Guest Author - Susan Taylor
Each year I make public my resolutions for orchid growing which I hope will encourage others to do the same in order to make you think about how to enjoy your hobby more.
Get rid of those plants that aren't doing well
I have several plants that are growing, but just have never bloomed or even made an inflorescence for me. I also have several plants that were given to me because the owners had half-killed them. Unless the plants are seedlings, I plan to either give away or dispose of the plants that are not doing well to make room for new ones that I hope will flower for me.
Concentrate on growing those plants that do well for me
Each of us has his or her own growing environment and there are some plants that are going to do better than others in that environment. My Hawaiian Dendrobiums are doing very well for me -- growing and flowering; the hairy Dendrobiums are not. My temperatures seem to be too high for this intermediate grower, so no more of them. Mottle-leafed Paphs are growing nicely and I'm hoping for some blooms next year. This is a new genus for me that I'm testing.
Systemic insecticide for scale
I have had problems with scale for several years now and it seemed that I simply could not keep it from spreading. I tried Bayer Advanced Rose and Flower Insect Killer with 0.0012 Imidadoprid which has a 30-day systemic effect and it's made all the difference in the world for me. I spray once a month and am now only finding a spot or two of scale where before I was fighting it on every plant. I will continue to do this consistently.
Last year I made a resolution to use only rainwater on my species since they were having trouble with my hard city water. It made such a difference in such a short time that I started using it for all my plants. All my plants have shown improvement. I will continue to collect and use rainwater as much as I can and use a calcium filter on the water hose so that when I need to use hose water at least the calcium is removed.
This year I need to do better at keeping up with my recordkeeping on my orchids. I have Cattleya-Log which is a realy wonderful program that allows me to input when each plant flowers, how long it flowers, how many inflorescences, etc. I have neglected to keep up with putting the information in the system so that I will know when to expect my plants to flower. For anyone who is tryng to have plants for shows, this is important information and will also allow you to look forward to specific flowers each year.
As a part of being a member of the international orchid community, I will support conservation both here in North America and in other areas of the globe. My contribution here will be to participate in locating and identifying local orchids and in growing seedlings which are destined to be replanted in the wild. I will contribute to in situ conservation by providing funds to one of the organizations which saves rain forest areas from development.