Friday, October 26, 2007

New Orchids

We couldn't help but buy these orchids, they were too nice to pass up. We normally haunt the past bloom plant shelves for orchids because they're so expensive but these were unusual so we decided to pay full price for them.

This is a Zygopetalum orchid. Specifically Zygoneria 'Adelaide Meadows' an Austrailian hydrid. From the website: "Some twenty species (of Zygopetalum orchids) from Central and South America were largely ignored during the last 100 years because the flowers looked too similar, but now hybridists have been able to obtain the sought after diversity."

"For many years zygopetalum had a chocolate coloured flower, but by incorporating the allied genera neogardineria with zygopetalum, a green flower has been produced. This variety is known as zygonaria, which is a more compact plant with much better colour combinations including lots of spots, splashes and stripes, and many blooms that have a much sweeter perfume. Zygoneria ‘Adelaide Meadows’ is a good example of this."

I don't detect a perfume on the plant we bought.

Apparently there are many different kinds of 'Adelaide Meadows'. Ours was un-named so I don't know what it is.

This is a Beallara (Cambria) 'Eurostar' orchid. The Beallara orchid, has many parents including Odontoglossum, Oncidium, Miltonia and Brassia, so you can see the characteristics of the parents in the flowers. Apparently this is an easy to grow hybrid and tolerates normal home temperatures.

I re-potted the orchids in the morning drizzle. We thought they just came with a top dressing of sphagnum moss but the orchids were actually planted in sphagnum which is not a good planting medium because it retains too much moisture causing the roots to rot. The Beallara turned out to be two plants so I put a plant in separate pots and now we have three orchids instead of two.


We bought several portable indoor greenhouses to keep the humidity high in the winter. The forced air heating is otherwise just too drying for orchids. They usually have them at Lowes but I’ve only seen the greenhouses sold in Spring. Maybe they can special order it for you if you want one. This is what it looks like.

Portable greenhouse

I think it cost less than $50. We place a large shallow pan filled with water on the bottom rung with a small cheap fan circulating the air so mold and mildew doesn’t become a problem. We run the fan only during daylight hours when the indirect light of the sun heats up the inside and creates condensation on the plastic.

We bought a blooming Dendrobium several years ago and although it grew well indoors in our portable greenhouse, it refused to bloom. Last year the nursery woman told us that she put her orchid outdoors all summer under shade when the temperatures didn’t fall below 50f. So we put the Dendrobiums outside and Oncidiums too which also didn’t bloom and voila, they both sent out sprays of flowers. The Dendrobiums can actually take quite a bit of light though I wouldn’t put it in direct overhead sunlight but we placed the orchid where it got some morning light and dappled light through most of the day.

The other thing we learned about orchid culture is don’t overwater! I just read an article that said more orchids are killed by being waterlogged than any other cause. Here's a good general orchid growing site if you are interested in trying to grow some in the future. Just be aware that orchid culture can become addicting.


Blogger joey said...

I can see why you purchased these captivating orchids ... I don't think I could have passed them by either! Thanks for the informative info ... I have never noticed them before but will certainly be on the lookout!

7:40 PM  
Blogger Connie said...

I have never grown an orchid before...that first one is very pretty!

7:48 PM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Those zygopetalums are absolutely adorable. I swear that the closeup shows they have a face of sorts... that beige-y "nose" just above the smiling "mouth," and so on.

Maybe one day I'll be brave enough to try orchids. Right now I just have one of the easiest varieties.

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Gina said...

Absolutely stunning photos! I will have to get an orchid now :O)

1:39 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

During the winter months, the forced air heating makes the air too dry for orchids but we found an indoor portable greenhouse one day, walking through Lowes. They seem to only carry them in spring but maybe the manager could be persuaded to special order it or at least get the name and address of the company so you can order one for yourself. I will add a link to a picture of the greenhouse on the blog.

6:00 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Joey,
These impulse buys really kill the budget! Oh well it's only money. I went back the next week and 3/4 of the orchids were sold, so I guess they really caught a lot of people's eyes even if they were fairly expensive. I did see a Zygo at Williams Sonoma but if I remember correctly the price was about $50-60, yikes! Too much risk that we would kill the orchid for that price.


Hi Connie,
We started with the easy to grow Phalaenopsis orchids commonly known as moth orchids. You see them sold everywhere, even in grocery stores. Then slowy branched out into the other orcids like Paphiopedilum (slipper orchid) and Oncidiums (popcorn orchid), Dendrobiums and now these orchids. It sort of gets into your system after a while especially if you are an obsessive type of person which all plant people seem to be! ;)


Hi Kim,
Maybe you've hit on the reason why people like orchids so much. They are like little kids making faces at you from the back of a bus. A word of caution; when the bug bites it bites hard. One portable greenhouse becomes three in a short time! ;) Maybe you want a second job before you go there.


Hi Gina,
Uh oh, now don't blame me if it turns into an expensive obsession. :) The hobby increases exponentially not linearly so it's 1 orchid then 2, 4, 8, 16 and so on. This is a very seductive plant. Thanks for your comment.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Ooops, that should have been Smith & Hawken rather than Williams Sonoma.

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Gina said...

Thanks Ki, think we sent comments to each other at exact same moment!
It's my other half's obsession with rock - luckily we source nearly all of it from our property!
The orchid thing does sound addictive, next would probably be a hothouse! lol. :O)

7:56 PM  
Blogger Vanillalotus said...

Those are some interesting orchids. I overwatered the Cattelya orchid I had a few months ago. I tried not to water it that much but I think I did. Or I thought I did and then killed it. Orchids needs a lot of air sine they grow on trees in the wild. Best of luck with you orchids.

7:36 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Gina,
Actually I clicked on your link when you sent me your comment so it was not a simultaneous thing but it must have been fairly soon after you sent your message. You are very fortunate to have a large source of large rocks on your property. I am very envious. There was a write up about an orchid grower living in the next town from us. She had her whole dining room which was quite expansive made into a greenhouse with large windows, extra lighting, humidifiers and fans just for her orchids. So people can get really go crazy when it comes to orchids. ;)


Hi VanillaLotus,
I'm so sorry to hear your Cattleya died. My Dad used to grow them a long time ago and the medium he used was osmunda fern fiber which looked like a bundle of black hard roots. It didn't hold much water at all but apparently that's all they needed. The roots of orchid actually swell with water contact so even when the medium looks dry the roots may still be filled with water. We have stuck to the schedule of watering only once a week unless the leaves are obviously wilting which doesn't happen very often and try to keep the humidity fairly high during the winter months by using the portable greenhouse. I agree that since they live in trees, good air circulation is a must. I hope you'll try another orchid soon. Cattleyas are large, showy and make nice corsages but aren't the easiest to grow. We started with the Phalaenopsis because they are purported to be the easiest to grow. Thanks for your comment.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Ki, I already have a second job... I guess I'd need a third! lol. I thought about this post today as my local greenhouse had a bunch of past-bloom orchids on their clearance shelf. I told Katie, the greenhouse lady there, that I shouldn't even look at the orchids. I mentioned that I have enough "expensive habits" between the succulents and the fancy coral bells... she said, "Eh, what's one more?" :)

8:16 PM  
Anonymous mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Lovely orchids. You know, I just (after having it sit in the closet for years and even pawning it off on my adult son for awhile) threw out a hanging plastic sweater rack from the Container Store which looks like a skinny version of the greenhouse. If I had known I was going to be getting interested in orchids, I might have saved it and used it as a mini-greenhouse.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hey Kim,
What do the French say about Americans?...ants, Americans are like ants,work, work, work and don't enjoy life. What's another job eh! Indeed, what's another expensive habit! I hate to think how much money we've spent on plants alone.

Wouldn't you know, you would finally get rid of the very thing that would probably be the perfect for increasing humidity. I love it when people are creative, using an object or tool meant for something else. I guess you'll have to go out and buy a new sweater rack! Just make sure you can ventilate it adequately or add a fan to circulate the air so you won't have a mildew or fungus problem. I don't know how humid it is in Austin but if you don't use forced air heat very much you may be able to get by just setting the orchid pot above a large saucer of water. Thanks for the comment and great idea.

6:33 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

Oh yea, I can dig the whole "expensive addiction" thing! I really want to try an orchid someday, but I'm gonna control myself until I can renovate the house. I want a glass and stone entryway/greenhouse for cool plants like this, something I can use to keep them happier in winter (it gets really dry up here). Of course, I could use a small portable greenhouse, but I have no room! :(

6:31 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Wow, a greenhouse entry would be really cool Lisa! How dramatic would it be to enter a home flanked by flowering orchids!

Expensive addiction? Really now. Come on. Come clean. How much did you spend for the native terrestrial orchids? Or some of your other interesting rare plants?!!

Hey, we were digging up grass from one side of the swale bank and found a tuber like thing just like you recently had in your blog. It looked a bit darker than yours and it seemed like one continuous tuber which broke in three pieces but it had the same white inner core. It didn't have any odor I could detect though. I'll post a picture of it as soon as I photograph it. I wonder what it is? It doesn't look like any kind of fungus.

6:34 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

You got me pegged, alright! That's what I mean, I already spend more than I should on my hobby/obsession/addiction. Not to say I'm unhappy about it, or anything :) I want to try and research that fungus-y thing...I'll let you know what I come up with.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

these orchids are amazing..they are beautiful..but its really such a shame that most of them are too costly..

7:25 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

My Photo
Location: Zone 6, New Jersey, United States

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

Carnival-small Blogroll Me!

Listed on Blogwise

Blogarama - The Blog Directory

Gardening  Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory