The Down Under Way...
These plants have a tropical hybrid in their genetic background, most commonly Dendrobium bigibbum, a species used to produce spectacular cut flowers. D. bigibbum lasts much longer than cooler growing Australian Dendrobium species and the flower count is also much higher! While most other Dendrobium hybrids flower in spring, Tropicool’s flower any time between May and September, with a peak between late July and early August, some Tropicool’s will even flower more than once in the season!
The trick is to keep them slightly drier in the cool winter months. THE COLDER = THE DRIER.
Do not over pot your new Tropicool Seedling you should only be able to fit 2 – 3 fingers between the plant and the edge of the pot. Air movement is very important, so hang your most loved Tropicool’s if possible.
We recommend an open medium of 80% Medium treated pine bark and 20% course scoria.
Aussie Native Orchids
As with the Tropicool’s do NOT over pot or over water, however the lack of warmer growing species in their DNA allows them to withstand slightly lower temperatures in the cool months of winter. Make sure you always watch the plant bulbs, if they are starting to wrinkle – your orchid is thirsty! We recommend an open medium of 80% Medium treated pine bark and 20% course scoria.
Sarcochilus don’t have a pseudo bulb, so they have to be treated slightly differently, in the hot Summer months you can not let they dry out as they have no water reserves, other than their leaves. They love cool air and moisture around them constantly! In the cooler winter months cut the water back a little to avoid any root rot. We recommend an open medium of 75% Medium treated pine bark and 25% course scoria.
Avoid high Nitrogen fertiliser like ‘The Plague’; it leads to soft, fungi prone growth and few flowers. We use a high Potassium fertiliser with an N: P: K of 8:5:25, at a rate of one gram per litre of water fortnightly, all year round. We compliment this by using Amino Grow, as a drench or foliar feed, this helps the uptake of Potassium (k) whilst also maintaining a high level of sugars. To get optimum results we use Micro-fine lime (F70 Superfine limestone) at the rate of one gram per litre, we do this in early autumn and again at the beginning of spring.
We recommend starting with a good quality treated Kiwi Pine Bark and then depending on the genus adding a small percentage of scoria. A mixture of chopped sphagnum moss and perlite may also be useful in growing particular genera’s or back cuts, make sure you watch your watering with this potting medium.
Always use dry pine bark and ensure you sieve the fines from the chunks of the bark. We recommend that you use Port Pots – Squat Pots, as they are the most cost effective way to re-pot your collection and provide a high level of all-important drainage. After re-potting we sprinkle a 50/50 mix of lime and Blood and Bone around the edge of the pot to encourage new roots and boost the calcium levels for strong new growth! Once this is applied totally drench your plant to push the mix down to the roots and also flush out any missed fines. Do NOT let your newly potted plant dry out over the coming week and do not shove it in a dark corner as a constant supply of sunshine is an essential ingredient in maintaining a good healthy growing and flowering environment.
If you are mounting an orchid be sure to use quality cork, red cedar or hard tree fern, these products we last well in the weather. Ensure you attach the orchid securely to the mount with some clear fishing line or old stockings.
Add a little water to the Flask if the agar is slightly hardened, swish around and your new seedlings should slide out. Rinse the seedlings in water and be sure to remove the entire agar mixture from the roots. Then place them in a solution of ENVY and soak for 15-20 minutes, lay them on some damp newspaper for a few moments then pot your new seedlings up. Do NOT let these new seedlings dry out, keep them protected from extreme weather and if any signs of fungi appear use a quality fungicide at a low rate. Avoid large community pots as a fungal infections may wipe the entire pot out.
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