Orchids: Nature’s True Gem
Sunday February 21 2011
What is most interesting about orchids is the number of orchid species outnumber birds by two twice the bird species, and, it outnumbers the mammal species by four times ! More astounding is the orchid plant encompasses 6 – 11% of all seed plants. Orchidaceae (the orchid family) is a morphologically diverse widespread family of monocots in the order Asparagales. It is believed to be the second largest family in flowering plants (only the Asteracae is larger) with up to 26,049 currently accepted species found in 880 gerera. Stunning and long-blooming houseplants that help to bring your home to life in any season, includes Orchids. Bringing the enchanting bright colours of delicate flowers, like the Orchid, into your indoor space during the cold and snowy blah days of January accomplishes two things ; (1) it is a great way to lift your spirits by enjoying the variety of colours and smell of fresh flowers, and, (2) these flowers make your home a cheerier place to be whether on a table beside you while you work on your laptop or reading a book, while sipping a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate. These colourful and exotic orchids are a welcome addition to any room and the various combinations of colours can match unlimited interior design decors.
It is the moderate indirect light that make the orchids “smile”. In fact, one lady received an orchid houseplant as a gift, and she put it in a bay window that faced east with indirect light and this orchid bloomed again with twelve orchids on the long branch. Typical house temperatures are fine for orchids, and cooler night temperatures will help aid flower formation, especially during the fall and winter months. Boosting the humidity level in your home does make the orchids grow better. One way to accomplish this is to mist the plant with a spray mist bottle occasionally. Another method is to place the orchid on a tray of water with pebbles to elevate the pot above the water level. In taking care of the orchid houseplant, proper watering and fertilizing are essential for healthy growth. In the houseplant orchid roots sometimes grow vertical, over the pot, and that is normal. Leave them alone as they are adapting to obtain moisture and nutrients, from the air through these epiphtic roots. Orchids should be re-potted after blooming if thepotting mix decomposes. To ensure they grow vigorously , use coarse orchid potting mixes. With proper care, orchids can enhance your living space year-round.
If you travel to Hawaii, orchids are in abundance. The most popular one there is a small orchid which is strung for Lays around people’s necks , as a greeting to Hawaii, and they greet you with “Aloha.” The ambiance of these flowers lift your spirits and combined with the sunshine, the beautiful Pacific Ocean around Diamondhead, and Maui’s beaches, and scenes of Dolphins , you forget all your concerns of the mainland. Orchids, the most beautiful ones are the gorgeous South American catteyas, with their often huge, sparkling, rosy-purple and mauve blooms; these are the aristocrats of the orchid family. Other orchid species include: Bulbophyllum (2,000 species); Epidendrum (1,500 species); Dendrobium (1,400 Sepcies),; Pleurothallis (1,000 species) ; the Vanilla (the genus of the orchid plant); and, Orchis (type genus),such as, Phalaenopsis. In 550 B.C. the Chinese emperors coveted the Indigenous Orchid species, of Cymbidium Orchids, for their sweet perfume. The Man Orchid (aceras anthropophorum) was once considered to be an aphrodisiac because the shape of the lip of the orchid flower resembled the figure of a man. In Europe the history and interest in orchids can be traced to Greek and Roman times. In that time period, people knew only of the Temperate Orchids, which were vastly different to the Tropical Orchids. At the end of the 18th Century, merchant ships from the New World (colonies of British, French, Dutch and Portuguese) came back laden with Tropical Orchid flowers and orchid plants. In fact, there is a campfire song – My ship came from China, all laden with tropical Orchid Plants , and imagine my bliss as I fanned myself daily , like this, like this. . Since Tropical Species of the Orchid in the 19th Century, horticulturalists have produced more than 100,000 hybrids and cultivars.
Source: Sat. January 22, 2,011 The Hamilton Spectator, and, web
While visiting a friend this evening was lucky to find a Blooming Orchid. Even better the shots are natural light from a sunset. This flower took my eye all night
All shots are Camera Raw and cs5 was not used.
Enjoy the pictures.
Orchids are beautiful and fascinating plants. But the thought of growing orchids, especially indoors, is intimidating for lots of gardeners. It conjures up pictures of giant greenhouses, complicated humidity, light and heat controls, and horticulturalists in white lab coats. Despite their reputation for being finicky flower divas, orchids aren’t difficult to grow.
Like any plant, they’ll thrive in the right conditions. The trick is sizing up your indoor environment and choosing the orchids that will be happy there. Three of the best orchids for windowsill gardening are: Paphiopedilum, also called paphs; Cattleyas, catts for short; and Phalaenopsis or phals. Among them, you’ll find colors, fragrances and sizes to fit any space.
Orchids aren’t picky about light once they’ve flowered, but light is critical before they bloom. Give them at least six hours a day. Phals and paphs are low-light orchids that prefer an east, west or shaded south window. Catts do best in brighter, south-facing spots. Use sheer curtains to filter harsh sunlight, it can burn the leaves, turning them pale green. If you don’t have any suitable windows, try a 40-watt fluorescent light. Hang it about a foot over the orchids 12 to 14 hours a day.
These plants like it 70 to 80 degrees in the daytime, 10 degrees cooler at night. If you have a winter-blooming phal, put it in the basement or outside in 55 to 60 degree fall air for a few nights to encourage budding. Give them all 40 percent to 80 percent humidity by setting pots in a tray filled with water and gravel. To prevent the risk of wicking excess moisture into the potting medium, be sure the pot is on the gravel, not in the water.
Overwatering is the quickest way to kill an orchid. Wait until the medium is completely dry before watering. I use 20-10-10 liquid fertilizer diluted 4-to-1 once a week to feed catts and phals, every other week with paphs. I flood clear, room-temperature water over the medium until the water runs out the bottom, and then pour the fertilizer solution. Don’t wet the foliage or crown of the plant.
Pests and fungi
A light mist of rubbing alcohol once a week will take care of any scale insects. Ordinary cinnamon will stop fungi. Just sprinkle a bit on the wet infected spots and the crown.
Orchids can be a little tricky, but giving them the ideal environment — along with a bit of time and attention — will reward you with a great show through winter.
Home and garden
DOUG WORRALL PHOTOGRAPHER