To go boldly where no man has gone before.

orchidnickNovember 27, 2011

I'm talking of neither the Star Strek nor the Rosie O'Donell shows on TV. I built a cold greenhouse in SOCAL going on 2 years ago and I found the experience exhilarating. A good portion of the pleasure came from being able to grow plants one does not commonly find around here.

Our climate here is conducive to a large variety of plants that are found in every collection. Some reed stem Epidendrums grow like Dandelions in our yards and the gardeners take weed whackers to them when they get too big. People get away with planting Cymbidiums in the yard as long as they add a healthy layer of bark around the root ball.

The average collection includes Catts, Oncidiums, the AU Dendrobiums and a whole host of other plants that grow well in our backyards. In addition to that people grow Phaelies and others that have to come in the house during the winter. All that is good, the plants and flowers are beautiful, our orchid shows can be spectacular. Attending different society meetings in LA, it is quickly apparent that the same type of plants are seen over and over again.

With the cold house featuring RO water, 80% humidity, night temps down to 55F, day temps kept below 75F a whole new universe opened up. The entire group of cloud forest plants from Central and South America became possible. Suddenly Pleiones became easy as did a number of other plants from a wide variety of genera. I'm going to try Cypripediums. Bringing these plants to the orchid society meetings and meeting a small select group of individuals who share the interest became an exiting part of the hobby.

I go to San Francisco regularly as I have family up there and have gotten to know some of the growers up there. For them these plants I talked about are routine, they grow like weeds up there. The challenge of growing plants that simply will not grow in your native climate should produce an added dimension to the hobby. While blooming Dracula in SF produces a yawn, down here in LA, it is unusual, exiting and challenging to achieve.

After a number of years, we all generally know about orchids and one is able to observe and notice that certain genera are never seen on our display tables. Within limits (there is an underground AU orchid that I think I'll pass on) I think it adds to the hobby to try to grow these that are hardly ever seen in your area. This will obviously be different for various general growing areas.

Nick

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ginnibug

Wow for a minute you had me scared Nick, I thought you were going to say that you were gonna try to grow Disas! There is a limit of what my heart can take!!;)gb

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 10:31PM
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orchidnick

I grew Disas once for about 2 years with moderate success. I had a mentor who did nothing else. After 2 years I retired from the field, bloodied but undefeated. Some of the stuff we did was incredible such as putting Sphagnum Moss in the kitchen blender and mashing it into little pieces. We culled out the long fibers, called it 'super moss' and grew the Disas in that.

For our annual banquet, he and I put a tray of blooming Disas together that was a show stopper. Been there, done that, no more, thank you very much. It's possible but too much trouble. The cool GH which allows me to grow a lot of 'cool' (the other 'cool') stuff is no trouble at all. Everything is on thermostats, humiditstats and timers and pretty well runs itself. My water and electricity bill took a hit but there is no free lunch.

Nick

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 10:51PM
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orchidnick

It does not have to be exotic, hard to grow stuff. I noticed a couple of years ago that no one grows Tollumnias any more. I managed to find about 20 different ones (eat your heart out Arthur) which, when they bloom stimulate interest with our members. A few are now growing them.

How Arthur could find 200 varieties I cannot fathom. If anyone knows a source with a large selection, let me know, I'm open for more, love the little buggers.

Nick

    Bookmark   November 27, 2011 at 11:39PM
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eahamel(9a)

Disas! I think I've seen ONE. It's way too hot for them where I am, and they are so pretty.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 7:13PM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Hi
When i first moved to florida manty years ago. i asked a neighbor "What can I grow ?" He said "You can grow anything you want . Real ?? is how much do you want to spend and how hard do you want to work??"
Have found that to be the best piece of advice I've ever gotten. gary

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 3:57AM
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lisa_z5wmi(Z5)

On the tolumnias; I get them here from time to time in Michigan. There used to be a place- in Washington State, maybe, that had a buddy in Hawaii who hybridized. Chula Orchids was it. Send the guy and email and see what he has- it changes. I did a couple of years ago looking for lots- then Lousy Husband went and got sick so I was too busy for two years doing other stuff.. anyway, they were really nice and may still have an 'in' to the lovely little equitants.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 12:23PM
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orchidnick

Thanks, good lead. They have an impressive list of Equitants they had over the years. I enailed them to see what's available now. Do you still have a bunch? I have about 20 and would like to trade if you are interested.

Nick

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 1:18PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

I haven't got 200 grexs of 'Tolumnia' , nothing like those numbers. Might have 400 plants as the result of deflasking and the wait to flowering. If i had some time i'd record what i have got and put the plants in order.

I think the local guys picked up on the breeding of Perreira in Hawaii and went on from there. I have done nil breeding.

Anyway, back to the topic. Nick, you are one of those people who i would term 'Super 'grower. Our local Society has one, then maybe half a dozen good average growers, some average growers and some battlers plus about a dozen Novice growers.

Those Super growers bench their plants at open shows and walk away with the Champion Ribbons.

Every time, i've "boldly gone" there have been lots of failure.
Warm growing hard cane Dens.
Phalaenopsis (supposed to be easy)
Zygopetalums
etc,etc
Best to stick to something that grows well in your conditions and have lots of them...I know Boring. But i'm happy having about thirty different clones of Cattleya intermedia.

Here is a link that might be useful: Some Tolumnia & friends pics

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 1:42PM
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orchidnick

Some are super, some are more super. We have a 'more super' grower than me who always grabs the one and only trophy we give for 'Species'. Most of my best plants I can't take to shows because they collapse. Pleuros and Dracula just don't like sitting on a show floor for 3 days.

Robert Perriera Orchids is still active in Hawaii, left a phone message, see what he has. Chula Orchids has an endless list of Tollumnias, not for sale but plants they had at one time. Must be 200 or so.
http://www.chulaorchids.com/html/equitant_list.html

I hear what you are saying about this being a 'bumpy road'. I learned a long time ago to get away from plants that don't like me. Newbies sometimes are amazed how healthy all of my plants look. They are not aware of the failures which have been removed so no trace of them remains.

I hope I can score some Tollumias from Hawaii, really like them.

Nick

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 4:01PM
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lisa_z5wmi(Z5)

I zapped an email to my usual guy who tends to have equitants at the March show in Ann Arbor. Maybe he'll clue me in on where he gets them- I already know it is from Hawaii, but not sure who.
I never did get a big order from Chula- right as I was finalizing what I wanted homelife went south and I never placed it. So I only have a dozen or so. Almost all in spike right now. Mostly pretty straightforward ones like you can find on Hausermann's orchids website. But I do have one cross: Robsan's pick x Robsan's good choice or something like that that is pretty big that I could divide. It will have to wait until spring.. remind me. It is a nice red. Do keep in mind that Tolumnias actually die eventually- unlike other orchids that keep going so long as they are happy.

On your original topic: we get great slipper orchids and phals in my neck of the woods. But we have a harder time with really high light stuff like vandas- so only growers who have special set ups bring those, and they turn everybody's heads. A girlfriend drove to Florida to see a show there and commented that their prizewinning paph would not even have been brought to the show in the first place up here. But they were chock-a-block with vandas of every color.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 6:05PM
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orchidnick

'Tolumnias actually die eventually-' I did not know this. A plant left to it's own devices will then eventually fade and die. Divisions, I assume, act like young plants with a full life span ahead of them. One would be wise then to divide them to keep bouncing the ball down the road.

It's amazing how they act differently in different zones. None of mine are in spike right now, all bloomed earlier on, right now are making new fans. In Hawaii the source may well be Robert Perriera Orchids who made many of the crosses. I could not find an email for him but did come up with a phone number. Called, no response yet. Chula Orchids has none for sale right now.

Any idea how long they live? I'll get back to you in the spring, maybe we could trade, I have a division of 'Robefield' ready to go.

Nick

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 7:12PM
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westoh Z6

As with most other orchids I can attest that they do die eventually, well under my care anyhow ;-)

How do you guys grow yours? Me: Clay pots and a fast draining orchiata mix or inorganic mix.

I've also read that they are designed to die, I think because of something about being a 'twig/small branch' growing plant, but I don't remember the exact reasoning. As I recall, in the past I had a few for @5 years before their demise.

I picked up a couple of pretty ones from EOoM last spring, one is in spike for the first time now, the other is just growing. Had 7 or 8 previously, but battled scale on these in the past.

Bob

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 7:16AM
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orchidnick

They seem to be magnets for pests. When I see even one yellow leaf on them I carefully inspect for pests which can hide well at the seat of the fans. I lost a couple to scale which did not show on the leaves but was well established never the less. Every 3 month (if I can remember) I spray them with Bayer Advantage (or is it Advance?) a systemic which is effective against scale.

Nick

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 10:31AM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

"Do keep in mind that Tolumnias actually die eventually- unlike other orchids...."
Well, here is a pic of Tolumnia William Thurston 'Orchidglade' AM/AOS which no doubt is still alive in some collections in the USA. No idea when Jones and Scully produced this orchid. It is somewhat dated as far as the shape of the flowers goes but the colour is nice.
I have several divisions of the plant and like some of the orchids mentioned in a previous post it might last forever in cultivation. Not so for those orchids in nature when the host tree or shrub dies.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 1:19PM
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orchidnick

Beautiful color, love it. Scrounging around the internet I doubt that more than 50 grexes are available in the US today, if that. When I divide some of mine and offer them for trade, they are snapped up right away but I have never received one in trade. At one time they were very popular, then they fell out of the limelight and now you hardly ever see them both at shows and on the tables of the societies. I do believe their popularity is on the rise judging from the interest expressed whenever I show some.

Nick

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 4:47PM
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orchidnick

I just talked to someone about the lifespan of Tollumnias who sells and grows them and who just returned from the World Orchid Congress. There, he says, he saw huge clumps of Tollumnias covered with flowers, 8" to 10" in diameter. These obviously were older plants.

He thinks in nature they don't get big because they do live on small twigs and get blown off by the wind. In cultivation, their downfall may be that larger plants don't get the opportunity to dry out completely. This seems to be essential to their well being. He keeps his larger clumps separate and waters them less than the smaller ones. Keeping that in mind, he believes they should live like other orchids, more or less indefinitely.

Nick

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 5:46PM
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orchidnick

I have a question for Arthur. This thread has turned into a Tollumnia thread and it has lead me to score some new ones. By the way, Rosie O'donell is tying the knot this Xmas so even bold men will have no chance there after that. Back to Tollumias.

I just unpacked 5 very robust, healthy seedlings from Exotic Orchids of Hawaii. They are all seedlings, no clones. How much diversity could one expect from them. By now the genetic background of these Tollumnias must include a multitude of DNA contributors. I will use one as an example. Onc Golden Sunray x (Rdcm (Crystal Veil x Spring Bouquet) sounds like it has enough parentage right there that 10 different plants should produce a diversity of expression with close to 10 different flowers. I know you have many of the same name. Unless they are clones, are the flowers different and by how much? I would want to avoid getting 10 different ones with a yellow flower and red spots where the only difference is the location of the spots.

Comment?

Nick

    Bookmark   December 8, 2011 at 12:01AM
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orchidnick

Just unpacked an order from Hauserman of 4 plants, all clones. They are healthy plants, twice the price and half the size of the EOoM plants. Are seedlings that much cheaper? I'm still trying to figure that one out.

Nick

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 12:15AM
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westoh Z6

Nick,

FWIW: I've always been happy with any order I've received from EOoM, always nice sized plants for the price plus a freebie usually.

I have the Onc Golden Sunray x (Rdcm (Crystal Veil x Spring Bouquet) cross and it is just about ready to bloom, single spike with about a dozen buds. I'll let you know how it looks or maybe even snap a pic in the next week or so.

Bob

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 7:10AM
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orchidnick

Second that, I got a freebie too.

Nick

    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 9:59AM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Nick,
You have certainly picked an apt name for this thread. I have resolved the name of your orchid somewhat....how about Tolumnia Golden Sunray x Llonara Cassie's Prince. You are on the crest of the great renaming.

I had no idea who the lady in question is/Rosie who? Thank goodness for google. Getting married is a "gamble fraught with danger" but many people "go boldly" to their doom.

Back to the topic. I have only two Tolumnia mericlones. The one pictured above produced by Jones and Scully and Zelemnia Liz �Full Moon� produced and registered by Ross Maidment (Aranbeem Orchids) in 1985. Another one that is easy to grow provided you supply the essentials of; A free draining Mix, Underpotting and maintenance which includes removal of old leafless stumps and associated dead roots.

One of the parents of Zelemnia Liz is Golden Sunset which is a parent in 134 registered crosses.
Golden Sunray might be a spec parent. Wonder how the flowers on your orchid will turn out?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 1:34AM
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orchidnick

The lady in question has shown a disdain for the stronger sex and to go there, given her other traits, would have been a bold move indeed.

I'm planning to get 10 to 20 seedlings of the same parentage just to see the variation in offspring. I'm told by the grower that yellow penetrates strongly, most of the the offspring of yellow parents will be yellow, so plan to choose a non-yellow parental pair.

Nick

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 11:42AM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

There are always exceptions to rules.

This

Crossed with this

gave this

And about 14 other flowerings so far of various quality and shades of pink and red, but no yellows��

Back to the main topic. If I had deep enough pockets I�m sure a "cool" house would be the way to go.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 3:07PM
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westoh Z6

Nick,

As mentioned earlier my Onc Golden Sunray x (Rdcm (Crystal Veil x Spring Bouquet) cross bloomed in the last couple of weeks. I've got some pics but haven't posted to an on-line site yet, but...

The flowers have a yellow background with variable maroon/red spots and some solid maroon/red in the center. Looks a lot like other Eqi'/Tol's I've grown in the past. Fairly large flowers and I had about a dozen on a single spike. Lasted about 10-14 days and are starting to fade and wilt now.

I'm pretty un-impressed with the flowers.

Bob

    Bookmark   January 3, 2012 at 7:15AM
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