light and water are the three important elements for growing any orchid, the
backyard can complicate these requirements.
be restricted by buildings, solid fences and to a certain extent paling fences,
to overcome some of these problems wire mesh benches can be used to lift the
plants up off the ground or plants can be hung. If you do not have a bench to
stand your plants on it is better to stand them on bricks than put them straight
onto the ground.
(sunlight) similar problems to airflow –some trees add too much shade, remember the plants can stand full sun for most of the year except for the real hot months. It is best to use shadecloth 30%-50% to protect the plants from severe sun and some degree of frost protection. If a choice has to be made on morning or afternoon sun pick the morning.
Water the pot so that drips appear at the base, it is better to have one good watering than many wet the leaves type watering. Frequency of watering will vary on the type of potting mix, the time of the year and the weather, get to know your potting mix, if the top 25 to 50 mm is dry it needs watering. In hot weather it can be almost daily, the cold months 7 to 14 days, if very shady 3 to 4 weeks would not be uncommon, do not water on cold cloudy days.
If you use liquid fertiliser remember weakly weekly is far better than one strong dose monthly as this can burn the roots of the plant which will set it back 12 months on its flowering cycle.
Use Campbell’s Yellow all the year round at a quarter a gram per litre of water.
When the plant has outgrown its pot, repot into the next size pot using fresh potting mix, only when the plant is too big for you to handle do you need to divide the plant up keeping the divisions to the minimum size clump of 3 bulbs.
Take care where you put the stake into the pot, too close to the edge and damage can occur to growing roots, too close to the spike and you can damage the new shoot that grows out under the spike and do not use any cutting implements as this can spread disease.
Hygiene as with most orchids is important and if the plants are kept clean there are generally few problems, one main problem can be with fungal spots on the leaves, these black spots are caused by not allowing good airflow around the plants, they can be controlled by spraying with one of the zinc sprays like Zineb or Mancozeb.
Snails will cause damage to the buds and flowers, use good snail bait at bud formation to prevent this. Like most orchids, some form of protection at flowering time especially in wet seasons will help protect the flowers from spotting, this spotting can cause the flowers to deteriorate.
Don’t forget mice and rats also like eating your spike
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