Orchid Society of Coral Gables

Save this PDF as:

Size: px
Start display at page:

Download "Orchid Society of Coral Gables"


1 JULY 2015 Orchid Society of Coral Gables The Orchid Society of Coral Gables is a non-profit organization established for the purpose of showing the cultural and economic importance of the orchid, as well as the intrinsic beauty, and biological and ecological importance of this group of plants. We promote the scientific research and study of orchids including their classification, evolution, propagation, culture, care, and development. Additionally, we support the conservation of orchids in nature, and disseminate educational information and knowledge about the orchid family to the general public. Highlights in this Issue Task for July from Dr. Motes What to do to get your orchids through the wet summer! Catasetum Culture Culture tips from the AOS! Page 6 Pictures from our June Auction Beautiful plants and happy, happy people! Pages 8-9 Beauty that Leads to Extinction! An interesting article about conservation. Page 10 Pages 4-5 July Meeting Tuesday, July 7, :30 pm Beginner s class - 6:45 pm Dr. Robert McMillan, Kerry s Bromeliads/Orchids WELCOME TO THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF COMMERCIAL ORCHID PRODUCTION Have you ever wondered how these big companies produce orchids by the thousands, all the same and all very heathy? What do they do that is different than what we as hobbyists do? And can we learn from their techniques? This is some of what this month s meeting will be about as Dr. Robert McMillan, Jr. shows us the ins and outs of Commercial Orchid Production. This is something we all should see, since it is from the commercial grower that most of us get our orchids from! A native Floridian, Dr. McMillan will be conducting our presentation this month. Bob holds degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Master of Science in Botany from the Univ. of Miami. He received his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Washington State Univ. Currently Bob is a Professor Emeritus/Plant Pathologist at Univ. of Florida and Miami Dade (Continued on page 3) Dr. Robert McMillan, Jr.

2 ORCHID SOCIETY OF CORAL GABLES President s Message PAGE 2 Hello fellow OSCG members, So, don t ask me how it happened, but this is now my first message as President, again. We ve got a great year planned and I m positive the good things about our society will keep coming. We had a wonderful auction last month, one of our best ever. We are able to pay all our monthly bills and still have enough for a wonderful Holiday Party this year. Thanks to all the support of the members, and thank you very much to all the members who helped picking up donations, buying plants, and during the auction itself. The biggest and best thank you goes to Joanne Bramson, the auction chairperson. She did a wonderful job taking over for Jo- Ann Forbes, who, by the way, helped her and taught her everything. Thanks to both Joanne and JoAnn! I don t know about you, but I could sure use with some rain! June was extremely hot and dry and we can t seem to keep up with the watering. This dryness has kept the thrips and mite population up. Keep an eye out for the telltale sign up thrip damage and don t forget to look under your thin leafed plants like Stanhopea and Catasetinae for mites. Lastly, we ve got a great speaker and a very interesting topic this month. Dr. Robert McMillan is known locally for his work in orchid diseases. He has spoken to us before on that topic, but this month he has added a new dimension. He will be telling us the in s and out s of the commercial orchid industry and how it all relates to us. Something new to learn about orchids. Additionally, I will be teaching the beginner s class on one of my favorite orchids, Cattleya aclandiae. Many orchidists, including myself, have murdered a few of these. They are a bit tempermental, but once you learn about them and how to grow them, they can be a wonderful addition to your collection. I look forward to a great year with the society and I hope that you had a fun 4th of July! God Bless America! Jim

3 JULY 2015 (Continued from page 1 - July Speaker, Dr. McMillan) College teaching Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Horticulture with emphasis on Orchid Diseases and other ornamental plant disorders. In addition, he is the Director of Research and Development for Kerry s Bromeliad Nursery, Inc. in Homestead and Twyford International tissue Culture Laboratory where he develops disease control strategies, as well production practices for orchids and bromeliads. Bob received recognition as a leading authority of diseases of ornamentals, tropical fruits and vegetables through-out the tropical world. He is a member a many plant societies and has served on numerous related committees. Dr. McMillan will be supplying the raffle table plants - direct from Kerry s! Don t miss this table! And don t miss the presentation - a chance for us to learn something new and interesting! Beginner s Class - 6:45 pm - Aclandiae -An Orchid to Mount Jim will be speaking on one of his specialty orchids - Cattleya aclandiae. This is a plant that grows especially well if mounted. In fact, they are hard to grow if not! Learn more about this spotted beauty, and how to mount them at the 6:45 beginner s class. And please remember, if you are not attending the class, be considerate of those who are and keep the volume of your conversations low. PAGE 3

4 ORCHID SOCIETY OF CORAL GABLES Tasks for July from Dr. Motes Dry plants hard once or twice. Apply liquid fertilizer instead of water during dry patches. Watch for Thrips when rain has been sparse for several days. Finish top cutting and planting of vandaceous genera. Sign up to receive Dr. Motes newsletters at You can also text ORCHIDS to July in Your Orchid Collection from Dr. Motes July Climate Data Average high: 90.9 Average low: 76.5 Average mean: 83.7 Average rainfall: 5.79" Although it mostly passes unnoticed to millions locked in their air-conditioned bubbles, July in South Florida is quite different from June. While the pattern of afternoon showers built from the moisture of the morning's sea breeze persists in July, the thunder-storms are sharper and shorter. The clouds linger less and the foliage dries more quickly. Less quantity of rain falls in July than in June and periods of several days typically pass without a drop. This is good news for orchid growers. July (and August) allows orchidists to focus on the first essential of orchid growing, drying the plant out. Frequently, neophyte growers ask "What if I go away for several weeks in the summer and there is no one to water the plants?" The response is "That's wonderful". Experienced growers use the break in the rainfall during July and August to dry their plants "hard". Depriving orchids of water for several days until they and the media or baskets they grow in are bone dry is essential to good orchid culture. By drying the plants hard, one deals a severe blow to orchid's natural enemy, fungus. Orchids have evolved to withstand drought because fungus can not. During severe drought fungus' only defense is to cease all growth and retreat into a spore stage. Hopefully (and with good cultural management) these pathogens will not be aroused from this slumber until the first drizzle of September sets in, allowing our plants two months to mature PAGE 4

5 JULY 2015 and harden their growth making them less vulnerable to the September conditions which give some advantage again to the fungi. Careful watering and judicious drying will do more than any other practice to ensure healthy plants. Drought is the orchid plants armor against disease. Be sure that your plants dry as completely as the weather of July permits. Nonetheless, as our plants are in full growth they need adequate water in July therefore after a hard drying, orchid plants need a thorough re-hydration. If the next rain fall is insufficient to saturate pot, roots and media, the grower should add to the natural moisture until he is sure both roots and media are saturated, using two or three applications of water spaced a few minutes apart. When the plants stop dripping is the time to apply the next dose of water. Don't stop watering until the "heft" of the pot tells you that it is holding as much water as it can. More typically in July, orchidists should use these opportunities when more moisture is required to substitute fertilizer for water and saturate the roots and the media in the same thorough manner. In July typically think of fertilizing rather than watering. Weekly applications of a commonly available balanced fertilizer ( or ) at two teaspoons per gal. will supply the nutrients that our plants require in this period of lush growth. This balanced formula should be alternated every other week with potassium nitrate and Epsom salts (one tablespoon each) to supply the extra magnesium and potassium we now know are plants need on a regular basis. Even better (although not so readily available) lower phosphorus fertilizers containing extra magnesium and calcium with a formula like Peter's Excel ( ) have been shown to be the precise fertilizer our plants need. This formula is recommended year round. Hopefully such orchid specific fertilizers will become more widely available. Lowering the phosphorus intake of our plants is particularly important in South Florida because of our alkaline water. Always apply fertilizer in the same way as water, in two to three doses spaced a few minutes apart. Apply the fertilizer to the point of "run off", IE. when the solution starts to fall off the plants; stop and move on to the next plant. Repeat the application a few minutes later when the plants stop dripping. In July more than ever, never, never follow the frequently heard and disastrously bad advice of watering before fertilizing. Always substitute fertilizer for water: now and at every season. Roots saturated with water cannot absorb fertilizer but the prolonged wetness can rot your plants. Don't give fungus the upper hand by wetting the plant's foliage and roots more often or longer than necessary. Careful watering is especially important throughout the rainy season. The wise orchidist will have long since finished all of his potting of sympodials and the top working of his vandas but for the rest of us this is the eleventh hour. Autumn is closer than we think and vandas will need at least three months to settle in to their new baskets or pots before the first chill of October tickles their root tips. Unless you can protect them thoroughly from cold, Vanda top cuttings and keikies should not be made after the end of July. If you do take cuttings remember the "3 root rule". Count down from the crown and make the cutting beneath the third or fourth root. Keep as many leaves as possible on the stump and you will be rewarded with a greater abundance of offshoots. Always slip the sterile knife or shears down between the stem and the leaves and then cut transversely to save as many leaves as possible. Be sure to anchor the cutting firmly in its new lodging. Tie them up and tie them down! There is no time for mistakes in July. Thrips are much less of a problem in July as the rain tends to wash them away and doubtless there is an abundance of other lush fodder for them elsewhere in our yards. They can reappear in a prolonged patch of dryness, so if you need to think of watering in July it may be dry enough to worry about Thrips. A prophylactic spraying for Thrips in July will also put a damper on scale crawlers. If a second spraying with soap follows the first by seven to 10 days, the population of mites will be scotched as well. (We thank Dr. Martin Motes for allowing us to reprint his monthly web newsletter.) PAGE 5

6 ORCHID SOCIETY OF CORAL GABLES Catasetum Culture from the AOS This unusual group of orchids offers fascinating, waxy flowers that often have the peculiar habit of discharging their pollen masses (pollinia) onto pollinators. Almost always deciduous, the pseudobulbous plants have strict growing and resting periods. Most flower before entering a dormant period when they drop their leaves. Light should be strong, especially near the end of the growth period. Early in the annual growth cycle, plants will tolerate less light, from 1,500 to 3,000 foot-candles. Plants grow best with light levels of 3,000 to 6,000 footcandles, or one-half to three-fourths full sun. As pseudobulbs mature, harden them by giving slightly more light. Temperatures reflect the fact these orchids are native to hot tropical areas and grow during the rainy summer months. During this growing period, day temperatures of 80 to 100 F and night temperatures of 60 to 65 F are beneficial. After growths mature, temperatures can be reduced to 55 F at night, with day temperatures of 70 to 85 F. Water is a critical factor for the production of large pseudobulbs that result in best flowering. A great quantity of water must be stored by the plant in a relatively short growing season. Water heavily as new leaves are forming. As the pseudobulb matures, gradually reduce watering frequency. Leaves will yellow and drop. At this time, watering should be stopped completely until new growth begins. Water during this dormant period only if the pseudobulbs shrivel severely. Humidity should be 40 to 60 percent. This can be provided in the home by placing the plants on trays of gravel, only partially filled with water so that the plants do not sit in the water. Air should always be moving around the plants to prevent fungal or bacterial disease, especially if high humidity or cool temperatures exist. In the greenhouse, the humidity is best increased by use of a humidifier. Evaporative cooling increases humidity while cooling the air. Fertilize and water regularly to produce strong pseudobulbs. Use a highnitrogen formulation (such as ) while plants are in active growth, slowly tapering off as pseudobulbs form. A blossom- booster formulation (such as ) should be used in the autumn, except for plants that normally bloom in the spring. Frequent applications of a dilute concentrations of fertilizer are more effective than occasional applications of strong concentrations. Potting should be timed to coincide with the initiation of new growth, usually in the spring. New roots will be produced quickly at that time, and plants will experience minimal setback. These plants have vigorous root systems and require a rich, moist potting medium during the growing season. Many growers bare-root their plants during the resting period to ensure dryness at that time. Fine-grade media are common for smaller pots; medium-grade media are used only in larger pots. Sphagnum moss is used successfully for plants in many areas, as it provides tremendous water- and fertilizer-holding capacities. Some plants can be grown on slabs of tree fern or other material, which makes it easier to keep them dry during dormancy; however, it is harder to keep them moist while growing. When well grown, these orchids can be divided down to one mature pseudobulb and will then flower on the next mature growth. Spider mites are a common pest of these orchids when in leaf. Control spider mites by keeping humidity high or spraying with recommended miticides. PAGE 6

7 JULY 2015 July/August Checklist from the American Orchid Society...by Ned Nash and James Rose Cattleya Cattleyas this month require careful attention to their watering and fertilizing needs owing to characteristically high temperatures. Evaporative cooling is a must in areas of the country where it is effective. Where it is not (the more humid regions), care needs to be paid to proper venting to keep temperatures within reason. Bottom vents in conjunction with top vents provide enough rising airflow to help keep plants cool. Increased air flow lessens humidity and dries plants out more quickly, necessitating more frequent damping down and watering, in areas where high humidity is not a problem. Higher light and heat indicate more fertilizer. The growths your plants are making now are the source of this autumn, winter and spring's blooms, so applying adequate fertilizer this month is the best way to ensure future blooms. Higher temperatures and humidity may also lead to fungal or bacterial rot problems, so it is important to closely observe your plants for any early indication of problems. Pests are also at a high point this month for the same reason. Paphiopedilum Cooling and air circulation are especially critical in these two months to prevent stress and avoid disease problems. Watering needs to be closely monitored to ensure that plants do not dry out. Warmergrowing hybrids will be at the peak of their blooming, with attention needing to be paid to staking of spikes. Look for water lodging in growths, which can rot emerging spikes and lead to the loss of the entire growth. Phalaenopsis Most, if not all, potting should be complete by now. This month and next are when these plants achieve their maximum growth. This growth will be that from which they set their spikes for the coming season. The more leaves the plants grow, the better potential for spiking will be realized. Growers in cooler areas such as the Pacific coast have the advantage this month, should they choose, of cooling for early season spikes. Lots of heat and light call for liberal applications of water and fertilizer. Oncidium intergenerics Many of the intergeneric crosses between odontoglossums and oncidiums, such as Odontocidium, Wilsonara and Colmanara, will be blooming now. Take special care to train the spikes for best floral display. Keep plants under fairly shady conditions. Watch for snails and slugs. Vandaceous Plants will be growing quickly now and really enjoying the hot humid days so similar to their native habitat. Watch for pests though, as many of these also enjoy the same conditions as the plants. Check flower spikes so that they can extend unimpeded for the best flower presentation later.. PAGE 7

8 ORCHID SOCIETY OF CORAL GABLES P h o t o s f r o m t h e Ju n e A u c t i o n m e e t i n g! Photos by Ron Rosenthal. PAGE 8

9 PAGE 9 JULY 2015

10 ORCHID SOCIETY OF CORAL GABLES Beauty Drives Orchids Towards Extinction one of several species of slipper orchids now classed as endangered in part because Paphiopedilum of illegal callosumis trade. one of several species of slipper orchids Paphiopedilum now classed as callosumis endangered one of in several part because species of of illegal slipper trade. orchids now classed as endangered in part because of illegal trade. This trade is invisible because hardly any of it makes it into government statistics that are supposed to document illegal trade in wild flora, Jacob Phelps and Edward Webb of the Center for International Forestry Research in Bogor Borat, Indonesia, note this month in Biological Conservation. The pair conducted a rare in-depth study of trade in wild-collected ornamental plants in Southeast Asia and found 347 orchid species, including many considered threatened, for sale at Thai markets. PAGE 10 By Sarah Zielinski ScienceNews At plant markets in Thailand, exquisite orchids are for sale. Those orchids are unlike the ones you can buy at many U.S. shops; many of them are rare species that were collected from the wild. Selling them is illegal. Not all orchids are declining, but trade is regulated for every species in the family Orchidaceae, requiring a permit or other approval to sell. That s because many species are disappearing. And there are some healthy species that look enough like threatened ones that distinguishing between them is difficult. It s just easier to regulate them all than to risk losing the rare ones. Even stronger controls cover the subgenus Paphiopedilum: All international trade in these orchids is banned. The reasoning behind these rules was apparent this week. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature released the latest updates to the IUCN Red List the big database of species that documents threats and assesses conservation statuses. Of the 84 species of Asian slipper orchids, including some Paphiopedilum orchids that were assessed in this round of updates, 99 percent are threatened with extinction. Habitat fragmentation and destruction, deforestation and illegal logging are contributing to many species decline, IUCN notes. But an additional huge concern is that people are collecting these species from the wild for regional and international trade. And though this trade is illegal, no one is enforcing the rules. Phelps and Webb documented this untrammeled trade in Thailand. They visited plant markets across the country in 2011 and 2012, surveying the species for sale and speaking with vendors. The researchers found orchids for sale from across the region, mostly from neighboring countries. Such international trade was illegal, but it occurred in the open. And it didn t show up in any official statistics of illegal trade. The huge discrepancy between observed and reported trade is alarming, and demonstrates the need for strengthened botanical conservation efforts that include improved trade monitoring, the researchers write. Monitoring the markets wouldn t take much effort, they say. Their surveys took a couple of people only a day or two per site. And it takes only a little training to distinguish a wild-grown plant from a cultivated one. The open and prevalent nature of trade in protected plant species means that monitoring is viable, given increased commitment and reasonable levels of investment into capacity building and human resources, they write. The new IUCN listing shows why such a commitment is necessary. And local people in Southeast Asia have already told scientists that wild orchids are quickly becoming much harder to find. If such trade is allowed to continue, the only orchids left in the world could be the common ones you find in local shop. And the Earth would be a far less beautiful place.

11 JULY 2015 Orchid Society of Coral Gable Membership/Renewal Application DATE: Membership No. NAME: ADDRESS: Zip Code PHONE:(Home) (other) (Important!) PRINT CLEARLY: Birthday: (month/date) Business name Occupation American Orchid Society member? Expiration date: I would like to become involved and assist with the following: (Please check at least one.) Phone Committee Refreshments Newsletter Orchid Shows (2 per year) Auction Public Relations Library Welcoming Committee Membership Committee Other Do you consider yourself a beginning, intermediate or advanced orchid grower (circle one) Have you taken any orchid culture classes? Where Do you have any feedback on club programs from this year or any ideas for programs you would like to have for next year? a board member or Jean at PAGE 11

12 ORCHID SOCIETY OF CORAL GABLES Pleases Suppor t our Adver tisers Other Area Meetings: South Dade Club: Thursday, July 9 SFOS Meeting: Wed, July 15 Eastern Airlines Orchid Society: Fri, July 17 AOS Judging at Fairchild: Saturday, July 18 Coalition for Orchid Species: Monday, July 20 Pan Am Orchid Society: Tuesday, July 21 PAGE 12

13 JULY 2015 Specializing in Cattleya species PAGE 13

14 Hospitality Corner Even though the actual 4th will be past, there is never an end to our patriotic spirit! With this said, we will have a very American Fried Chicken entrée for dinner! Melana is in California right now and not returning until Tuesday right before the meeting. So it is up to us to supply the Chicken! If we could have 10 or 12 people agree to bring a dozen pieces of fried chicken, we should have enough for everyone. If you can bring chicken, please Melana at to let her know and so we don t get too much chicken! Thanks! Or please bring a side dish, salad, pasta, or dessert to our meeting. As usual, the society will supply the drinks! From the Membership Committee! If you haven t renewed your membership, now is the time! All memberships except those begun this year were to be renewed in May. This is the last reminder before we print the roster next month! If you want to be included in the roster, please renew your membership right away. If you are unsure if you owe, see Karina or Maggie at a meeting. A renewal form is on page 11 - print it and bring it in with you to a meeting. Membership Committee We are on the web! oscgonline.org August Meeting Tuesday, August 4, 2015 Beginner's Class, 6:45 pm; General Meeting, 7:30 pm Fairchild Tropical botanical Garden Old Cutler Road South Entrance