Sunday, May 4, 2014

The cool nights begin their magic

Autumn is here and the nights are certainly a lot colder, down to below 15 Degrees Celsius in my sunroom now. Sunlight has become less intense and daylight hours are fewer. Many plants have been stimulated into spike formation. Some though seem to be hanging around for a bit longer without any signs yet of spike production. My old faithful Phalaenopsis aphrodite is sending out two large spikes which I am hoping will make an impressive display coming off the vertical mount this year. This plant always pushes out about 8 flowers per spike. These flowers are always of excellent form and for some reason this plant is a really good parent. I have never had any problems using either its pollen or setting pods on it, unlike my P. cornu-cervi which flatly refuses to accept any breeding. My P. schilleriana has a large branched spike on it containing about 13 or so buds. I will be selfing this one to get lots of future babies for a mass planting like the one I did for my P. sanderiana. The seedlings themselves with the colour of their leaves make for a very eye-catching display on a horizontal mount. When in bloom in the next few years I am sure it will make for an awesome sight. I have future plans to do the same with my P. violacea but these seem to enjoy being mounted on a vertical surface more than a horizontal one.

Phalaenopsis aphrodite

Phalaenopsis schilleriana

Phalaenopsis sanderiana seedlings

Next week I am looking forward to a joint session of splitting and re-potting my Disa uniflora with Patrick. We are trying something new this year. I am going to suspend my plants in mesh bags containing their fresh medium and each planted mesh bay will be given its own dedicated dripper. I have mounted a 25L drum onto the outside wall of my garage where I keep my Disas outside. I will place frozen R/O water into this reservoir to melt slowly and to feed through to the individual bags on a gravity-feed. This will allow for a slow release of cold water directly into the bags' media and will hopefully ensure cold and moist conditions required by the Disas going forward.

My little Bulbophtyllum spathulatum seedlings are ready to be mounted onto individual mounts. They are still quite small but this species prefers slightly cooler conditions so my plan was to mount some onto pieces of bottlebrush (Callistemon sp.) which by the way make excellent and long-lasting mounts for orchids. It is great hardwood which dries quickly and the bark is perfect for epiphytes. I suspended these in my seedling greenhouse to remain over winter to establish hopefully by September when I will offer them for sale at the next WBOS show. These and other dwarf orchid species are really great if you don't have much space and would probably do very well in a terrarium. Another interesting miniature in my collection is Haraella retrocalla which has very cute fragrant blooms. I should have some seedlings of this one by the end of the year. I really love the spider-like marking on the lip!

Bulbophyllum spathulatum seedlings mounted

Bulbophyllum spathulatum seedling

Haraella retrocalla


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