2017 September Cultural Notes

Steve Howard’s September Australian Epiphytes and Terrestrials Orchids Cultural Notes for Adelaide’s conditions.

Watering

Epiphytes

Mounts daily. Generally moistening roots only.

Pots weekly. Small pots twice weekly depending on weather.

Terrestrial

Pots can dry out faster on warmer days so keep a watch on conditions. Note some terrestrials will commence summer dormancy towards the end of the month. Those that do show signs can have water reduced somewhat.

Feeding

Terrestrials

Weak organics like Seasol and Powerfeed applied in low doses can benefit colony type greenhoods.

Epiphytes

Low nitrogen always best for native epiphytes. Top up epiphyte  pots with dolomite lime and a dash of blood and bone. Seasol a useful additive now as new seasons root start.

Pests and Disease

Epiphytes

Botrytis will rot new buds in cold damp weather as fast as it attacks new growths from now. Aphids will increase sharply this month and favour new growth and spikes.  Pyrethrum sprays eco friendly and work well, so does a hose but dry spike straight after.

Terrestrials

Some terrestrials will rot this month if conditions have been too wet or stagnant over winter. Note this for next season and add more drainage if this has been an issue.

General Advice

Keep flowering plants under cover to enjoy as can be rather wet and cold as well sunny and warm this month. Start repotting and division once flowering finished to give plants longest possible time to establish over new growing season.

Time to get busy and take note of the jobs of potting and division to be done. Sept and October are the best months to work on the collection before the hot weather sets in.

Do you have small slugs and snails in your pots?  Get a cheap coffee grinder and grind up your snail pellets. Sprinkle in the pot and water them in. Bite size for micro slugs and the baits get right into where they hide.

[Terrestrials are not repotted until summer – Steve will have more on that later]

Pterostylis 'Nodding Grace'

Confucius’ thoughts on Orchids

Confucius was an admirer of orchids and in this quote he captures the quality of the epiphytes in this eloquent translation*:

The orchid grows where others cannot enduring the hardships of hunger and thirst, and is loosely tied to the things that support it.  And, even with all the difficulty of its life, the orchid graces the world with beautiful colour and rare fragrance.  This is like the life of the true gentleman, who sets himself to learn self-discipline, and whose character shines no matter where he is or what he experiences.

Though he never saw an Australian epiphytic orchid, the description holds true as can be seen in these three pictures from among the many species found on the eastern seaboard.

Sarcochilus falcatus
Sarcochilus falcatus (Orange Blossom Orchid)
Dendrobium speciosum
Dendrobium speciosum (Sydney Rock Orchid)
Dockrilla linguiformis
Dockrilla linguiformis (Tongue Orchid)

 

 

 

 

 

 

*From The Fragrance of the Unread Poem by Jonathon Steffan http://www.jonathansteffen.com/the-fragrance-of-the-unread-poem/ Accessed 10:04pm 30th June 2014