The Ocean State Orchid Society recently had a big show, and like a moth to a flame, I went. Not that I NEED any orchids, mind you. I told my skeptical husband that I was just going “to look” and to buy some potting medium.
And when my skeptical husband came home that night, there were three new orchids in the house, thereby reinforcing his skepticism. I don’t care. I am fascinated by these plants, and this being a juried show, there were some spectacular plants to ogle.
I was able to corner a couple of experts and grill them on why my zygopetalum is languishing. They all reminded me that “zygos” need lots of moisture. One even flattered me by suggesting that perhaps it wasn’t my faulty culture, but that I had somehow gotten a bad plant. I still don’t think it’s the plant’s fault, though.
I really did need potting medium and fertilizer, and these shows are always the best places to buy such specialty items. Then, I turned my hungry eyes to the growers’ displays, and the hundreds of yummy orchids for sale. I prefer to buy directly from the growers. They always offer lots of good advice, they sell superior plants, and their prices are usually better than those in the big box stores.
With the exception of the zygo, most of my orchids are in spike, including the irresistible aerangis citrata I bought last year at another show. I figure I am ready to try something a bit different, so here’s what I bought:
Masdevallia “Gold Dust,” and two Paphiopedilums: a deep reddish purple one – a hybrid of “Knight” and “Red Magic” and a lovely greenish white one – a “Green Machine” and Maudiae “Classic” hybrid. These are both lady slipper types. The Masdevallia is open now and has two more spikes, and the “Paphs” are both in spike.
I don’t know what it is about orchids that I find so alluring. I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but mine seem to do quite well, and it is always so rewarding – even exciting – to get a plant to re-bloom. It’s a good thing I don’t have a bigger house.
Congratulations on your great purchases. Buying orchids is really a sickness for me, so I know where your coming from. For my home requirements I try and stay with Phals, now the mini ones the others get way too big, and cattleya. But of course you do stray because you can’t go home without trying it.
A hint on your Masdevelia, which I don’t have good luck because they require a lot of water. I transplanted my last one in spaghnum to keep moist and so far good luck. But I just found out peat moss will do the same, guess the acid doesn’t hurt? A very good grower in the club never uses spagnum only peat and mixes it in with her potting mix.
Here’s the thing with the Masdevellia: according to my research, it needs to be moist, but it still needs cool temps and air circulation – in other words, conditions that mimic its natural habitat.
I guess it is almost impossible to recreate that in your house,. I’m willing to try, though. Thanks for the tips on the potting medium.
Your orchids are amazing! I only know one other person with a huge orchid collection and it isn’t me. If you are interested in other perennials you might like to know about my Giveaway – Nan Ondra’s great new book, The Perennial Care Manual. Come visit, and leave a comment by Dec. 5 and you could win. I’m celebrating my second anniversary as a blogger and Storey Publishing is helping.
I wish they were my orchids, but they were exhibits at a show. They sure are beautiful, though!