Paphiopedilum Orchids

Updated 3/1/17

img_0979Paphiopedilum orchids are best known as their pseudonym, “The Lady Slipper.” They are really, really cool and unique as far as orchids go because they have one BIG bloom instead of a bunch of small to medium blooms.

The Lady Slipper is a monopodial orchid meaning it does not have a pseudobulb, like the common Phalaenopsis orchid. Monopodial orchids need to be watered more frequently because without a pseudobulb they do not have a water reserve. I treat my Lady Slipper the way I treat my Phalaenopsis orchids in that I wait for their mix to get dry and then water them. Click on my post on How to Water for more information.

Lady Slippers also need special mix, which I get from rePotme, that helps them keep moist between watering. I also like to fertilize them in the same way I fertilize my other orchids.

  • Spring – production of late blooming and repot when out of bloom
  • Summer – production of new root and leaf growth
  • Fall – production of new root and leaf growth/potential of new spike
  • Winter – production of new spikes and blooms

Hope that helps,

Hannah

Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com with pictures of your orchid.

Cymbidium Orchids

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Cymbidium orchids tend to have tall spikes loaded with flowers! This orchid has much smaller pseudobulbs that are topped with long thin leaves. These leaves gently drape to form an attractive foliage plant. Cymbidiums have a fantastic range of colors including; white, green, yellowish-green, cream, yellow, brown, pink, red, and orange. Their blooms can last for up to ten weeks!

These orchids are easy to grown indoors but need MORE light (they need to be in a bright window in your home) and MORE water then the popular, Phalaenopsis. Phalaenopsis orchids have big thick leaves that store water whereas Cymbidiums have long thin leaves that store less water and will need more “man-made” help. If you notice wrinkled pseudobulbs this generally indicates a lack of water. Because of this I highly suggest putting them humidity trays because of their lack of water storage and I would also mist them. Learn here how to make your own humidity trays.

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Like other orchids their blooms are triggered, naturally, by a combination of falling temperatures and reduced water. Their natural bloom season is during the winter. Cymbidium flowers grow in sprays, with spikes arising from new pseudobulbs every season

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Also similar to most other orchids, Cymbidiums prefer to be repotted shortly after blooming as the new growth is beginning to emerge. They enjoy a rich, loose, organic potting mixture and can be easily divided during repotting in the spring.

One difference between Cymbidium orchids and other types is that they can survive lower temperatures then most orchids.

Cymbidium Basics:

  • Water: water thoroughly then allow to dry out briefly between waterings.
  • Light: these orchids like bright light. You can place them near a bright window
  • Temperature: these types of orchids like a minimum temp of 40 degrees and maximum of 95
  • Growth Habit: these orchids grow new pseudobulbs every year. Ususally in the fall bloom spikes emerge from new pseudobulbs at the base. The older pseudobulbs will not bloom again but they continue to support the plant until they shrivel up and die.
  • Look for: New pseudobulbs in the Spring and Summer, Spikes in the Fall, Blooms in the Winter

Hope that Helps,

Hannah

Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com with pictures of your orchid.

Oncidium Orchids

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Known as the,”The Dancing Lady” this is a beautiful orchid that is jam-packed with flowers (as shown above). Their flowers tend to “fall” or cascade down and are much smaller than most orchids. Each flower resembles a tiny lady dancing, which makes them quite fun! Normally their colors range from a yellow, tricolor, or the popular “Red Sharry baby” (which, I have been told, smells like chocolate) shown below…

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These orchids are easy to grown indoors but need MORE light (they need to be in a bright window in your home) then the popular, Phalaenopsis.

Don’t be alarmed if it seems like your Oncidiums are growing up an out of their pots (as shown below). This is normal for this type of orchid because in nature they would be trying to grow up a tree trunk. And don’t be quick to cut off their shoots because many times they will re-bloom off the same shoot! I was told to cut them back only if they turn brown or are rotting.

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As far as repotting, Oncidiums like to be slightly under potted in a very free-draining bark-based potting media. Oncidiums tend to form large clumps of pseudobulbs and develop into rather large plants, which means they can easily be divided when repotting. I have been told to make sure there are at least three pseudobulbs in each division.

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Here are two pics of my Oncidium Intergeneric named Wilsonara Kolibri… deep purple!!

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Oncidiums Cycle and Needs;

  • Water: You need to water thoroughly then allow to dry out very briefly between waterings.
  • Light: They need bright light.Temperature: Min temp of 55 degrees, max of 95
  • Fertilize: I use FEED ME!.
  • Growth Habit: Grows new pseudobulbs every year. Bloom spikes emerge from new pseudobulbs at the base of the new pseudobulb, usually in fall or winter.
  • Look for: New pseudobulbs in the Spring and Summer, spikes in the Fall, blooms in the Fall or Winter
  • Repot every 1-2 years
  • Potting Mixes: I use Oncidium Imperial Orchid Mix

Introducing my newest orchid – A Miniature Oncidium Twinkle. Of course I named it Twinkle:)

Miniature Oncidiums, the most popular being Oncidium Twinkle, have a remarkable number of flowers for such a small plant. Miniature Oncidiums prefer to be in a small, tight pot and will dry out very quickly. It is a bit of a challenge keeping these little guys moist enough. Still, they are relatively easy to grow and have a generous bloom. Unlike standard Oncidiums, the miniature varieties are less likely to attempt to grow up and out of the pot.

These are diminutive plants, usually 6 inches or less in height.

Hope that Helps,

Hannah

Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com with pictures of your orchid.

 

Monopodial vs. Sympodial Orchids

What’s the difference between monopodial and sympodial orchids?

updated 3/1/17

Monopodial Orchids

Monopodial orchids grow as a single upright “stem” with one leaf following another on opposite sides of the center. Monopodial orchids are repotted in the center of the pot as they will grow straight up. Common monopodial orchids are Phalaenopsis, Paphiopedilums, and Vanda (shown above).
  • Orchids with this characteristic pattern of growth do not contain water reservoirs (no pseudobulbs) apart from their leaves and thick roots, thus should be watered just as the medium in which they are potted in dries out completely.
  • At the base of monopodial orchids are small nodes that lie dormant, often for a very long time. Occasionally, however, monopodial orchids will multiply by starting a new shoots at the base of the plant and in this way develop into sizable specimen plants. The new plant is called a “basal Keiki.”

Sympodial Orchids

Sympodial growth is defined as an orchid that does not grow from a single vertical stem but from a stem that is more or less horizontal. They have the appearance of looking like flower bulbs but they are not. Their real function is to store water. These kind of orchids can go for prolong durations without water until the medium dries out because they store water in their pseudobulbs.

  • Sympodial orchids grow new pseudobulbs from the base of the previous pseudobulb and over time develop multiple growth leads along a single horizontal stem. This horizontal stem is called the rhizome. From the rhizome roots will grow. Most orchid genera are sympodial such as the Cattleya, Cymbidium, Dendrobium and Oncidium.
  • A pseudobulb refers to and individual “shoot” of a sympodial orchid which has a chunky base to hold water topped with leaves. Sometimes the pseudobulb is small and the leaves are long (as in Cymbidiums, shown at above, 1st pic above). Sometimes the pseudobulbs are long and thick (they look like leaf canes) and the leaves are small (as in Dendrobiums, shown above, 2nd pic above). Bloom spikes usually come from where the outermost leaf meets the pseudobulb. To assist in anchoring a sympodial orchid in the pot, a clip can be placed across the pot and between the pseudobulbs to secure.
Here is a helpful picture that further explains the difference
Photo copyright, American Orchid Society newsletter

Hope that Helps,

Hannah

Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com with pictures of your orchid.

My Rockstar Orchid #5

Updated 2/27/17

Number 5 is my ROCK STAR! I found this Phalaenopsis orchid abandoned in a friends house and had no idea the last time it was watered or the shape it was in. Its leaves were a bit droopy and I wasnervous to see its root system. Also I had no idea what color its blooms were since its blooms had already fallen off.
– I repotted it on Aug 17, 2011. I went up a size in pots. It was in good condition and had healthy roots.
– I detected a spike on Sept 15, 2011 and a 2nd root on Sept. 29, 2011.
– On Oct. 4 and 8, 2011 I set a bigger stake on spike because it was growing so fast.
– On November 11, 2011 a 2nd spike shot off from 1st spike!

Here is a picture on January 5, 2012

It has 15 little blooms off it including a second spike that sprung from another node. I can’t wait to see what color it’s blooms will be! (Update 2/27/17 white withblink inside).

Here is a pic of it on January 10, 2012…it’s beginning to open!!

It looks to be white with a bit of dark pink on it…

Here it is on January 13, 2012 … First bloom is fully opened, it is the one in front.

Here it is with a few more blooms!! On January 23, 2012

And here it is fully bloomed!

And here it is in 2015 with 30 blooms.

2017

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Email me with any questions in regards to how I got this orchid to bloom. And remember that orchids DO NOT bloom for many reasons. Don’t get disheartened if your orchids fail to bloom. Just take care of them and most likely they will bloom next year.

Hope that Helps,

Hannah

Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com with pictures of your orchid.

 

 

 

 

My Orchids – updated 7/22/15

I have many orchids. I keep notes on them to stay organized. I keep them on humidity trays in a large window seat in my living room.

Here are pictures of the ones that I have the longest. This is not by any means all the orchids that cycle threw my house. I “save,” (I am given many orchids – that are done blooming and did not sell – by local florist) repot and giveaway a ton each year. So, check back because I will be updating this post, as they bloom. This post is mostly for me so I can see what my orchids look like through the years:)

1. Phalaenopsis orchid from Aldi.

2011

2012

2013/2014

2015 – bloomed 6/1/15 8 blooms

#2. Phalaenopsis orchid from Aldi.

2011

2013 – bloomed after almost three years of bring dormant!! Color changed to white – 5 big blooms

2015 – 7/19/15 – 5 white blooms

#3. Already bloomed orchid from Garden Heights

2013 (2/8/13) – 8 medium dark pink blooms – hasn’t bloomed since 2011

2013 (12/1/13) bloomed 2x this year – 10 medium dark pink blooms – 1 stalk with two branches!!
#4. Already bloomed orchid from SHT 1/1/11
2013 (3/5/13) – 6 big dark pink blooms – hasn’t bloomed since 2011
2013/2014 (12/21/13) bloomed 2x this year – 9 big dark pink blooms – 1 stalk with several branches!!
#5. My Rockstar Orchid!
2012 – 15 blooms!

2013 – 20 blooms!

2014 – waiting for it to bloom / it has spiked / I accidentally knocked the tip of the spike so it is taking longer

#6. Phalaenopsis orchid from Jesse for my birthday from Aldi on 10/29/11.

2011

#7. Phalaenopsis orchid from Trader Joes on 11/5/11.

2011

2013
2014
2015 – spiked 1/11/15 Bloomed 6/11/15 5 blooms

 

8. Phalaenopsis orchid bought from Trader Joe’s on 11/28/11.

Has not bloomed since 2011
#9. Phalaenopsis orchid pink/white orchid from Aldi.
2011

2012

2013 – slightly lighter this year with 7 blooms

2014 – waiting for bloom / it has spiked

2015 – spiked 1/11/15 Bloomed 5/29/15 4 blooms

#?. Phalaenopsis orchid from Trader Joes on 11/26/11. Need to look into this…

2011 thru 2012

#10. 2013 – did not bloom
#11. Twinkle Oncidium orchid bought and bloomed in 2012.
2013 1-1-13
2013 (11-11-13) bloomed 2x this year!!
#12. Phapiopedilum orchid “Lady Slipper” from Bowood Farms
2012 – bloomed but didn’t get a picture
2013
2014 – it spiked and waiting for it to open:)
2015 – 1/28/15 – changed mix
#13. Phalaenopsis for Mother’s Day from Bowood Farms – this orchid passed away:(
2013
#14. Phalaenopsis orchid for Mother’s Day from ProFlowers
2013
15. Phalaenopsis orchid from Schnucks for my bday 10/29/13.
2013
16. Cattleya “George Hausserman – Carl” from Hawaii for my bday 10/29/13

 

 

2013 – not in bloom when purchased – this orchid passed away:(

 

 

 

 

17. Blue Vanda “Prao Sky blue – Phathai” from Hawaii for my bday 10/29/13

 

 

2013 – not in bloom when purchased – potted in a vanda box that I will hang up

 

 


 

 

 

Hope that Helps,

 


Hannah 

Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com with pictures of your orchid. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why a blog about orchids?

Updated 3/1/17

20120120-131320.jpgMy name is Hannah. I love my life. I have a wonderful family, loving friends and a sweet husband! I left my dream job taking care of mounted police horses to stay home with my daughter. And I recently started working for my favorite local plant nursery.

20120120-132023.jpgMy love for orchids began when my husband asked me to marry him with a beautiful white Phalaenopsis orchid (and a ring of course)!!

20120120-132128.jpgMany years ago I received some orchids and had no idea what to with them. You see I was very intimidated by orchids because I had heard they were so hard to care for. I started doing a bunch of online research and I found a lot of confusing and contradicting information. The whole process seemed so daunting!

What I have now found is orchids are actually quite easy…..IF you know what to do! I have found what works for me and I truly hope it works for you! I have Phalaenopsis, Dendrobiums, Oncidiums, Cymbidiums and Phrag orchids.

I started this site for beginners, like me, who want to find easy and accessible answers on how to care for orchids. I have compiled many of the good ideas from the web and local growers that have helped me care for my orchids and I hope you find this information helpful. Hope this helps,

Hannah

Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com with pictures of your orchid.