Winter Reminders

The majority of orchids remain dormant during winter, why not while away your time planning for the new season's growth by going through a checklist below:

*   Orchids in the home or under cover attract a fare amount of dust on their leaves during and Winter and firstly need to be freshened up by using some damp cotton wool or a soft cloth to wipe off all the dust.

*    At the same time remove all dried sheaths or remains of dead leaves. It is good practice     
to ease up on watering and allow the plants to dry out more than usual. This will force them to activate existing live roots which will start searching for moisture and encourage new growth to begin.

*    Check for any pests such as scale,
red spider and mealy bug and,
once the plant is cleaned, spray
with a recognised insecticide.

*   Review all your plants and mark which ones require repotting.   
Repotting will be done during September and October, as our
days will have started to warm up and plants will welcome
fresh mix if needed.



*   Remember, do not over-pot. Orchids really do best when kept in small pots and potted
on or repotted every second year. Also, remember that all orchids need to be given fertiliser on a regular basis. Any commercial orchid feed or pot plant fertiliser is suitable as long as it is applied according to label directions and especially in the Summer months.

*   Check the range of different orchids that you are growing, as well as their time of flowering.  With any collection, small or large and with a bit of planning, one can virtually      have plants in flower throughout the year.

*    If you have Cymbidiums  and your healthy, 
mature, plants have not flowered in the past
12 months it is  important to check that they
are receiving sufficient direct dappled sunlight
on their leaves from August through to May,
with lots of fresh air movement - preferably out
of doors if possible. This is very important
as the sunlight initiates new flower spikes within        
the newly developing vegetative growth.

Possibly the most popular orchid in present times is the Phalaenopsis  (the moth orchid)
and these are freely available at stores and garden centers. They are compact plants
with long spikes of large flowers which last anything up to four months.
The leaves are fleshy and paddle-shaped and cleaning them will enhance their appearance and facilitate development.

Many Phalaenopsis are growing in a sphagnum moss.
After flowering they might require to be repotted and
this is most easily recognised when the moss has in
fact lost its green colour and become quite slimy.

Remove the plant from the pot, cleaning off as much
of this dead moss as possible, trim off any dead roots
and repot completely with fresh moss in a new pot.

Some Phalaenopsis plants are potted in bark mixtures
or even coarse stone and they might also require to be
completely repotted. Phalaenopsis plants originate
in warm climates and prefer to grow indoors; they will
not survive outside in cold, wet, Winters.

Information by John Green

1. Keep the cold winds out by providing wind protection on the southern and western walls. This is a minimum level of protection. Some growers put plastic on all four walls!

2. Water in the morning. On clear sunny days, water before 9am. This allows them to dry out.

3. Water plants every 4 days from the start until the end of winter. Water every 6-7 days in mid-winter.

4. Watch the weather charts for very cold or wet days. You may need to adjust your watering program to suit.

5. Do not fertilize heavily in the winter. Use low nitrogen type fertilisers, every 14 days at half

6 I like Seasol as it helps the plant to be less stressed with the cold weather. Itís the best anti-freeze product available and the cheapest.
7 Use Seasol every 12 to 14 days throughout winter to maintain cold weather protection. It will also return plant back to normal growth.

8 Mix at 2mls to a litre.

9 Most hybrids grow during the whole year. Species do not.

10 Remember that during the winter the sun shines less, so the plants grow slower. You cannot force them to grow quicker, unless you go to a lot of expense with lighting, heat etc.

Courtesy of John Hughes:

10 Quick Reminders