Posts by Carol:

Amazing Orchids: The Dove or Holy Ghost Orchid

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Categories: Fun, Orchid Care

Dove OrchidThis week’s amazing orchid is the Peristeria elata, an orchid species native to regions in Central America (it’s the national flower of Panama).  I’ve actually seen these beauties at Orchid Shows a few times and they are just the sweetest thing!  They are commonly referred to as the ‘Dove’ or ‘Holy Ghost Orchid‘ because of the tiny little dove that appears to be sitting in the center of the orchid.  These peaceful and elegant orchids do have a fragrance (they smell like beer I hear).  Like many other orchids, the Dove Orchid is used in Chinese medicine and is most commonly used for cosmetic uses–to sooth and clear spotty skin.

Now for the real reason you wanted to check out this post….THE PHOTOS!  Here are a few photos I gathered from about the web.  Enjoy!

 

peristeria elata orchid

 

Holy Spirit Orchid

 

Dove Holy Spirit Orchid

 

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

Orchid Care, Orchids, Orchids Care, Growing Orchids, Orchid Care and Maintenance

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Amazing Orchids: The Flying Duck Orchid

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Categories: Fun, Orchid Care

Flying Duck Orchid -I recently received an email forward from a friend with an incredible slideshow of some of the most beautiful orchids I’ve ever seen.  Included in that slideshow was a number of unique animal-like orchids.  I thought it would be fun to learn a little bit more about these and share them here on my blog.  Here’s the first amazing orchid:

The Caleana major orchid, native to the southern and eastern regions of Australia, is most commonly referred to as the flying duck orchid (for obvious reasons).  It’s an itty bitty thing with flowers that measure just 1/2-3/4 of an inch in length.

SawflyThe length and unique shape of the labellum is the perfect resting spot for pollinating insects.  Sawflies landing on the column will become trapped in the labellum (which shifts downward from the weight of the sawfly), forcing the sawfly to brush against the pollen on the way out.  Don’t you just love how sneaky orchids are when it comes to forcing pollination?!

From what I’ve read, it’s also an extremely difficult orchid to propagate as it survives in the wild with the help of a fungus found only in certain parts of Australia.

Oh what I would give to see this little guy in person!  I don’t know about you, but I have no plans of traveling to Australia anytime soon, so I hope you enjoy the photos of the flying duck (below) as much as I do.

Flying Ducks 2

flying duck 3

flying duck 4

Just another reminder of how amazing nature can be!

Want to learn a few tricks about how to care for orchids?  Sign up for Ryan’s Free Orchid Care Email Tips–he shares his best secrets with his readers.  You’ll learn secret orchid care techniques expert growers use to super-charge their plants!

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

 

Photo Credits (in order):
dracophylla
Bill Higham
sunphlo

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Orchid Care Q& A: What’s Growing On My Orchid?!

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Categories: Phalaenopsis Orchid, Potting, Reblooming

Today’s Orchid Care Question comes from my blog reader Dan.  He’s new to Phals and has a couple of new leaves growing off the side of his plant.  He sent me some great photos and I thought I’d share his question and photos with all of you!  Enjoy :-)

Reader Question:

Hi Carol,
I have been growing a Phal orchid for the last six months or so. When I bought the orchid it had a large stem with many beautiful flowers on it. The flowers have since died off and the stem turned yellow/brown. I went ahead and trimmed the stem back to the first node and it continued to yellow and harden. Now the plant is growing new leaves off the side of the main plant and was wondering if this is normal? Also I am curious as to when I can expect a new flower stem to grow? I have attached a picture of the orchid to help with my description. Thanks for the help and tips.

- Dan Binzel

 

Phal with Basal Keiki      Detail of Phal with Basal Keiki

Answer:

Hi Dan!

So glad you’ve included some photos with your question!  They are very helpful in seeing what exactly your orchid is growing.

What you have there is a basal keiki (baby plant) growing on your Phalaenopsis mother plant.  Kekis can grow at the base (basal) or further up along the stem.  Not really sure why keikis grow on some plants and not others, sometimes they just do.  You can even force keiki growth on orchids with a product known as Keiki Growth Paste.  It’s a great way to propagate your orchids!

Some growers believe that basal keikis sometimes grow on orchids that are under a lot of stress and dying, but they will also grow on perfectly healthy orchids.  From what I can see, your plant has very happy green leaves and looks like it is quite healthy.  I do see a few dry roots on the surface of the pot.  You can take this time to remove damaged roots and repot your orchid if it needs it (since it is no longer in bloom).

You’ll want to continue to mist both plants regularly–paying special attention to the keiki as it should start growing roots soon and you don’t want those to dry out.  Once the roots get long enough, you’ll be able to repot the baby orchid in its own pot.  Check out my previous post of keiki repotting here: Orchid Keiki Repotting Instructions

As far as the mother plant goes, the keiki growth should not impact it very much  A new flower spike will emerge from the base when the plant is rested enough and ready for reblooming.  Phals typically spike in the late Fall/early Winter season.  You’ll want to give your Phalaenopsis cooler nighttime temperatures to encourage it to rebloom.  I’m personally waiting for several of my own phals to spike in a few months.  The wait is well worth it!

Well, I believe that just about answers you question.  I hope this proves helpful!  Thanks again for your question and for sending in a photo!

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

Orchid Care, Orchids, Orchids Care, Growing Orchids, Orchid Care and Maintenance

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Orchid Care Video: Helpful Spices!

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Categories: Orchid Care, Pests and Diseases

Ryan over at OrchidsMadeEasy has a great video I just had to share here. This video shows just how easy it can be to care for your orchids. Who says you have to go out in search of special orchid chemicals? Sometimes all you need is to grab something from your kitchen cabinet! So go ahead, watch the video below to see which spice can treat and prevent diseases in your orchids! So simple, easy, and natural!

Want to learn more? Don’t miss Ryan’s Free Orchid Care Email Tips.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :-)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

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Orchid Care and Maintenance : New Plant on Stem?

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Categories: Orchid Care

Today’s Orchid Care and Maintenance Question is from Helena in Bocas del Toro, Panama!

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Question: Two of my orchids have grown a new plant off the old flower stem.  The root is 1 1/2 in. long.  How should I remove it to repot it?

Answer:

Hi Helena!  I’m so glad you’ve written all the way from Panama!  Your orchids must be loving the warm and humid climate in Bocas del Toro!  It is difficult to say what exactly is going on with your orchid, but it sounds as though your plants are growing keikis.  (You can check out my post on orchid anatomy.)

I’ve propagated a few keikis from my phalaenopsis orchids over the years—each one has gone on to flourish into a full-size plant using the orchid propagation method below. Phalaenopsis grown this way should reach flowering size 18 months to 2 years after they first appeared.

(Proceed only if the roots of the keiki are longer than at least 2 inches.)

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Phalaenopsis Orchid, Orchid Propogation

Carefully remove the small plant from the flower spike by cutting the stem 1 to 2 inches either side of the plant, this will ensure that you don’t damage the roots of the keiki.

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

Assemble everything you need.  This comprises of a pot large enough for 12 months of growth, a medium grade potting mix, a label with the variety and of course the keiki – see photo.

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid, Repotting Orchid

Carefully pot the keiki —keeping the roots in tact below the orchid potting mix.

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

Protect the keiki from direct sunlight and water and fertilize regularly.

Here’s the keiki on June 30th – it has produced a new leave and roots

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

The keiki has another new leaf and a flower spike emerging!

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

The keiki in full bloom

Orchid Care and Maintenance, Orchid Care, Orchid Propagation, Phalaenopsis Orchid

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Want to learn more?  Don’t miss Ryan’s Free Orchid Care Email Tips.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :-)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

Orchid Care, Orchids, Orchids Care, Growing Orchids, Orchid Care and Maintenance

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Orchid Care and Maintenance : Falling Orchid Flower Buds

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Categories: Orchid Care, Temperature

Things have been so hectic around here lately (family friends came to Florida for a visit) that I’ve gotten a bit behind in answering my orchid care emails.

So, rather than respond to everyone individually, I figured I could respond to emails right here on the blog.

Today’s Orchid Care and Maintenance Question is from Sheila in upstate New York.

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Question: My orchid flower buds shrivel and fall off my orchids before they open?  Why?

Orchid, Orchids, Bud Blast

Answer:

Great question Sheila!  Healthy orchid plants that have buds fall off the stem before they have a chance to open are suffering from “bud blast”.  This can be caused due to rapid changes in environment and even air pollutants such as smoke, paint thinner or aerosol sprays and ethylene gas that is released from ripening fruit.

Are you moving your orchid around the house daily?  Is there a cold or hot draft that might be affecting it?  Or is it sitting on the kitchen table near your fruit bowl?

You can read a bit more about how temperature changes affect orchids in my earlier post: Orchid Flowers and Bud Blast.

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Have an orchid related question you’d like me to answer?  Send me an email!  Check out the Contact Carol tab above for more info.

Don’t forget to sign up for Free Orchid Care Tips with my pal Ryan.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

Orchid Care, Orchids, Orchids Care, Growing Orchids, Orchid Care and Maintenance

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Orchids: Beautiful Cymbidium Orchids!

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Categories: Cymbidium Orchid

If you love cymbidum orchids, you’ll love the new Flickr Group I’ve recently discovered: Cymbidium Orchids Only

You can upload pictures of your cymbidium beauties at this link here: http://bit.ly/aMJQxH

Cymbidium Orchid, Orchid Care, orchids

Cym. Pontac ' Trinity '

Cymbdium Orchid, Orchid Care, Orchids, How to grow orchids

Cym. Apple Crisp

Cymbidium Orchid, How to take care of orchids, orchids and growing or planting

Cym. Misty Green

Cymbidium, Orchid Care and Maintenance, How to Look after Orchids

Cym. Everett Stockstill ' Sheilajo '

Want to keep your cymbidium orchids happy and healthy?  Don’t forget to sign up for Ryan’s Free Orchid Care newsletter HERE.  He  includes Orchid Care Cheat Sheets with every book order!

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :-)
The Orchid Care Lady

+ Courtesy of Vinegar Tips

Orchid Care, Orchids, Orchids Care, Growing Orchids, Orchid Care and Maintenance

+ Beautiful Cymbidium Orchid photos courtesy of Flickr User azn_linsie_hu

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Orchid Care : Diseases – Crown Rot

In today’s orchid care post, I’ll be sharing a few tips on how to care for orchids with crown rot.  You may have seen plants at your local grocery store suffering from crown rot (I see it all too often) or perhaps you’ve had to treat an orchid with crown rot in your own home.  Treating crown rot can be extremely difficult, but the more we know about it, the better we can treat, even prevent it!

Orchids are susceptible to various types of rot including leaf rot, root rot and crown rot.  Monopodial orchids (Phalaenopsis and Vandas) are most suseptible to crown rot—a fungal infection that is caused by water pooling in the center (or crown) of the plant.

Crown rot can cause immense damage to an orchid and must be treated immediately.  One solution  is to use hydrogen peroxide (3%).  You can treat the crown rot with full strength hydrogen peroxide, repeating every 2-3 days until the rot no longer fizzes and bubbles with the hydrogen peroxide application.  Sprinkling cinnamon from your kitchen cabinets can also be used to treat the fungus.

Of course, prevention is the best medicine, even when it comes to orchids.  Crown rot is 100% preventable.  Water your orchids early in the day, so that the plant has time to dry off before night time and provide your plants with proper air circulation.  Most importantly, always take the time to inspect the crown of your orchids regularly.  Take a tissue and soak up any water that has pooled in the crown.

(If you do decide to remove severely damaged orchid leaves, make sure you sterilize the blade for each cut.)

Want to receive more tips on caring for orchids?  Sign up for Ryan’s Free Orchid Care Email Tips–you’ll learn everything you need to know straight from the expert!

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :-)
The Orchid Care Lady

Orchid Care, Orchids, Orchids Care, Growing Orchids, Orchid Care and Maintenance

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Orchid Care Tips: Non-Toxic Insecticide

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Categories: Gardening, Orchid Care, Pests and Diseases

To spray your orchid plants to deter insects – in place of more toxic chemicals.

4 cups canola oil or vegetable oil
7 table spoon eucalyptus oil
2 cups water
2 teaspoon dish soap

Mix together & shake well. To use add 3 tablespoon of mixture to 4 cups of water and spray.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

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25 Clever Uses for Vinegar in the Garden

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Categories: Gardening

Bill and I are really making a conscious effort to change the way things operate in our household.   I’ve already phased out all of our previous household cleaners with natural cleaning solutions and I’ve been so pleased with the results I thought I’d continue the work outdoors.

We are in the process of transitioning the garden into a more environmentally friendly place–finding options for natural pesticides and fertilizers (that really work).

It may come as a surprise, but we’ve actually saved money transitioning our home and garden into greener spaces.   Natural and environmental friendly does not necessarily  mean more expensive!

One of my absolute favorite natural secrets is vinegar.  It is super cheap, widely available and has so many great uses around the house and garden!

White distilled vinegar provides many safe and natural ways to protect and enhance your garden and gardening tools. Not only will you feel good about keeping children and pets (and you!) away from pesticides and other chemicals, you’ll feel great about the low cost of vinegar compared to those other products.

25 Clever Uses for Vinegar in the Garden

1. Kill weeds and grass growing in unwanted places by pouring full-strength white distilled vinegar on them. This works especially well in crevices and cracks of walkways and driveways.

2. Give acid-loving plants like azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangeas and gardenias a little help by watering them with a white distilled vinegar solution now and again. A cup of white distilled vinegar to a gallon of tap water is a good mixture.

3. Stop ants from congregating by pouring white distilled vinegar on the area.

4. Discourage cats from getting into the kids’ sandbox with white distilled vinegar.

5. Preserve cut flowers and liven droopy ones by adding 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar and 1 teaspoon sugar to a quart of water in a vase.

6. Get rid of the water line in a flower vase by filling it with a solution of half water and half white distilled vinegar, or by soaking a paper towel in white distilled vinegar and stuffing it into the vase so that it is in contact with the water line.

7. Clean out stains and white mineral crusts in clay, glazed and plastic pots by soaking them for an hour or longer in a sink filled with a solution of half water and half white distilled vinegar.

8. Remove crusty rim deposits on house planters or attached saucers by soaking them for several hours in an inch of full-strength white distilled vinegar.

9. Clean a birdbath by scrubbing it often with undiluted white distilled vinegar. Rinse well.

10. Get rid of rust on spigots, tools, screws or bolts by soaking the items overnight or for several days in undiluted white distilled vinegar.

11. Neutralize garden lime by adding white distilled vinegar to the area.

12. Avoid skin problems after working in the garden by rinsing your hands in white distilled vinegar.

13. Increase the acidity of soil by adding white distilled vinegar to your watering can.

14. Eliminate anthills by pouring in white distilled vinegar.

15. Cure a cement pond before adding fish and plants by adding one gallon of white distilled vinegar to every 200 gallons of water. Let sit three days. Empty and rinse thoroughly.

16. Sanitize outdoor furniture and picnic tables with a cloth soaked in white distilled vinegar.

17. Kill slugs by spraying them with a mixture of 1 part water and 1 part white distilled vinegar.

18. To catch moths use a mixture of 2 parts white distilled vinegar and 1 part molasses. Place mixture in tin can and hang in a tree.

19. Keep rabbits from eating your plants. Put cotton balls soaked in white distilled vinegar in a 35mm film container. Poke a hole in the top and place in the garden.

20. Remove berry stains on your hands by rubbing them with white distilled vinegar.

21. Clean plastic patio furniture with a solution of 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar to 1 gallon of water.

22. Wash fresh vegetables with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar in 1 ½ quarts of water.

23. When cleaning an outdoor fountain, soak the pump in white distilled vinegar to remove any mineral deposits.

24. Clean a hummingbird feeder with white distilled vinegar—soap or detergent can leave behind harmful residue.

25. Remove mold from terra cotta pots by soaking in a solution of 1 cup white distilled vinegar, 1 cup chlorine bleach, and 1 gallon of warm water before scrubbing with a steel wool pad.

* Traditional white distilled vinegar found at your local supermarket is 5% acidic.  You can purchase a stronger 20% acidic vinegar (great for killing weeds) at a local nursery, farm supply company, or wherever organic gardening supplies are sold.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :-)
The Orchid Care Lady

+ Courtesy of Vinegar Tips

Orchid Care, Orchids, Orchids Care, Growing Orchids, Orchid Care and Maintenance

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