Thursday, January 20, 2011

My orchids: Dendrobium and Phalaenopsis

Phalaenopsis Moth Pink OrchidsImage via WikipediaI have finally settled for 2 orchids: dendrobium and phalaenopsis.

Dendrobium, I would call it freely this way, is like the 'grass' in the orchid genera: hardy, easy to grow, and almost always flowering. That doesn't say it cannot die. But it is to say that if you are a beginner trying your hand on orchids, dendrobium should be a good choice.

I'm not a beginner when it comes to orchids, having taken care of many plants and trees before, for leaves and fruits, and also orchids. I actually don't find the vanda that I had before back in the Philippines. Just fortunate that I had a picture of it when it bloomed with at least 5 flowers.

And I don't have ample space now so I settled with a dendro and a phal. Actually my dear wife already cautioned me not to be over indulging on these lovely creation. Not that she doesn't like them. She just knows how I can get lost in it, especially the financial side. Of course, that would upset so many things in the family. Doesn't that prove again that our best half are our greatest blessing?

She did say that each month, get one. A plant for its leaf. Another for its scent. The next month, for its flowers, and so on. If that is not wisdom in order, what would you call it?

Enough of being philosophical!

I picked a very simple dendrobium so I don't have to be so meticulous (once again) with my plants. I already have pots lining up our balcony side and at the entrance side: cyclamen, begonia, mosaic, palm, hibiscus, corn plant, poor man's orchid, ferns, flaming katy, euphorbia, and some spices: short chili, long chili and capsicum. There is also the pineapple - too bad for this one - some kids at our block like this very much, and go on to picking out the growing leaves at the center when we're not around! Last night I just planted some seeds of balsam plants, for the flowers. And this is not the first time that I attempt to grow from seeds. Some grew, some didn't. Mind you the chilis and capsicums are grown from seeds, and they're quite cooperative somehow, a shoot, a green stem, and now a couple of leaves, with each day trying to show off by enlarging those leaves while extending the stems up.

And the phalaenopsis I picked, again, is not a complex one. I'm not that expert when it comes to phalaenopsis, but as far as I have read from many articles over the web, both the dendro and the phal are moisture-loving plants. I did come across one article that hit the point right at home. How can you remember just how much watering should you be doing for this and that orchid, aside from all the other intricacies required by each and every kind of an orchid, even though they belong to the same kind, different only by some characteristic due to its hybridization? Then I read that pseudobulbs are for storing water, just like a camel's humps. And so it goes this way: an orchids having pseudobulbs can store water, and therefore - should not be water as much as one that doesn't sport pseudobulbs! Dendros and Phals don't have pseudobulbs, so you should water them more. They like moisture. Their natural habitat in the rainforests (and jungles; I should say, 'the wild') are usually wet with rain and moist afterwards, be it the sun evaporating the water, or the moon cooling the air. But don't water the flower! That is killing the flowers that you've waiter for so long to come. Did you ever hear of the story of the fireman team that saved an old lady's cat from her burning apartment, and she threw a tea party, wherein when they're done and leaving, they run over the it? The cat, not the old lady! It's like that. You do everything conceivable just to make the plants flower, and when the flowers are coming, you nip them at the bud. So don't do that by watering the flowers. It's simple as this. You water the plant to make it flower. You don't expect the flower to flower by watering them, do you?

So I'm down with a dendrobium and a phalaenopsis. I should say, I'm starting with a dendrobium and a phalaenopsis. Hopefully the balsams give me the expected flowers (if they ever grow). My wife is already suggesting that I repot the begonias and cyclamens - they seem to be growing bigger that they will overgrow their current pot size. I'm hesitating because they are at their flowering peak. I'll wait and see. I hope to make good with my present collection, and make good at future additions.

Tilll then. Enjoy!

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