I’m in love

I am fascinated by this, my first maxilaria

I find the orchid itself to be so beautiful in her growth pattern, these clamouring pseudobulbs, for some reason I find if enchanting. Then there are the blooms. Tiny little blooms in amongst the foliage.

They are just adorable and perfumed. The whole plant itself is fairly small but is an overall wonder. I just Love her.

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Crucifix orchid

I love this orchid, like a sunset of pinks and orange, it’s delicate and unusual, the epidendrum ibaguanese

To me , she is perfect.

Like a moth to a flame

Such am I when faced with a beautiful orchid, mesmerized and enchanted and so it is that I added another unidentified orchid, so carelessly labeled “Cambria” but chosen for her extraordinary blooms…. dancing flames, beautiful and enchanting.

Orange-red and yellow, bursting in a row, striped and flickering.

Just glorious. I love her.

I’m sure eventually I’ll be able to identify her but what is a name in the face of such beauty?

The addition of a vanda

The newest part of my collection is this Vanda I recently purchased.

I chose her for her multiple growth habits and her pretty orange blooms. She has multiple ‘babies’ growing the full length of her axis. They don’t have their own roots as Vanda keikis would usually have, they grow more like branches of the mother plant. I was informed that this is a normal growth habit for this variety of Vanda.

She is a little bruised from the transport and her blooms suffered , but she has a new flower spike and I’m hoping for a healthy blooms soon.

This is merely and introduction, I’ll be sharing more about her soon.

It’s all about media…

So for me , the subject of media for my orchids is fascinating. I have researched at length what’s best and why. I’ve attempted various combinations and in the end I’ve done what each grower should do, I’ve reached a conclusion about what medium suits my orchid collection, my watering schedule, my humidity levels and my setup. What follows are just my opinions about media based on my own experiences.

For a visual demonstration of how much impact media can have on your orchids I photographed 3 of my dendrobium phaelanopsis which are potted in the same system with 3 variations of media.

From left to right we have Seramis orchid substrate, Seamis + Pon and lastly just pon.

Here is the orchid which is in seramis orchid substrate

You can see her canes are plump and Happy. The results in the mixture of the two was similar. However, the dendrobium in just pon is vastly different…

The canes are shriveled and suffering. This is with the same watering schedule and method.

So I thought I had better switch her to Seramis again. It’s been 48 hours and the difference in her canes is noticeable already.

So my conclusion is not that Pon fails as a substrate buy instead I have to say it doesn’t work for me in my setup.

I like the Seramis mix because it’s water retentive, it’s big chunks so my roots aren’t smothered and overall I think it works better for me. I’m a fan of inorganic substrate in general and I like that this mix doesn’t break down like other organic orchid substrate does.

Repotting an orchid

I found my favorite orchid medium online and my order arrived in no time , so I’m able to repot some of my orchids which are a little desperate.

As you can see it’s a mixture of kiwi bark and ceramic pebbles. I’m a huge fan of this.

The pieces are also big enough to allow circulation and good drainage.

I had been experimenting with various media and some new inorganic media. Needless to say I have some opinions about the variation in hydration between the various substances ( but that’s a post for another day. )

So, one of my awesome dendrobiums was desperate for a repot as well as the little unidentified “Cambria” orchid I bought a couple of weeks ago on sale (it’s blooms were finished, I always repot when they finish blooming after i buy them). I thought I’d share how I repot an orchid.

My kit includes a tray (so husband doesn’t get upset by dead orchid roots and dirt everywhere), clean scissors, pots and media.

I add extra holes in my pots with a hot nail to ensure good drainage and good air circulation, it also helps with even drying in the media so there aren’t patches which are always wet.

Next I remove the orchid from its pot, it usually helps to soak it before hand, means more flexible roots and less damage.

I then remove the old media from the roots, gently teasing it with my fingers and using jets of water from the tap.

At this point the root structure is visible and I can assess the roots and remove dead ones (usually brown and squishy)

What I’m left with are the good roots, healthy and hydrated

As you can see I start with little media in the pot and then I position my orchid with any new growths in the center of the pot and fill in the media around the roots.

The result…. a happy stable orchid.

In my opinion it’s good practice to change the media, make sure it’s fresh and right for your plant. It also allows you to assess the root structure of the plants so you know the health of your orchids. The whole process is not too hard, not is it excessively time consuming. I figure if I spent all that money on my orchids I should make sure they are going to thrive and of course…. bloom 😊

Newcomers

Once again I ordered some orchids from my favourite florist, The Secret Garden in Bucuresti. They offer beautiful orchids, unusual orchids and they provide impeccable transport and customer service. I couldn’t resist purchasing some new orchids, now that my mites seem to be gone.

I’ll begin with the mystery orchid, simply labeled ‘Cambria’. She has these huge pseudobulbs

And a long flower spike

With these tiny, beautiful perfumed flowers

It’s splendid and I have no idea what she is 😊

Next up we have the tiny Oncidium Pupakea which is just so sweet and cheerful, though her flowers look to be at an end.

I also bought this beauty

She seems to be a variation of the colmanara masai red. I love the striping on her petals, just stunning.

Lastly, I branched out into a new type of orchid and purchased an encyclia ‘green hornet’.

This is so unusual and I love how the deep purple lip contrasts with the pale green of the petals. She seems to be a healthy plant and apparently they are kept similarly to a cattleya.

She looks like she will be in flower for a while.

All bound up

Well, finally my incredible cymbidium finished blooming, she has been an absolute joy, I can hardly believe how beautiful she is ❤❤❤…. here’s a picture in case you don’t remember

As with all my orchids, I repot them as soon as they stop blooming which ensures they have fresh medium and healthy roots.

To my horror, when I took my cymbidium out of her pot I found this…

Yes…. she is completely and utterly root bound. She seems to have almost no media in the base of the pot (it would have gradually been pushed up out of the pot by the growing roots ) and the roots are well and truly knotted, undoing them is impossible without serious damage which will compromise the plant significantly.

There is a chance that parts of this plant will die as it is unable to absorb sufficient nutrients with the roots in this state. However, I found three happy New growths

I am hoping that they will put roots out into the new pot and fresh medium and the plant will have a healthy future.

I potted her in a mixture of organic and inorganic media.

1 – perlite

2- bark

3- seramis

4- pon

She’s in a pot which is double the width of the old pot and she is positioned eccentrically with her new growths in the middle of the pot.

She’s a terrestrial orchid and so she doesn’t need the same air circulation or light on her roots that an epiphyte would, such as a Phalaenopsis. This allows me to place her happily into a dark pot.

I always add extra holes to my pots, with purpose of increasing drainage and sometimes air circulation.

It’s easily achieved with a hot nail of the desired circumference (I heat the nail with a flame, do take safety precautions if you attempt this )

I am hoping she will be able to settle in and will survive her knotted roots, I’ll keep you updated of course.

I’ll be posting tomorrow as well with some new acquisitions… ahhh orchid love ❤

New orchids

We’ll, it’s been a while. I was so devastated about my orchid infestation that I couldn’t bare to post any pics of my chewed up flower spikes.

However… my plants are healthy and I finally decided it was safe to buy some new ones. Here they are…

Yes, this incredible cymbidium. It’s just breathtaking. Looks like a peloric variety, she is just amazing. 5 beautiful flower spikes, bursting with blooms.

More recently I found this lovely cymbidium “ice cascade”

And lastly, today, I found a little reduced beauty who just looked too sweet to pass by, her blooms are on the way out but that’s OK.

So I’m happy to have some beautiful blooms to look at and Happy my collection is looking healthier.

On the bright side

So while battling mites and dismaying over my collection I came across something that is out of place in the middle of winter.

Apparently my dendrobium nobile is flowing. This is surprising for two reasons…

1. My dendrobium is supposed to be in its winter rest

2. I was firmly convinced this was a white dendrobium

So, in the light of the loss of so many of my new flower spikes, this is a beautiful change.