Guest Author - Susan Taylor
This is a continuation of the Tips articles which were posted previously. If you have any tips you’d like to contribute, please send me an e-mail with “Tips” in the subject line. I would like to thank the members of the AOS Forum, Orchid Dreams Forum and the Houston Orchid Society for the tips they contributed.
Use anoles (chameleons) and tree frogs as bug eaters. This is for those southern growers who have greenhouses. These little bug eaters are a wonderful addition to a greenhouse and they never rest, they are ecologically friendly, and the bugs never get resistant!! Catch a couple and let them roam your greenhouse. Be sure that you mist your plants; they cannot lap up water from a dish. Mine have become rather tame after a few months and don’t panic when I come upon them unless I water them directly. Don’t try to touch them, though, it stresses them.
Put two labels in each plant. When you repot, bury one label at the bottom of the pot, or up the side so it doesn’t stick out. Little helpers can then collect all the labels for you and you will still know what your plants are!!
Don’t waste your energy on someone else’s problem plant. Almost everyone who grows orchids will give you this tip and I’m sure you’ll try it anyway, just like I did. Orchids grow slowly, so a problem plant from someone else will take from 2-3 years (depending upon variety) to recover if it does so at all. You are much better off spending your energy and shelf space on a healthy plant that is going to flower for you regularly.
Check your growing area for dangers to children. One thing we all should be happy to do is share our love of orchids with the next generation—and we need to make sure that when we do so it’s safe. Sit on the ground in your growing room, or in your greenhouse, look around and make sure that there’s nothing dangerous at child-level.
Quarantine new plants. When you purchase a new plant, always place it where you can watch it for a couple of weeks away from other established plants. Initially, water the plant thoroughly and place it in a bright location with good humidity. Check it carefully for insects and use your favorite preventative insecticide/fungicide to make sure that you are not introducing any unwelcome pests to your collection.