Not too long ago, I attended the Ann Arbor Orchid Society meeting. It is a local orchid society here in SE Michigan. There are more, not only in the area, but the state.
You’ve heard me talk about plan societies before and how much I love them. I’be made some of my best friends in these groups and it is so nice to be around people who love plants as much as you do.
I wanted to share with you some of the information I learned at the meeting. This meeting as an orchid 101 meeting. Remember, these are things I heard at the orchid meeting. I am not an orchid expert and these are the opinions and experiences of the members of the society.
Orchid Society “Show and Tell”
Below are some of the orchids the members brought for “show and tell”. They were so beautiful and some were even fragrant.
Water and fertilizer
Orchid Society Watering tips
Kevin was the first member to share his information, and his subjects were water and fertilizer. One good thing for SE Michigan is that our water is great for plants. I’ve known that for a long time because I water all my plants with it. But, it was nice to hear it from someone else.
Kevin told us that water quality is key for our plants. If you have hard water it is okay to use it but it has high calcium and magnesium levels. Make sure you flush your orchid potting mix often with rain water or filtered water. This makes sure the minerals don’t damage the plant or its roots.
RO water or reverse osmosis water is also okay for orchids (my friend uses it) but it should also be flushed with distilled water often.
Kevin also uses a TDS (total dissolved salts) meter to make sure the salt levels aren’t too high. 100-200 ppm (parts per million) are okay for your orchids. It is good to fertilize, wait 30 minutes and then flush your potting medium.
Orchid society fertilizer tips
The MSU fertilizer, formulated at Michigan State University is a popular fertilizer for orchids. There are three different formulations, made for different types of water.
If you prefer organic fertilizer, Neptune’s Harvest Rose and Flowering fertilizer is great. Kevin uses it every week, using one capful per gallon of water. One time a month he uses Cal Mag (1/2 cup per gallon), epsom salts, and seaweed fertilizer. If he has orchids that are alkaline lovers, he uses garden lime. He also uses Superthrive in the spring when repotting his plants.
**I find I have not written down all the exact ammounts used, so I will find out and amend this post. Remember, NEVER use more than the label calls for.
Orchid society insecticide tips
The next person (I didn’t write down his name) talked about insects and how to control them.
The first line of defense is to use 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol. A soft toothbrush dipped in the alcohol works well to “scrub” off the scale or mealybug insects. Be gentle, not scrubbing too hard.
If alcohol doesn’t work, there are other products to use. Using chemicals on plants in your home is your choice to make. These are the recommendations presented to the group. Remember, these aren’t my recommendations. Always read and follow the label.
For mealybugs, Bifenthrin is a good product. Put it in a sprayer with a couple of drops of dish soap, as that will help it stick to the plant. Spray every couple of weeks until the mealybugs are gone.
For scale, especially on cattleya orchids, Orthene is used.
Merit is an insecticide which contains imidicloprid. This can be used for many insects, but read the label to make sure it works for your insect.
Thrips can be a problem, and a product called spinosad is a good insecticide for those.
Neem oil works well as an insecticide, miticide, and fungicide.
If you find you have holes eaten in your orchid leaves, it may be slugs. This would happen outside when your plants are out for the summer. Use a slug and snail killer.
AzaMax is a derivative of the neem tree. It works well on mites.
Somtimes, orchids can get diseases or fungus. The first line of defense is to sterilize your tools before and after using them on your plants by wiping them down with alcohol. Use a good fungicide if your plants do develop a problem.
Orchid Society Tips
Sometimes, orchids can get diseases or a fungus. The first line of defense is to sterilize your tools before and after using them by wiping them down with alcohol. Use a good fungicide if your plants do develop a problem.
Orchid Society Tips
The biggest takeaway I had was to make sure your plants are well taken care of. If watered well, in the right light, and fertilized, you will have healthy plants. If you don’t have healthy plants, insects and diseases can take hold more easily.
Remember, these are tips and tricks I observed at the meeting. I have not tried many of these products. By the looks of many of the members’ orchids, I will be following some of their directions.
Do you have orchids? Do you use any of these products? Tell me in the comments.
Next week, I will continue this with the potting medium and how to rebloom your phalaenopsis.
Have a great week, plant friends!
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