Off Topic - Ludi's Orchids - Heavy on the Pictures

Ludi _PA_7aFebruary 2, 2013

Hello Hosta Friends,

Going back through the recent posts, I noticed that some of you were very kind with your comments concerning my 'teaser' orchid picture. I thought I might elaborate a bit on my collection since it seemed to glean some interest. I am aware this is a hosta forum and I risk Ken's wrath by posting this. I'm also aware that there is a designated forum for orchids on Gardenweb, but I have been snooping over there recently and hadn't noticed much in the way of activity (well at least not when compared to the Hosta forum). In addition, you all have become somewhat of a virtual circle of friends for me and who doesn't love to share with friends ?

I live in Philadelphia. To grow orchids year round outside, like most successful hobbyists, would require me to move WAY down south. Seeing as I am about to set some 130+ hosta into the ground over the next 5 years, moving is not an option. In addition, I'm not sure I could handle the high humidity in the dead of summer (God Bless ya Mocc, Paula, Bkay - not sure how you do it).

I grow all of my orchids and other exotics under T12 and T8 fluorescent lights. I have two 6 foot tall by 4 foot wide shelving racks that are set up in an un-finished room in our attic (you will see the heater in some pics) and then two 6 foot long by 3 foot wide tables next to each other with more lights overhead.

For watering, I take them all in to the bathtub and set them on cookie drying racks (basically an elevated grate) so the water runs through and down the drain. I have a hand-held shower head so I can move it over the medium as I please.

Here are Deloris and Helen getting their bath.

They got those 'pet' names from me since their 'proper' name is:

Trader Joe's NOID $15.00 Special

Truth be told, they have been some of my best growers. The purple is Delores and the white is Helen. The names came to me one day . . . don't ask . . . cuz even I'm not entirely sure. :)

My collection is about 3 years old and was MUCH bigger when I started. But time and my initial inexperience killed some off. I currently have 49(ish) individually potted orchids. At my peak it was closer to 70, but eventually you hit a water wall and my over zealous collection balanced itself out to my real life schedule.

Side note: The quote that I cited for the alphabet (thank you for using it Paula) was told to me by a fellow orchid enthusiast one day while I was perusing here collection for possible trades. She hated purple flowers and I don't care much for yellow so we would swap on occasion. We were carrying on about a couple of hers not performing so well and I asked 'what would be better growing conditions' and that's when she responded 'The only way to know how to grow a plant properly is to have killed it a few times'.

That was hand's down the BEST piece of botanical information I have received to this day. :)

But I digress, as usual. Some people say that orchids are 'hard' to grow and you almost always hear someone say 'oh I've killed a few of those in my time'.

But really, at the end of the day, they are just highly specialized plants with a different set of rules. I'll admit, there is definitely some fundamental knowledge that needs to be present for success. But honestly, if Ludi can do it, you definitely can. :)

As for the specifics of growing orchids, I will leave that to the orchid forum . . . you all can enjoy the fruits of my labor. :p


The next two pictures are of Phrag. 'Lucy Robins' (that is her official name . . . NOT one of my NOID names). This is the first year she has ever bloomed for me in the 2 years I have had her. It was wellllll worth the wait.

The picture right below is Phal. Norman's Jade 'Green Apple' . . . I put it right after the true/all white Phal. (above) so you can see the difference in hues. Norman's Jade in person is the softest shade of green . . . it is such a special Phal. I can never get the lighting right though in pictures for others to see how 'green' it really is.

This post was edited by Ludisia on Sat, Dec 7, 13 at 9:29

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Very beautiful . I have one orchid and it bloomed steadily for ove a year and a half until someone said I should transplant it. It bloomed again but only small flowers so I either gave it too much water or was totally mad at me.

Don't worry about the posting here as we love seeing any growth including pets, kids and hosta. Brightens up a foggy winter day with spring still off in the future.

Oh and I see in the second picture the THUMPER on the table is for all the sore muscles from all the hard work. Great job!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 1:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hear that, Ludi??? That is the sound of my applause. My hands bleed.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 1:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jan_on zone 5b

Wow ludi, what fun you are having while the hostas sleep. Your orchids are absolutely spectacular; thanks for sharing them. That 'Lucy Robins' is a fabulous lady, but my very favourite is the green one - it would look great in my livingroom!!! I treat myself to an occasional big box $15 orchid, and am always amazed by how long they will keep blooming with no more attention than "three ice cubes every week".
You grow girl!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bernd ny zone5

Ludi you are doing very nicely, beautiful orchids. I especially enjoyed seeing those roots climbing out of pots and around the table. I once bought orchids when we drove around Florida, had them growing in NY state probably for a year or two, it was a good experience. Bernd

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Very lovely, Ludi. But you need to save some room to grow some Hosta seedlings. I use T8 lights also.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
irawon(5a Ottawa)

Ludi, your orchids are stunning. I enjoyed the show.

Steve, the hostas look exceptionally healthy... and plentiful as well. Looks like you could start up a nursery of your own??

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 5:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

T8 lights, you say. I'll see if DH knows how to do that. I'm sending a link to this topic to my botanist friend who grows native orchids. He can appreciate the skill behind the beauty. Me, I keep trying but only the Nun's Orchid survives more than one year.

Looking fab every one of them, Ludi.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 7:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

WOW!! Beautiful! I sent a link to a friend of mine who loves orchids but doesn't have as many as you. plantbug

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 7:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Beautiful, Ludi. I have but one in my care that my daughter gave my wife 4 years ago for Mother's Day. It's still alive; a small victory for me. Yours are fantastic.

Don B.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 11:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sandyslopes z5 n. UT

Ludi, nice set up you have there. I need to remember that quote because I do tend to beat myself up over some plants not surviving me. Your orchid collection is absolutely lovely. Such unique flowers on each one.

Steve, that looks like a really good way to beat the hosta blues in winter.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 2:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

I am aware this is a hosta forum and I risk Ken's wrath

==>> now that was a gratuitous drive-bye assassination attempt??? .. i hope you were kidding ...

she responded 'The only way to know how to grow a plant properly is to have killed it a few times'.

That was hand's down the BEST piece of botanical information I have received to this day. :)

==>> that is actually.. the given definition of a 'green thumb' .... as in.. your thumb wont turn green.. until you have killed every plant 3 times.. learning how to grow it ...

anyway.. thanks for the mid-winter respite.. it was 8 F when i looked at it this morning..


ps: thats a lot of wasted space you could be using for hosta seedlings ....

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
donrawson(Z 5)

Absolutely breathtaking! Now if we could just put those flowers on hostas!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 12:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
north53 Z1b MB(zone 1b Canada)

You certainly brightened my day with these pictures. Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 6:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
MadPlanter1 zone 5

A beautiful collection, loved the rosy ruffled one just after Green Apple. I have a $10.00 NOID phal. It's three years old and gets more flowers every year, so I guess it's happy. Should I be cutting off the flower stem after it gets done blooming? I was told to leave it if it was still green. This year it has four little spikes, all with a few buds. I'd rather have one big stem full of flowers, like yours.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ludi _PA_7a

WOW . . . I'm really excited so many of you enjoyed the pictures :)

These poor orchids sit up in my attic with only myself and the mice to see them. It is nice to finally have some people to share with . . . I really mean that :)

Sir Ken of Adrian - Aww Ken I'm sorry . . . I should have worded that better. I meant no harm, honest. The worst I feared were maybe some all CAPS shouting at me to take my Hoity Toity Posies over to the appropriate forum. Forgive my poor wording ?

Steve Mass - Honestly . . . I have plans for next winter to start some hosta seedlings . . . it is really exciting to hear that all you use are T8 for your successful seedlings (gives me hope). The only process I am worried about is the culling in spring. I have a 'no plant left behind' policy and worry about space.

Mad Planter - Grats on a flowering Phal. I remember when one of my first Phals shot an inflorescence up . . . I felt like such a winner for making it bloom again . . . keep up the good work.

The 'branching' you seem to be having is not uncommon in Phals, but traditionally they only have one giant long stem like you saw in my pictures. There are Phals out there (referred to as 'floriferous') that will actually branch smaller inflorescence from the main stalk and bloom at the ends of these. This is something that is genetically instilled in the plant. You cannot stop it from branching in this manner if that is what it does naturally without any trauma to the main stalk.

As far as cutting off the flower stalk . . . that depends on how long you want to keep it in bloom and also the overall health of the plant.

To keep it blooming from a 'spent' stalk . . . you cut the stalk about three 'nodes' up from the base and then it should (if it has enough strength) put out an entirely new flower stalk from the cut you made. The nodes appear as little leafy type attachments going up the stalk. They are usually evenly spaced and easily noticeable.

I only recommend this if you know you will have enough light during the growing season for the plant to recover form 'double' blooming. In the wrong conditions, forcing second blooms can stress the plant to the point of death. It take orchids a tremendous amount of energy to both form and sustain the flowers once they are open, thus why most only bloom once a year.

Further more if you have a floriferous Phal . . . once the new stalk starts to form from the cut . . . it should branch as well towards the end like the original. Just something to think about since you indicated you prefer a single flowering stalk.

The trick with Phals is temperature. When it becomes consistently warm (usually above 75F) they start putting out new leaves and go into 'new growth' mode. As soon as there is a 10-15 degree cold differential in the temps it will switch out of growth mode and start to form it's inflorescence for the year.

I threw together an almost barbaric diagram to hopefully clarify the wordy description.

If so inclined . . . anyone can feel free to email me if they have any questions about orchids. I am by no means an expert but I would be happy to talk shop and share what growing conditions work for me. My email is in my profile. :)

Thank you Thank you Thank you alllll again for such appreciation. It was my pleasure sharing. :)



    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 8:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

Forgive my poor wording

==>>> DONE!!! ..

i figured as much ..

i got a foot of snow.. and barely in the teens.. i dont really care what you post where .. besides the forum is always a bit dead this time of year.. so knock yourself out ...

most of my referrals to other forums.. are for the poster.. for a diversity of opinion on a PROBLEM ...

e.g. if you had a problem with your orchids.. i would suggest that forum.. and i am sure there arent many orchid pro's here.. but hey.. you never know what peeps have in their closets.. lol ...

showing off your pride and joy.. [even if i question why they arent hosta.. ] NOT A PROBLEM ...

again.. thx for the show ...


    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


Email me (it's in the profile also) when you are ready to start seeds next fall/winter. I'll make a few Elegans crosses for you.


    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love just about all plants,and your Orchids are beautiful,but I can't grow anything that doesn't grow in 'dirt'! I once had a wild Orchid come up right near my pool deck when I lived in Florida,but when I tried to transplant it,it just died. I'll stick to plants that grow in soil,from now on. Phil

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

crimminey steve.. how generous..

but might i suggest that you send her something that will be bigger than her fingernail in less than 3 years ...

sieboldiana seedlings take centuries to grow up ...



    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hmmmm, Ludi, your latest posting had a lively upbeat vibe to it, not at all dry and stodgy as some technically explicit information can be. You have a native excitement about the subject, that communicates itself to me. I guess what I'm saying is, you are a good writer for readers like myself with little to no experience in orchids.

If I'm correct, the youngster Ludi will be around to see the sieboldiana seedlings become mature clumps.

Ludi, thanks for the beautiful break in the winter, old man.
(Ludisia is a type of orchid, correct?)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 2:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ludisia is quite a "jewel" of an orchid

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 5:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ludi _PA_7a

How gracious of you Steve. I would love to try my hand at some of those crosses if it isn't too much of a burden to pollinate them.

I have already dug about a dozen or so baby Elegans from under mama and moved them into the back to be left to mother natures care. With the three huge clumps I have and given how fertile she is I will have Elegans seedlings for many years to come.

But specific crosses with me in mind would be a lovely treat and a great way to start. I will email you to coordinate.

Ken I agree with you about the sieboldiana types being slow . . . but I think it appropriate that my introduction to seed growing be from Elegans. She is after all the one who pushed me (and quite aggressively I might add) down this rabbit hole.

Moccassin . . . I'm sure in some circles 27 years old is a 'youngster' but I can tell you I sure don't feel like a youngster. But yes, I have a LOT of time to sit by and watch tiny seedlings grow up.

DING DING DING � Faye gets the grand prize . . . Ludisia is a genus of orchids. Their common name is the Jewel Orchid. They actually sit just outside the circle of epiphytes and are one of the true terrestrial orchids.

But their signature trait is the iridescence in the veins in their leaves. To see one in person is to see diamond dust sprinkled all over a leaf. That is the best way I can describe it. Pictures on the internet can not show you the light changing effects these veins have when you move the plant around the sunlight.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


It's quite simple really to make crosses. I'll do a little pictorial when I get some flowers. In the meantime check out Motley Crew, Leapin' Lippizan and Screaming Yellow Zonkers on the Library. Those are all crosses that use Elegans as the pollen parent.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 1:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ludi _PA_7a

Bumping this out of oblivion as I'm going to be adding to it again soon. The first of my Phals opened their pretty faces earlier this week, so more will be following suit.

YAY ! More to come soon :)


    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 9:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your orchids are truly stunners! Thanks for bumping this up for an informative read as well as eye candy on this cold morning. Anxiously awaiting your additional pics.

Have you tried your hand at hosta seedlings as you'd been considering?


    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 1:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
josephines123 z5 ON Canada

Wow! What a way to stimulate this forum at a time when most of us are probably (me anyway) in hosta withdrawal!

Ludi, your orchids are stunning! I too, love green Apple...not very often can one find green flowers on any plant...I have a green-flowering echinacea though.

I have killed my share of orchids but keep buying them from time to time. They are simply exotic....admiring them transports me to another place. The biggest collection of orchids (count was in the hundreds) I have ever seen in person was in Beamsville. The passionate grower was a young man, such as yourself, who had his partner build him an 'orchid greenhouse' at the back of the house. It was filled with so many wondrous flowers that it took hours to look at them all. It was an honour and an experience I will never forget.

Your beautiful post has conjured up that memory and brightened my day and no doubt everyone else's. Can't wait to see more pictures....and I'm treating myself to an orchid for Christmas!

Any suggestions on what kind would have a decent chance here, Ludi? An elder lives here, daytime temps. are set at 72 and are not decreased at night so chances are it won't survive either, but I can enjoy it for a few months anyway.

Thank you for the instructions on where to trim the stem once it has flowered. I always wondered which was the correct way.


P.S. Steve, I had an impulse when I saw your darling seedlings...I just wanted to pet them!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 3:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ludi, your orchid blooms will be a great treat for our hosta withdrawals.

I have some ground orchids from the first BADITC auction that are doing fine outdoors, even though they were nipped by frost last week.

I know your orchids are a source of much pleasure as well as the time and attention you devote to them--a dedicated effort on your part. Thanks for sharing them with us.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 3:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
josephines123 z5 ON Canada

Ludi, what is the name of the orchid in picture #17, please? Very unusual and hosta, each one has its own merits and stands out. Thnx.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 3:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bkay2000(8a TX)

Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos.

Your orchids are beautiful.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 3:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Enjoyed your orchid photo so much!

Glad Steve is going to be helping your out with growing of hosta seedlings.

Culling of hosta seedlings is not one of my favorite things to do either, hardest part of the hole seedling process.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 5:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Ludi _PA_7a

Thank you for the kind words Ladies … and I haven’t even posted the new ones from this year yet !!!

Deb - I have in fact dived into the proverbial pond of seed growing. After the splash I made at the BADITC auction I had better, right ? But, I’m saving that unveiling for a separate post. Stay tuned. :)

Dearest Mocc - Was it you who ended up with that variegated bletilla ??? I almost went for that last year, but held off since I wasn’t sure if I would have the space (which I didn’t).

Also, bletilla do NOT overwinter in pots at all, or at least they didn’t for me. I had some of the standard striata in a pot from 2012 and this spring in 2013 I finally decided to dump it when there was no emergence by June. Sure enough the pseudobulbs had rotted to mush. I still have two patches in the back yard gardens that are faring so-so. I have plans to move them this spring to the amended front beds, currently they’re competing with some major maple roots. They haven’t bloomed in the last two years so I know I need to move them or they will eventually be strangled out ... and we can't have that, now can we ?!?!

Bkay - I’m glad you enjoyed ! Always a pleasure to share. I'm surprised being in Texas you haven't tried some yourself .......... enable. :p

Trudy - Indeed, I am definitely NOT looking forward to the culling, but it seems a necessary evil when growing seeds for streaked breeders. But, I finally got my login sorted out over on the HSG forums (thank you again Bob), so you shall see me posting over there soon with progress.

And that leaves me with Miss Jo - Goodness Gurl, you type about as much as ‘Long-Winded Ludi’. I LOVE IT !!!

What a wonderful story about your experience in Beamsville (listen to me, like I know where that is). I would love for my partner to build me a greenhouse, but he knows that would in essence be Pandora’s Box. For now, he’s content to leave me with my room in the attic. Honestly though, I don’t have enough time working a full time job to take care of what I have NOW, let alone taking on more. What did Ken say earlier this year … ah … hope springs eternal. :)

You leave me with some opened ended questions, so I will take the easy one first.

I counted pictures, and I believe #17 was this one:

Its fancy name is psychopsis mendenhall and the common name is butterfly orchid. Although if you google ‘butterfly orchid’ you get all kinds of garbage, so google the latin name. :)

Interesting that you would choose this one, as it is the only orchid of mine that is in bloom pretty much all year. It puts out a flower stalk way high above its leaves, and then will only form one bud at a time. Once that first bud opens and the flower eventually fades and falls off, it will then put a new bud out at the same meristem. It takes anywhere from 2-3 weeks for one bud to mature, but then the flower is open for about as long. So I am basically 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off with a flower. It is one of the best orchids I’ve ever grown.

I confess I don’t keep mine watered as much as I should and my temps/humidity are all over the place. If I was more of a perfectionist I could probably get it to throw two of three more flower stalks. Then they would open at different intervals, subsequently allowing a flower to be viewed at all times.

Usually at orchid shows they sell them with at least two or three flowers stalks. Mine presently has two, but the original has stopped blooming.

Here is a picture I took today to illustrate this. You can obviously see the flower on the left :) and the multiple re-blooming that occurred on the older stalk to the right. I only had both of them open once, and then after that the first stalk stopped blooming. That was back sometime in June though. I can’t quite bring myself to cut it off … keep hoping it will maybe start blooming again … there is that spring of eternal hope again. :p

Oh, also, to give you a time table, the original stalk kept re-blooming for almost two full years before the second stalk came up and ‘took over’. Sort of like a changing of the guard, now that I think about it. :)

As for your second question - what would be a preferable orchid for you to try, given the limited environment you described ? That is a tough call, honestly, and I have given a lot of thought to it. I think the most ‘forgiving’ would be a phaleonopsis.

However, I do not have any experience with growing orchids on windowsills and don’t know that I would if I had a south facing window after the success I’ve had growing under lights. But I understand that most people are far more practical than me, so I stand with my suggestion of phaleonopsis. :)

Orchids need enough light both to sustain life and re-bloom. But light is only half the battle. To get a Phal to rebloom, you need to have a noticeable drop in temps from a consistent couple of months of warm summer weather.

Ya know what ?!?!? I JUST wrote a four page breakdown for Steve to help him with his little Phal about a month ago (still waiting on those pictures Steve).

Email me through the GardenWeb, include your return email in the body of the message, and I will be happy to send it to you.

And to anyone else who may be interested. It is basically a four page primer from MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE … I break a lot of rules, so I have to make that disclaimer since any ‘real’ orchid enthusiast would run away screaming if they saw my setup and my methodologies.

But hey, a picture is worth a thousand words, so I guess I have been doing something right these last 4 years. ::grins::

But seriously, shoot me an email and I will send you a copy of the word document. Orchids are not impossible, but they are fussy and highly specialized. But that does not mean you can’t have your own success.

Take a dive, the water is fine. :)



    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 11:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
josephines123 z5 ON Canada

Ludi....what a gem you are! Thank you for taking the time to respond....I know you are busy but I was sure you'd get back to this when you had a spare minute! :-). Your response was such a treat to read!

I will take you up on your gracious offer and email you as I would love to receive your information on the phaleonopsis orchid based on your own so interested in your own take on sound like you like to push the envelope and that makes for interesting methods and results.

Psychopsis Mendenhall really intrigues me and the very long, prolonged blooming period is astonishing! Wow! Your enthusiasm and love for this genus makes for a terrific read.

Thanks again, Ludi....see you in email.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 11:55AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What's looking good in your garden this week?
I'm afraid I'll miss the pipping going on in my hosta...
Tri State Hosta Sale
Tri State Hosta Society had a wonderful Sale today...
good to see spring in the uk
my grass still lots of work!fed it 3 times already..bloody...
Anyone notice red leaf tips on 'Squash Casserole'?
Well, I did a day or so ago. Not just one or one eye,...
22 degrees Fahrenheit Saturday night predicted!
I spent three hours covering hostas when I got home...
Sponsored Products
Safavieh Hand-woven Moroccan Reversible Dhurrie Grey Wool Rug (3' x 5')
DW 5050 LED Strip Light 60/m 10mm wide 5m Reel
Patio Living Concepts Lamps Shangri-La 34 in. Outdoor White Table Lamp with
Home Depot
La Jolla 9 Piece Outdoor Patio Sectional Set in Espresso Peridot
$1,799.00 | LexMod
Series 7017 Garnet Bronze Sconce
$144.00 | Bellacor
Napoleon Apollo 3-N-1 Smoker AS200K - AS200K
$249.00 | Hayneedle
Izmir Purple Lido Floor Lamp
Lamps Plus
Fabbian | Lumi - Mochi Table Lamp - F07B03
$276.30 | YLighting
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™