Help! Newbie with orchids!

syrinth(5a)September 20, 2009

Hello, I just went to my first orchid society meeting and wound up winning two orchids in the raffle. The first is a Denrobium Kingianum, and the second is an Aeredovanda Kinnarree.

The Dendrobium came potted so I think that all I need to do is water it once the medium dries out and put it in bright light correct?

The Aeredovanda however... came in a plastic bag for some reason. No medium, just two roots stretching out in opposite directions. I asked for advice on this one and was told to put it in a plastic bag that's loosely closed with a wet sponge to increase the humidity and put it in a somewhat bright and warm place to get the roots to start growing again. I didn't have any bags big enough for the thing so I had to Macguyver a bag out of Glade Press 'n Seal and it's currently in there lying next to my window with about 1/5th of a wet sponge.

Does anyone have any suggestions for anything I should do?

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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

I've always said that real orchid growers live in the frozen north. The little problem you have is to provide a home for two orchids that require very different conditions to grow and flower.
If you lived here in South Eastern Australia you would find that the Dendrobium kingianum would be a breeze to grow and flower out in the backyard all year while the Aeridovanda would require a glasshouse to survive.
So, all you can do is to to read the literature and all the info. you can find on the net and interpret and adapt the conditions needed to your growing space.
A good starting point might be to read some of the past threads on Den. kingianum and Vandas that can be found by using Search Box on top of this discussion page.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 3:32AM
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jamcm(Ottawa Area, Canada)

Hi syrinth,

I agree with Arthur's post above that you have two challenges on your hands, but as you saw from our show table yesterday afternoon, nothing is impossible!

As you've more or less guessed, the Dend. kingianum will need need good light and some water eventually. Take a good look at your plant to see if there are new growths growing. If there are, water and fertilize regularly. If they're all done, don't fertilize at all and start spacing out waterings. Dendrobium kingianum needs a good winter's rest, with cooler temperatures (placing it right by a window, for example, where the temperature will ) and very little water. If you mistreat it enough, it will reward you with blooms in late winter and/or early spring. If you treat it too nicely, it will give you keikis. That's why you'll often notice Dendrobium kingianum on the raffle table...

As for the Aeridovanda, both of the parent species (your plant is a cross between Vanda denisoniana and Aerides lawrenciae) require good amounts of light and warm to hot temperatures. They also both enjoy good humidity. I'm enclosing a link to the Canadian Orchid Congress's Vanda culture sheet. Their culture sheets were developed for us "real orchid growers" so they're a great starting point.

Hope this all helped. Good luck, and welcome to the Ottawa Orchid Society.


Here is a link that might be useful: COC - Vanda Culture Sheet

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 8:40AM
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The comments about the need for cool winters for D kingianun is well put. Since you live in a cold climate, your house is probably nicely heated in the winter. The kingi should go close to freezing and definitely avoid the comforts of home. It's like the lovely fragrant lilacs that you enjoy up there but will not bloom in Southern California because they do not get cold enough in the winter. On the other hand, the kingi is such a tough, lowly plant it will grow in your shoe or your toilet and bloom under any circumstances.

Some kingis are prone to produce keikis under any circumstances, others are not. A prominent Au grower told me that they never use kingis who keiki for breeding and probogation as that's considered an inferior characteristic, that type of plant will produce fewer flowers.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 9:46AM
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Ok, awesome. Thanks a lot for the advice and the link, I'm rather amused that one of my Orchid Society co-members is here although it makes sense I suppose :D

I ran out today to get a 2L bottle of orange crush, my plan is to drink it all as fast as I can, clean it out and turn it into a mini-terrarium for the Aeredovanda. I just instinctively feel that a press 'n seal McGuyvere'd bag is a bad idea XD

    Bookmark   September 21, 2009 at 2:57PM
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ifraser25(z11 Brazil)

Perhaps the reason you got your second orchid like this was that most vandaceous orchids are virtually air plants. You often see them in a slatted wooden basket, with little or no medium round the roots. You can grow them in a centrally heated house like this but have to dunk them in water for several hours a week or else it will be too dry.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 4:07PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

"he kingi is such a tough, lowly plant it will grow in your shoe or your toilet and bloom under any circumstances."

Well, i do not know about that! It certainly is adapted to survive drought and if given the tropical conditions that newbies think are needed by all orchids it will happily grow, but may never flower.

Till last night there had been almost NIL rainfall over the last two months but you can bet your booties that most if not all the kingianums growing in the wild had survived.

An arid westerly wind is blowing now, the humidity is 28% so the kingianums down in the shadehouse drenched last night are probably dry by now.

As for the bright light stuff. Try sunlight. 300 days in an average year. Spread evenly, even in what passes for winter. If you live in the frozen north, obtain a copy of Wilford Neptune's kingianum notes otherwise you might just get lush growth and lots of keikis.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 4:56PM
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Yeah, I really wanted to put it in some cork bark or something similar like the guest speaker suggested, but he's from Florida and a local grower said that I should put it in a pot in our climate :(

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 5:19PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Which it are you talking about?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 5:39PM
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whooops, the aeredovanda

    Bookmark   September 23, 2009 at 10:27PM
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