I just received one of these in a very nice trade...she's called Cherry Blossom "Carmela". How do I pot this, and care for it?
All advice is appreciated--
I'll let one of the more expert vanda-type growers fill in the details, but in general you're going to need to give your plant pretty bright light. A sunroom, greenhouse, or at least a very bright window would be best, and then grow it outside during the warm summer months. You might also consider using supplemental lighting, like compact fluorescent lights provide.
Keep the plant warm. It won't die if the temps dip into the 50s, but these guys prefer to grow year round, and when the temps get too much below the mid 60s, the roots are likely to go dormant and the plant might stop growing for awhile.
However you decide to pot it, the mix needs to be able to drain quickly and dry out a tad between waterings. A small basket (like the wooden orchid baskets) or a net pot would probably be ideal, not not necessarily essential.
Some growers pot their neofentias with sphagnum moss, and since that's in the parentage of your plant, it might be something you can consider. I think in general, though, ascocendas (also in your plant's parentage) would enjoy a potting media that retains less water. Some people even grow their vanda type plants without any mix at all. I think that might be a little extreme for your plant, though.
Thanks for the advice, digphrag! I've got the environment right, I guess. I have an indoor growing space; year 'round "greenhouse", 3 outside walls and skylights, same temp as the rest of the house, but warmer on sunny days, even when it's -30F. So the light is bright except when snow covers the skylights. And it's warm enough.
The only plant I have in spagnum is a stanhopia in a basket, and it's happy, so I think i'll buy some more spagnum and try that. Should I let it get pretty lightweight, like the tampensis radicans, between waterings?
Do you know what kind of food it needs?
Sorry for all the questions, but I've never had this type before and I don't want to blow it...the other sites I've looked at just want to sell me one.
My Cherry Blossom has been outside in the SOCAL backyard for over 10 years. Every winter we get down to freezing and 3 years ago we had a deep freeze with temps as low as 25 for a week. In the summer it gets close to 100. The plant just keeps growing, I have made many divisions from it.
I have them bare-root in wooden baskets, they get watered every day unless it is cold and foggy in the winter, I usually add very weak fertilizer with every watering.
Yeeks, Nick. Bare-root? Scary--I've only done that when re-potting...it's kind of a little thing, any particular size before I do this? It's in a rather fine orchid mix from Miracle Gro.
I'm trialling some of these "cold tolerant" vandaceous and the 64 dollar question is how much cold tolerance the Neofinetia parent imparts.
I'm currently unpacking some orchid society raffle plants from a warmer part of Australia and the "Cool tolerant Vandas" are in pots with sparse coarse mixture.
I have Neofinetia falcata growing in a net pot with arid mixture and the roots have encircled the pot. It blooms despite winter night temps being below 10C.
Sometimes you have to think that warmer day temps are more important that maintaining that night temperature at that mythical 12C minimum....of course there are many orchids that need that 12C (55F) minimum or they sulk.
Hmmm. It never gets down to 55F in there. Maybe if I place it very near a window (that doesn't get direct light), once its really cold out. That would probably be around 60F. Outside, it's around 50F by day now and low 30's at night--around freezing.
It does sound like the medium I'm using is probaby too restrictive.
It's a vandaceous plant! They like to have their roots unrestricted.
Cherry Blossom is out of Neo. falcata and Asco. ampullacium and I grow both of these. The Neo does not need low temps to grow and bloom but can tolerate low temps. Tolerating and requiring are quite different. My g/h never goes below 60.
I grow the falcata potted in the Japanese sphag mound and have lava rock in the bottom of the ceramic container the roots grow into them. I grow the ampullaceum in a wood basket with lava rock to hold moisture around the roots so I do not have to water more than once a day.
In your environment having it potted in something loose and airy will help hold moisture when the heat is running but not heavy enough to smother them. I've started using net pots and string coir for this type orchid.
I grow this one (mine may not be an actual Cherry Blossom, but it is a Neo x asconda??? )in plastic basket sitting in a 5" pot. Received it @4-5 years ago from EOoM that way and haven't changed. It is a 2 growth (one side shoot which has matured) plant and the roots have now grown up, over and out of the pot.
Summer outside (May-early October in western OH) in full sun till mid-day, watered/dunked almost daily. In past winters it's been inside of a glass tank set-up and misted every morning, this winter it is out in the open in the orchid room with a few other mini-vandaceous under 2/65W CFL's and misted daily, we'll see how this works. Currently finishing blooming on 2 spikes, I usually get 2-3 bloomings per year.
Thanks, all. Brooke, 'spagh mound'. You mean a ball of spagnum moss? And string coir? Please tell me what that means. I do have a slatted wood (square) basket I found at a garage sale. Would that do for a container?
Bob, thanks for the temp opinion, and the fact that yours blooms frequently. I like that part.
Nick, OK--I won't be afraid.
If you scroll down that page you'll see a couple of Neofinetas grown on SM mounds.
String coir really is a string made from coconut. I'm sure you have seen flowering baskets at the nursery with a mat in them to hold the media in the basket. The mat material is coir - if you pull the material apart, it is string. You can buy the string but I make my own from the mat.
I checked my tag out last night and I have: Neo. falcata(Armani form) x Asco. ampullacium alba
Is this 'Cherry Blossom'?
The flowers are a dark pink but shaped like a Neo. with the spur and all. Looks like other 'Cherry Blossom' photos on the 'net.
I have two Cherry Blossoms I got from EOOM back in 2006. One is the cross made with a standard pink Ascocentrum ampullaceum (it is the Cherry Blossom 'Pink Bouquet' clone). The other Cherry Blossom was made with an alba form of Ascocentrum ampullaceum where the hybridizer was hoping for white flowers, and didn't get them; both plants are pink. The flowers with the alba parent are a bit different, but not noticeably so.
I grow them in a greenhouse, so how I grow them is probably not relevant. But, I'll tell anyhow. The GH has an average humidity of 50-60% year round. The temps range from 58-60F as a low in the winter, to 85-90% as a high in the summer. The plants get fairly bright light, no direct sun. They are in a resin 4" vanda basket with chunks of bark and charcoal. Good air circulation. They both bloom in the spring.
If you have a Neofinetia falcata x Ascocentrum ampullaceum (any color), you have a Ascf Cherry Blossom.
Nick--thanks; I'll check out that site tonight. Brooke, thanks; I have some of that string coir under the sink in the greenhouse! So maybe I can put that in the wooden slat basket with lava rock in the bottom, and hang that puppy up?
cj, your greenhouse conditions are pretty much the same as mine--yippee! Maybe I should toss some loose chunky orchid bark inside the string coir?
I take that back, both plants are together in a 6" square resin basket.
Thanks for the info...
There is a picture of Neofinetia falcata over on the gallery that shows its neat growth habit. It is one of those orchids that looks neat and tidy even when not in bloom.
The local orchid society put together the spring show display last night. 220 plants in the display and that includes ONE vanda.
Hence my interest in cool tolerant Vanda types. Cool tolerance is not the only thing required, after getting through winter the plant have to survive summer.
Those figures of 60F Min 85F Max are only a dream here for most. Deep pockets are required to pay the heating and cooling bills to achieve those figures.