Guest Author - Susan Taylor
If you are like most orchid enthusiasts, one orchid is not enough. And as you succumb to the orchid bug, you will find that you have enough plants to need some kind of system to keep track of them. One option to consider is a paper orchid journal. There are several available, but the one I have used and recommend is Orchid Journal. I used this personally when I first started growing orchids and recommend it. Not only is it useful, but it comes in a purple three-ring binder with lavender pagesójust the thing for orchid enthusiasts!!
Since orchids grow slowly, itís sometimes really hard to stay enthusiastic about the plants when it seems they are not doing anything. An orchid journal and a monthly check of your plants will help keep your interest as well as provide you a regular health checkup of your plants. Look at each plant for number of pseudobulbs, new growths, sheaths or spikes, and measure new growth. Itís amazing how much an orchid can grow in a month! Some of my Dendrobiums will grow four inches in a month.
The pages in the Orchid Journal give you a place to put a picture of the plantóeither one you take yourself or from the catalog, or from a picture found on the web. There is a spot for bloom information, from whom you purchased it and space to make notes. I note repotting, staking, problems, bugs, etc. here so I can follow up. This instills some discipline in checking up on problems that is critical to keep problems from recurring and/or passing problems on to others.
Another reason to keep track of your orchids is that with a number of plants, itís hard to remember when the plant flowered, whether itís supposed to flower more than once a year, and exactly what it looked like. The journal takes care of all these details for you and allows you to enjoy your collection more. Looking back at the notes can be very satisfying when you realize that last year at the same time the plant had only 2 blooms and this year with all your good care itís putting out two spikes with 4 blooms each. You will also be able to note how long that plant flowered for you so that you will be able to plan for it next time.