To celebrate the arrival of fall, here are some garden beauties:

Swallowtail butterflyAnsellia flowersPaph flower

Autumn arrives in the Northern Hemisphere with a chill, shorter days, and some orchid chores. As temperatures drop, bring warm growers inside. Remove any dead leaves or weeds. Check for pests, especially those hiding on the undersides of leaves. I spray orchid plants and potting media with mild insecticidal soap or rubbing alcohol before bringing plants indoors. Many growers use Neem Oil or other insecticidal oils, which have the advantage of protecting leaves for several weeks.

If your Phals aren’t in bloom, cooler nighttime temps can initiate flower spikes. Cymbidiums also respond to cooler nights with new flower spikes. Most varieties won’t bloom if they’re kept too warm at this time of year.

Users of high nitrogen fertilizer, like 30-10-10, should switch to a low nitrogen formula, like 10-30-30. No matter what fertilizer you use, start to taper off with weaker solution or less frequent doses. Many orchids are heading into dormancy. Start to reduce watering for orchids with pseudobulbs, like Cattleyas, Cymbidiums, Dendrobiums, Epidendrums, Miltonias, Odontoglossums, Oncidiums, and Vandas. Good humidity is always necessary, especially to counteract the dry air of home and office heating.

If lower leaves turn yellow or drop, don’t panic. Some Dendrobium varieties will completely shed their leaves in the next couple months, but they’re just dormant, not dead. Continue to give them bright light and good humidity, and they’ll come back to life in the spring.

Explore posts in the same categories: Dormancy, Fertilizing, Growing, Photos, Watering

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6 Comments on “Equinox”

  1. Barrie Says:

    I love your photos!

  2. Bo Says:

    Nights are already getting cold here (in upstate NY) so my plants are inside already. Thanks for the the helpful tips with cleaning up the plants and readucing water for dormancy.

  3. Esteban Says:

    Awesome pics! thanks for the growing tips.

  4. Tiyur Says:

    this is #1

  5. nancy Says:

    Wow! I love that swallowtail pic. Great shot. Thanks.

  6. tenafowby Says:

    Thanks for your very nice post.