Archive for the 'Problems' Category

How to Prepare Orchids for a Hurricane

Friday, August 30th, 2019

With Hurricane Dorian barrelling towards landfall, Motes Orchids in Florida offers helpful info about how to prepare orchids for a big storm. Their tips include: Keep orchids dry, then saturate them several hours before the storm. The water adds weight to the pots, which may keep them from blowing away. It also prepares plants in […]

10 Rarest Orchids in the World

Friday, July 26th, 2019

Meet the 10 rarest orchids in the world. Many are Lady Slippers, but there are also others, like the strange Australian Western Underground Orchid. Habitat destruction and over-harvesting of wild plants have been big problems, and now climate change is a growing threat. Since there are almost 30,000 orchid species, and many are highly endangered, […]

Orchid Post Mortem: Queen Victoria’s Dendrobium

Saturday, July 6th, 2019

Sadly, I lost this beautiful Dendrobium victoriae-reginae, or Queen Victoria’s Dendrobium, in a heat wave. I blogged about this plant a few years ago. Living outdoors, it’s been a tough orchid and a reliable bloomer, surviving numerous travails to flower again. But during a heat wave that went up to 95°F (35°C) over several days, […]

Why ‘Plant Blindness’ Matters

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

“Plant blindness” is a tendency not to notice plants. People are generally much better at noticing animals. With increased urbanization, and more time spent looking at screens, the problem has worsened. Most don’t appreciate how important plants are, and that weakens support for plant conservation. As orchids and other plants face extinction, protecting them is […]

Smoky Orchids

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

Bad wildfires have brought terribly smoky conditions to the San Francisco Bay Area for the past week. Of course, this is nothing compared to the suffering of those who have lost homes and loved ones in the fires, which are over 150 miles (241 km) away. However, it is causing bad air problems. Our daily […]

Diversity As Natural Pesticide

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Scientists have published a study in Nature that explains why plant diversity discourages insect pests. Damaging insects love monocultures, large areas planted with a single crop, because they conveniently concentrate nutrients in one place. Diverse plantings have less of what they like, so bugs need to work harder in search of food. As a result, […]

Water Orchids More During A Heatwave

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

Some readers may wonder why I’m posting a reminder about heatwaves at the start of autumn, but SF Bay Area locals understand. For us, the warmest months of the year are September and October. True to form, our cool, foggy weather gave way to warmer temps on schedule this year, and we’ve had a few […]

When You’ve Killed Your Weight in Orchids

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

There’s a saying that you become an orchid expert when you’ve killed your weight in orchids. Some people wince in horror when I repeat that, but orchid lovers usually just laugh and nod. Growing orchids means sometimes making mistakes and killing plants. I’ve grown them for over 25 years, and earned my expert status a […]

Orchid Post Mortem: Oncidium

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Orchid casualties are inevitable in any collection, even for experienced growers. My latest loss was this adorable mini Oncidium species, a victim of some devilish raccoons. I bought this plant many years ago, and always grew it outdoors. It’s been a stubborn species, and only bloomed for me twice. A couple weeks ago, I found […]

Water Conservation

Sunday, April 20th, 2014

With California struggling through another drought, water conservation is essential. For orchid growers, droughts can be a problem. Orchids need moisture, both for watering and for humidity. Even growers who enjoy abundant water should treat it as a precious resource. Some orchids need a lot of water. Lady Slippers and Masdevallias have heavy demands. Cattleyas […]