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Posts Tagged ‘Media’

Remounting the Bulb. jersey was on the agenda this weekend.

I bought the plant four years ago as a one-year-old seedling, and when it languished in a plastic pot, almost dying during one winter, I decided to mount it, since I’d had luck by mounting my other bulbophyllum. Although my mounted Bulb. jersey has now grown into a strong adult plant, it has never bloomed.

Remounting the plant consisted of applying a thick layer of sphagnum moss over the bare roots. Images of the process are on the Photos page.

This week’s photos also show Phal. schillariana in bloom. [I have two Phal. schillariana. One is potted, which is blooming, and one is mounted. I bought the latter Phal. two years ago as a young plant in order to see if I could get it to bloom on a mount. It’s still too young to flower, but I’ve included a photo of it to show the netting that I often use to secure moss on a mount. The netting came from a bag of onions. I keep that type of netting on hand to use on mounts and for lining baskets.]

Phal. stuartiana closeup

 The photograph shown here is a closeup of my Phal. stuartiana and its tiny butterfly-shaped callus just below the column. It’s just this type of easily-overlooked flourish that adds such joy to orchid growing.

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Five new blooms from this week are posted to the Photos page. One of the blooms is a Cycnoches (Cyc. pentadactylon ‘Galaxy 4N’), one of my favorite orchid genera.

A challenging genus, Cycnoches orchids need a definite rest period, during which the leafless bulb should be watered sparingly. Some Cycnoches growers, who pot their plants in a bark and moss mix, either withhold water entirely during the rest period or remove the plant from the pot and leave the naked bulb alone until new growth appears.

I do neither. I pot my Cycnoches in rocks (small aquatic rocks in small clay pots) and water weekly during the rest period – with no fertilizing and in the driest corner of the greenhouse.

I do this because the first Cycnoches I purchased five years ago at the Missouri Botanical Garden was potted in rocks.  (I still have the plant, a wonderful Cyc. Jean E. Monnier, which was grown by Marilyn LeDoux and had been pulled for judging at the show.)  

Growing Cycnoches in rocks offers a couple of advantages. First, the quick-drying medium reduces the potential for overwatering the plant during its rest period. Second, the heavy medium helps stabilize the top-heavy plant during its blooming period.

Watering a rock-bound Cycnoches? During the rest period, I flush the pot weekly, never fertilize and keep the plant in a light and dry (far from any mister) corner of the greenhouse. When I see about two inches of new growth, I start a weekly, weakly fertilizing regime. Once the new growth reaches four to five inches, I water and fertilize frequently — two, three or more times a week.

Of the nine Cycnoches I’ve purchased during the last five years, I’ve lost two. That’s not bad odds, but even so, my method of growing Cycnoches won’t work in all environments. Certainly, it’s a method to consider if you are trying to raise Cycnoches in high-humidity locations. As with any orchid purchase, however, the first and most important objective is to start with a strong, healthy plant.

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