A marriage of convenience.

orchidnickJune 19, 2012

While babysitting my grand kids I watched the first Harry Potter movie and was impressed by the scene where he gets his wand. "The wizard does not choose the wand, the wand chooses the wizard". Thinking about it there is a similarity to which orchids I ended up growing the most.

I love watering, morning coffee, newspaper is usually followed by watering. This daily, or at least every second day, deluge is not appreciated by many plants. A catt in a pot full of bark would not do well at all. Got around that one by mounting them bare-root and even potting them bare-root. Have many in pots with several 1 1/2" to 2" rocks, basically bare-root. Another example is the way I grow Tollumnias which like to be fairly dry, they are also mounted bare-root, no moss at all or in a small clay pot, no media. Then they are happy.

The real clincher is my recently (last 3 to 4 years) acquired passion for the cloud forest plants of Central and South America. My large collection of Dracula, Pleuros, Masdies and other genus in that group love this daily moisture. My cold house is a study in green moss which is growing everywhere. Live sphagnum moss is growing out of the pots and these kinds of plants can't get enough water. The humidity is seldom below 80%.

It seems then that, to a degree, these plants chose me rather than me choosing the plants. Here is a collection of orchids showing exuberant lush growth, flowers everywhere and very few failures. A happy combination of what I love to do and what these plants need. Obviously I do poorly with hard cane Dendrobiums and others who need a dry winter rest. What these plants need is not what I like to do and after enough failures, I finally learned my lesson and concentrate on plants that appreciate what I have to offer.

Obviously a disciplined grower can adjust and modify techniques in order to give plants what they need, but I think one should also try to analyze what comes naturally in your growing area and choose plants that thrive under these conditions. If your life style calls for watering once a week, if you get around to it, the cloud forest plants obviously will not grow well for you. I have seen members of my orchid society bang their heads against a wall trying to grow plants that do not like their conditions, eventually they learn their lesson.


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westoh Z6

I tried to grow everything my first 5-7 years of growing orchids. Lost hundreds of them over that time but still kept trying. I finally realized that I could not grow everything and started to adjust, but then lost most of my collection in 2009. When I started re-establishing the collection, I went with the plants that I knew I could grow or a special few that I was willing to put in the extra effort to grow (mini-vandas).

Still miss the huge variety, maybe in the future when work life isn't as demanding I'll start adding a few different/interesting things.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 11:16AM
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I have to agree with you Nick, except I would add that growing is a matter of what you really have the time to do for the plants you are trying to grow. My culture has become one more of disinterest in the chore of growing and reducing the economic costs of doing so. I find that my culture has evolved from growing them inside to growing them outside. All I have to do is figure out where outside!! Already have moved Paphiopedilum druryi and my two surviving lycastes outside and they have overwintered with 4 hours or so of full sun daily quite well for the past year. Now for the Phrags!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 2:33AM
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