Guest Author - Susan Taylor
It’s fall and time to bring your orchids back inside from their vacation outside during the summer. Don’t try to do this too quickly…take the time to check each plant. Some extra time now can save a great deal of heartache later. You don’t want to move insects or sick plants into a greenhouse or house where the close conditions can cause all your plants to become infected.
• Check for insects. Inspect each plant and pot for insects in the potting medium and for the smaller insects such as scale on the plant itself. Some sources recommend that you treat each plant individually by dunking it completely in water with either an insecticide, or as I prefer to do, with insecticidal soap in the water. The soap will kill any insects that it comes in contact with. Be sure to use water that is air temperature so as to keep from shocking the plant. Then dunk the plant in plain water to clean. This treatment will not kill adult scales, so take care of t hose with a q-tip dipped in alcohol.
• Check to see how the plant is doing. Do you have plants that have been underperforming, or not performing well in the conditions you can give them? Consider donating these to friends, orchid societies, to make space for plants which are more suited to your conditions. Just because the plant is not performing optimally for you does not mean that it will not for someone else with different conditions.
• Check for any dead leaves. Tidy up your plants before you take them in. This will allow you to catch any insects, mold, or other items before you take the plant in. Clean up the foliage of residues, dirt and dust. As you are cleaning foliage, be sure you wipe from the bottom of the leaf to the top. Be careful, new growths can be very fragile.
• Check for any plants that need to be repotted.
• Check for dormancy requirements. Review your plant information to identify those genera that will need a dormant period in the winter. It’s much easier to handle these special needs if you put all the plants that will be dormant or need less watering in one section of your greenhouse or in a special spot in your house.
• Check conditions in the location where you are moving the plants. If inside, do you have humid enough conditions? If outside, remember that light levels will need to be adjusted to give the plants enough light since they will be getting fewer hours of light.