My Orchids

So I’ve been a member of the Orchid Society of Northern Nevada since 2012 and during that time I have come across a huge variety of different Orchid species and cultivators. Naturally I now have quite the collection of my own and that’s what I’m talking about today.717

Above is a Phalaenopsis or the “moth orchid” I’ll call em’ Phals for short. I think its one of the uglier ones and I always seem to have problems with pests, more on that later though. Orchids are funny because most of them are Epiphytes, so they live in trees their whole lives and sometimes rocks and cliffs (Lithophytes). Phals are cool for a number of reasons, the roots can actually photosynthesize just like the leaves as well as search for moisture and nutrients. IMG_0882Here is another Phal. I’ve long since lost the tags to both of them, that makes me a bad man. When you buy an orchid that has no tag you are taking a huge risk. The Orchidaceae family is the most diverse of all the angiosperms (those are flowering plants for you common folk) and with over 25,000 species, the right care will be like trying to ascertain the exact sex of the dioecious Euphorbia Obesa without being about to look at a picture for reference. IMG_0872They are beautiful though, exquisite really, and speaking of dioceious flowers, that reminds me. Orchids are Monoecious like most flowers in this world, they have male and female parts on the same flower body called stamens and carpels. (pistil) IMG_0996

See that gross looking bastard on the top of the leaf? Its called a scale mite, this one is called an ARMORED scale mite. This little guy is basically the elite knight of scale bugs. After the orchid was infected for about a year i decided to put it out in my garden to try and let the other bugs have a go at them. The problem is the armor helps them against predatory insects like that little ant down there but the onslaught doesn’t end there, oh no, these are the special forces of the scale world, sabotage of infrastructure, training of new troops, the whole nine yards.

IMG_1002The black spots are a mold called sooty mold. This Phal. is also infected by mealy bugs, a type of scale mite, but these ones release large amounts of honeydew and that in turn encourages the growth of sooty mold. They are working in tangent, brothers in arms. Sooner or later this thing will die, but then, as I lose hope, a hero emerges from the roots!IMG_0999That tiny red nymph is a type of bug called a pirate bug, its got a gnarly proboscis that can get through most shells. Ill have to play the waiting game and see if it does its job. IMG_1001

Moving on!

IMG_0985I love mini orchids! They are usually a pain to keep alive though, they need air flow so they make poor terrarium inhabitants and dry out so quickly! These specific ones are called Epidendrum Porpax and the flowers look like little bees!IMG_0984Another mini I own, though I’ve never made this one flower its called a Tolumnia. When orchids don’t flower its basically them telling you that you goofed. Lots of times its hard to know what you are doing wrong and this is one of those times. The poor girl keeps skipping the flowering stage and jumps straight to root and leaf growth. Quite heartbreaking actually.

IMG_0986One of my favorites is Dendrobium Kingianum, Ive had this plant since 2012 and I still haven’t made it flower, BUT, its different this time. I know to make it flower I will have to expose it to freezing temperatures for a few months. That’s right FREEZING! Seems like total nonsense to me but I guess it will go through a hibernation stage before it flowers at its home in Australia. I’m afraid winters here are too intense for the little guy, last year i put it in my refrigerator for a month but nothing happened. So this one has not flowered so much because I can’t take care of him, it wont flower because i am to afraid to hurt it. Like an over protective parent. IMG_0777This old bat knows how it feels.IMG_0433Finally here is one of my submissions into the orchid exhibition here in Nevada, I didn’t win. These older folk who are retired got all day to play in the greenhouse and I don’t even know how they pull it off sometimes. I’ll keep trying though.



Author: garesgarden

ISA Certified Arborist, Amateur Botanist, and future Agricultural Engineer.

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