just stick them outside when the temp is a steady 40 + in the Spring.

    ---------- Post Merged at 10:48 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutal_Dreamer View Post
    In my greenhouse collection, I don't keep track of the different cultural requirements. It would be impossible to water them differently. Every orchid gets the same treatment except for my Israeli orchid and it is dormant so there is no foliage for most of the year. When I see it start to sprout, then I water it just like everything else. Not sure about Pleione bulbs.

    cheers,
    BD
    And they all bloom whether they need their dry period or not? Geez! I can't even bloom Miltoniaor/ opsis....I don't know what I am doing wrong.

  6. #6
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    I've known people to put color-coded stickers on pots denoting the culture requirements - you could easily mark the ones you'd like to dry out more since you have just one 'special' category.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dorsetman View Post
    I intend to start growing pleiones again . I sold all my collection many years ago when I moved house and had nowhere suitable.
    But the answer is, after leaf drop. Presently the leaves should start to turn yellow, and you stop watering then. After leaf drop, you can usefully harvest, clean up, pack the bulbs in dry paper bags, and keep them somewhere cool maybe down to a few degrees C. Like 3 or 4 , until after Xmas. Some of the richer purple ones develop much better colour if they have got down to even 2 degrees C. But no colder, and not damp, or rot is a possibility. I used to repot on my birthday - easy to remember, and a joy to do, so my own present to to me - and thats 15 Jan. Start them off in barely damp compost, and no watering until new roots appear, after flowering usually, but depends on the kind. Good luck.
    Geoff, you and I share a birthday I appreciate being in the presence of other January birthdays who never got to celebrate with a pool party

  7. #7
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    I'm with Bruce. I let the plants decide if they are happy with the cultural conditions I can apply. If they are, great! If not, I don't grow them for very long...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katherine View Post
    It is the drying out thing i need to do. and it is sooo easy to water them all at one time. I guess I will put them on a separate tray and Flag them or something. Vernalizing is no problem for me, I just stick them outside when the temp is a steady 40 + in the Spring.
    As with any plant, it really comes down to which ones you have as well as whether it is a species or hybrid. Hybrids are often but, not always, more "flexible" or accommodating in their requirements. Species far less so.

    Dendrobium, for instance, is a HUGE genus. Members come from a very wide range of environments. This makes "pigeon-holing" their care as a group difficult at best. The story is often similar with other genera and absolutely an exercise in futility if one is attempting to find a "common recipe" for the entire Family.

    Like Bruce, my plants are -- with a some exceptions -- ALL on the same watering schedule. And as Ray said, those that can't accept my regimen, generally aren't here very long.

    Your idea of tagging or grouping by common requirements is one way of meeting the needs of a diverse collection (the latter being very commonly done). You might also, if you haven't already, look into utilizing different media for plants with different needs. As an extreme example: I grow a rather diverse array of plants -- including some cacti/succulents. During the summer, they get watered whenever everyone else does. This works in large part because the choice of media is radically different for them than for the few Masdevallia I have. (And truth be told, my masdies are part of my earlier mentioned "exception" group ... particularly during the winter when my RH drops to a high of 30% or less, they dry out so fast that I often must water them twice per week.) The same idea of altering the media holds for a diverse collection of orchids. My dens, catts, phals, and pleuros all get different mixes dependent upon their moisture needs. (Not hard to manage at all either ... most use the same components, just in different ratios.)



    Quote Originally Posted by Katherine View Post
    And they all bloom whether they need their dry period or not?
    Oh they never said that the orchids still bloom, Katherine. Some orchids have no hard and fast dormancy requirements (often typical of hybrids) and so will bloom whether dormancy conditions are given or not. Some are somewhat flexible ... though in nature they get a cool and dry dormancy, simply a dry dormancy may suffice. Others DO have particular dormancy conditions that must be met or they will not bloom. Again, this is where knowing one's plant is important and it is also a reason why folks who get seriously into orchids tend to be so fixated on having plants with names. If you know the name of the species, you can look up where it is from to determine what its needs might be. If it is a hybrid, knowing the name may enable you to investigate its "family tree" and thereby determine what its needs might be. (For example, if you have a catt hybrid with a lot of C. sophronitis in its background, there is a very good chance that it will require cool growing conditions and will actually suffer and possible die in heat that other catts would love.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Katherine View Post
    Geez! I can't even bloom Miltonia or/ opsis....I don't know what I am doing wrong.
    Well on the bright side, Katherine, you at least have a better possibility of blooming a Milt than many of us. Without knowing what conditions your plant is getting, there's not much to be said. I will say that the most common reason for orchids not blooming is insufficient light. As I have mentioned in other posts, the leaves will often tell you what the plant wants with regards to light. For instance, people are often conditioned to think that dark green leaves is a sign of a happy healthy plant when the reality is that it is result of the plant's desperate attempt to gather more light for photosynthesis. The leaves of a Miltonopsis should be a light somewhat creamy green -- a bit lighter than mint icecream. Crinkled leaves or "accordioning" indicates watering issues with a milt. Milts do require cool humid conditions which is why I, for one, have had to give up on them. My conditions are simply too warm and far too arid. You, on the other hand, I expect can meet those cultural requirements rather easily for a milt.

    Unless one has the resources for a number of very diverse setups, we all sooner or later figure out what types of things we can and can't grow. As I mentioned, I know I can't do milts nor the majority of masdies and their kin. Though I know it pains Yew, he has had to throw in the towel on growing highland (cool growing) paphs. Most of us have limits on what will thrive in our conditions. Sometimes it is possible to "push" those limits or find innovative methods for bypassing them, but sometimes you just have to settle for living vicariously through others.

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    Thamks Pavel! I am growing my millts and massies outside now. my humidity is high and it very rarely gets to 70 degrees. The leaves are a nice pale green (mint), a slight breeze. I just don't know. Others grow them here and they are in constant bloom. In fact it is so humid here I have to be careful not to over water because they are not drying. However, my plants inside have a fan on them 1/2 the day, and the windows open.

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    Like BD and Pavel I give all my plants the same treatment, except the deciduous dendrobiums and catasetum that get less water during their dormant period.

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