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Lake Oswego Country Gardeners Club

I’ll be speaking at the Lake Osewgo country club for the Lake Oswego Country Gardeners annual meeting tomorrow. I’m very excited! Here’s a copy of notes from the lecture and a photo of some fabulous orchids that I’ll be showing.


Orchids are thought to have originated 120 million years ago

Orchids colonize every part of the world except the arctic

The smallest orchid was found by a Russian farmer in 1928, The orchid, Rhizanthella, grows completely underground

The largest orchid, the epiphytic Grammatophyllum Speciosum, can grow to be as large as 16 feet long

Orchids are the largest plant family on earth

There are over 25, 000 natural orchids with new species being discovered even today

There are over 100,000 different hybrids of orchids with 3,000 new hybrids being produced every year

There are two types of orchids, Terrestrial and Epiphytic

Terrestrial orchids grow in the ground, produce tubers and flowering stems and leafs

Terrestrial orchids are perennials, meaning they have a growing season and a dormant or quite period

Epiphytic orchids grow on the trunks and branches of trees and produce aerial roots through which they absorb moisture from the air.

Vanilla extract comes from the orchid “ Vanilla Planifolia” there are over 110 vanilla species of vanilla orchids

Raising Paphiopedilums from seed can take as long as 12 years.

The state flower of Minnesota is the Cypripedium Reginae. A showy flower in the Slipper Orchid family.

The worldwide retail orchid business accounts for $9 billion dollars in sales annually.

Turkeys most popular dessert is an orchid ice cream called “Salepi Dondurma”. Salep, the essential ingredient in orchid ice cream, is made from dried and ground orchid tubers.
Maintaining Healthy Orchids
Orchid Care 101


Phalaenopsis, or moth orchid, is known as a winter growing orchid.
The phalaenopsis is named a moth orchid because early orchid hunters came upon hundreds of blooming plants that were swaying in the wind and resembled moths.
The phalaenopsis is among one of the easiest orchids to grow in a home environment.

Bloom Time: Winter and Spring.
Light: Filtered light with no direct sun.
Temperature: 65 – 80 day, 60 – 65 night.
Water: Potting medium should be moist but never damp. Water with Luke-warm water every 7 – 10 days, or when pot feels light. Never water inside the crown of the plant as this will cause rot. Watering in the a.m. is always best.
Feeding: Fertilize once per month using a high-nitrogen fertilizer.

Other Tips:
Many times phalaenopsis orchids will shoot off a new spike. To encourage this, cut back stems to the first node below the lowest faded bloom.
Phalaenopsis orchids love humidity. Create humidity by placing your potted plant in a shallow tray of wet gravel or small stones. Clay hydroponic pods can be placed on top of your potting medium to distribute humidity throughout the week.
Once again, avoid watering through the crown of the plant. Lift the lower leaves by the root base or water near the edge of the pot.
Keep your foliage shiny and healthy by dusting and
spritzing once per week.


Oncidiums or “spray orchids” are tropical American orchids containing over 650 species with new hybrids being introduced yearly. The Oncidium is considered a winter growing orchid with a bloom time from late winter to spring. Oncidiums are known not only for there showy flower but for there wide range of fragrance with scents ranging from chocolate to vanilla.

Bloom Time: Winter and Spring
Light: Bright light all day with direct morning light.
Temperature: 65 – 80 day, 55 – 65 night.
Water: Oncidiums grow well in bark that should be kept moist during it’s growing season. Luke warm water every 5 – 7 days, or when pot feels light.
Feeding: Fertilize once per month using a high-nitrogen fertilizer.

Other tips:
Oncidiums bloom only one time from the pseudobulb and generally produce 4-6 leaves from each bulb.
To keep your foliage healthy mist 2 – 3 times per week during the summer and fall months or when temperatures rise. Pseudobulbs and foliage can spot and brown easily, to ensure healthy year round foliage dusting and misting is essential.
Oncidiums thrive with the perfect humidity and growing conditions. Create humidity by placing your potted plant in a shallow tray of wet gravel or small stones.

Slipper Orchids

Paphiopedilum, Phragmipedium and Cypripedium make up the family of Slipper Orchids. Called slipper orchids due to the lovely pouch and long narrow petals that resemble puffy little slippers. The family of slipper orchids are warm growing terrestrials that are prized for not only there dramatic and stunning flowers but for there molted and shiny foliage year round foliage.

Bloom time: Spring and summer
Light: Filtered bright light with early morning sun.
Temperature: 65 – 80 day, 60 – 70 night.
Water: Keep evenly moist year round. The roots of slipper orchids can be continually moist and without a pseudobulb they have no way of coping with drought. Water often using luke warm water. Never water inside the crown as this will cause rot. Watering in the a.m. is best.
Fertilizing: High-nitrogen fertilizer weekly to promote new foliage and flower spikes.

Other tips:

Slipper orchids have no true rest period, although the growth slows down a bit in the winter months, and should be fertilized on a weekly basis.
Slipper orchids can be, and should be, kept continually moist. They thrive with the perfect humidity level and should be placed in a shallow tray of wet gravel or small stones.
Slipper orchids are prized for there beautiful foliage that should be spritzed often.
Slipper orchids sun burn very easily and should be kept out of direct sun light.
Repotting of slipper orchids is rarely necessary. Repotting only after planting medium has begun to decompose and then returning plant to the same size pot or vessel.


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