Orchids For Dummies - Steven A. Frowine - ebook

Orchids For Dummies ebook

Steven A. Frowine

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Packed with photos, including 8 pages in full color Color your world with orchids Orchids are beautiful, fragrant, wonderfully varied, and surprisingly affordable. But aren't they hard to grow at home? No! says orchid grower extraordinaire Steve Frowine. In this handy guide, he shows you step by step how to select the right orchids, keep them healthy, encourage blooms, and even propagate your own plants. Discover how to: * Select orchids that will thrive in your home * Water, fertilize, repot, and propagate orchids * Decipher complicated orchid names * Get familiar with favorite orchid varieties * Create spectacular orchid displays

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Orchids For Dummies®

by Steven A. Frowine and the National Gardening Association

Orchids For Dummies®

Published byWiley Publishing, Inc.111 River St.Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774www.wiley.com

Copyright © 2005 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana

Published simultaneously in Canada

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to the Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, 978-750-8400, fax 978-646-8600. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to the Permissions Department, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, (201)748-6011, fax (201)748-6008, or online at http://www.wiley.com/go/permissions.

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Library of Congress Control Number: 2004117701

ISBN: 978-0-7645-6759-9

Manufactured in the United States of America

10 9 8 7 6 5

1B/RQ/QS/QZ/IN

About the Authors

Steven A. Frowine first started growing orchids under lights when he was in high school. Since then, his love and sometimes obsession for orchids has continued to grow. He has tended orchids professionally as a horticulturist, when he worked in Hawaii at the National Tropical Botanical Garden and at Missouri Botanical Garden, where he was Chairman of Indoor Horticulture and managed one of the largest orchid collections in the United States — over 10,000 plants. Steve’s greatest pleasure from orchids, though, has been growing them in his own home under lights and in windowsills, which he has done now for over 40 years.

Steve has a B.S. and M.S. in horticulture from Ohio State University and Cornell, respectively. He has had a long and rich career working as a professional horticulturist for premier botanical gardens in the United States and as an executive at top horticultural businesses including W. Atlee Burpee Company, White Flower Farm, and International Gardening Products. Steve is sought out as a lecturer and has delivered hundreds of lectures throughout the country. His presentations are noted for his excellent photography, his knowledge of the subject, and his sense of humor. He has appeared on various national TV shows and writes extensively, authoring many articles for horticultural trade and consumer magazines. His second book, Fragrant Orchids, will be released in the fall of 2005.

Steve is now president of his own horticultural consulting firm, where he works with various horticultural companies on marketing and public-relations issues.

The National Gardening Association (NGA), founded in 1972, is a national not-for-profit leader in plant-based education. Its mission is to promote home, school, and community gardening as a means to renew and sustain the essential connection between people, plants, and the environment. For more information on the National Gardening Association, visit its Web site at www.garden.org.

Dedication

To my mother, Janet, and my late father, Samuel, who encouraged me to pursue in my life and work what I loved and believed in.

To my loving wife, Sascha, who shares my passions and tolerates my obsessions.

Author’s Acknowledgments

Many thanks are extended to Glen Decker, who served as the technical editor for this book. It is comforting to have someone with Glen’s extensive experience and knowledge pore over my manuscript and lend his constructive, helpful criticism, as well as make sure the information presented rings true. To my Project Editor, Elizabeth Kuball, who greatly helped to mold and shape this book to be the best it could be, and to Tracy Boggier, my Acquisitions Editor, who helped me pitch this book to the folks at Wiley, more thanks.

I am also appreciative to the National Gardening Association, which does admirable good works, and specifically to Larry Sommers and Charlie Nardozzi, of this organization, for giving me the opportunity to produce this book.

The American Orchid Society, The Orchid Digest, and the International Phalaenopsis Society deserve a round of applause for the world-class publications they produce and the information they disseminate to the legends of new and veteran orchid lovers. I have made frequent use of all of them for many years.

The orchid community of amateur and professional growers and orchid societies, who inform members and put on orchid shows, get accolades for their dedication and efforts. Many have been immensely helpful to me.

Lastly, I want to thank my wife, Sascha, for her patience in putting up with me pounding away at the keyboard for seemingly countless days, evenings, and weekends, and to my dogs, Ginger and Zoe, who always provided pleasant company and never complained (unless I didn’t feed them on time!).

Publisher’s Acknowledgments

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our Dummies online registration form located at www.dummies.com/register/.

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial, and Media Development

Project Editor: Elizabeth Kuball

Acquisitions Editor: Tracy Boggier

Technical Editor: Glen Decker

Editorial Manager: Michelle Hacker

Editorial Supervisor: Carmen Krikorian

Editorial Assistants: Courtney Allen, Nadine Bell

Cover Photos: © ChromaZone Images/ Index Stock Imagery/PictureQuest

Cartoons: Rich Tennant, www.the5thwave.com

Composition Services

Project Coordinator: Adrienne Martinez

Layout and Graphics: Karl Brandt, Andrea Dahl, Joyce Haughey, Stephanie D. Jumper, Barry Offringa, Jacque Roth, Heather Ryan, Brent Savage, Rashell Smith

Proofreaders: Laura Albert, Leeann Harney, Jessica Kramer, Aptara

Indexer: Aptara

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Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher, Consumer Dummies

Joyce Pepple, Acquisitions Director, Consumer Dummies

Kristin A. Cocks, Product Development Director, Consumer Dummies

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Publishing for Technology Dummies

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher, Dummies Technology/General User

Composition Services

Gerry Fahey, Vice President of Production Services

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services

Contents

Title

Introduction

About This Book

Conventions Used in This Book

Foolish Assumptions

How This Book Is Organized

Icons Used in This Book

Where to Go from Here

Part I : Welcoming Orchids into Your Life

Chapter 1: Getting the Lowdown on Orchids

Understanding What Makes an Orchid an Orchid

Knowing Where Orchids Come From

Seeing Why You Should Grow Orchids

Deciding Which Orchids to Bring into Your Home

Getting to Know Your Orchids by Name

Growing Orchids Easy As One, Two, Three

Chapter 2: Choosing the Right Orchid for You

Figuring Out Where to Shop

Considering Your Environment

Knowing What to Look for in an Orchid

Caring for Your New Orchid

Chapter 3: Having the Right Tools on Hand

Cutting and Pruning Tools

Potting Tools and Supplies

Watering Accessories

Humidifiers, Heaters, and Ventilation Equipment

Chapter 4: How I Love Thy Orchid: Enjoying the Orchid’s Beauty

Caring for Orchids in Their New Home

Staking and Grooming Your Blooming Orchids

Part II : The Basics of Orchid Parenthood

Chapter 5: Providing the Right Growing Environment

Let There Be Light!

Humidity: Orchids’ Favorite Condition

Fresh Air, Please!

Some Like It Hot, Some Like It Cold: Orchid Temperature Requirements

Giving Your Orchids a Summer Vacation

Chapter 6: Watering and Fertilizing Orchids

Water Water Everywhere: Understanding the Art of Watering Orchids

Proven Watering Techniques

Over- or Underwatering: Roots Tell the Story

Fertilizers: Not Magic Potions

Chapter 7: The ABCs of Potting Materials, Containers, and Repotting

Choosing Potting Materials

Giving Your Orchids a Home: Potting Containers

Repotting Orchids without Fear

Chapter 8: Two, Four, Six, Eight, Let Your Orchids Propagate: Multiplying Your Orchids

Dividing Your Orchids

Giving Babies a New Home

Producing New Plants from Cuttings

Growing Orchids from Back Bulbs

Chapter 9: Keeping Your Orchids Pest- and Disease-Free

Preventing Problems Before They Start

Besting the Bugs

Is There a Fungus Among Us?

Part III : The Best Orchids for Rookies

Chapter 10: Moth Orchids and Their Relatives: The Best Choice for Beginners

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: The Beauty of Moth Orchids

Oh, Give Me a Home . . . : Cultural Requirements

Relatives of Moth Orchids

Chapter 11: The Quintessential Orchids: Cattleyas and Their Relatives

From the Jungles to Your Home

The Queens of the Ball: Cattleya Hybrids

Minicatts

Chapter 12: Slipper Orchids

Slipping into a Lady’s Slipper

Straight from Nature: Bumps, Warts, Hairs, and All

One Step Removed from Nature: Primary Hybrids

Chapter 13: Dancing Ladies: Oncidiums and Their Relatives

Taking a Closer Look at the Ladies

Pansy Orchids: Miltonias and Miltoniopsis

Other Members of the Club: The Oncidium Alliance

Mixing It Up

Chapter 14: Significant Others

A Huge and Interesting Lot: Dendrobiums

Weird and Wonderful Relatives: Bulbophyllum

Orchid Miscellanea: All the Rest

Part IV : The Part of Tens

Chapter 15: The Ten (or So) Easiest Orchids to Grow

Twinkle Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis Twinkle)

Lady of the Night (Brassavola nodosa)

Maudiae Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Paphiopedilum Maudiae)

Cockleshell Orchid (Epidendrum cochleatum)

Sharry Baby Oncidium (Oncidium ‘Sharry Baby’)

Bird-Beak Orchid (Oncidium ornithorhynchum)

Mari’s Song (Laeliocattleya ‘Mari’s Song’)

Fan-Shape Orchid (Cochleanthes amazonica)

Pansy Orchid (Miltoniopsis santanei)

Chapter 16: The Ten Most Common Ways Orchids Are Killed

Overwatering

Underwatering

Too Much Light or Heat

Leaving Orchid Foliage Wet Overnight

Too Much Fertilizer

Improper Use of Pesticides

Insects

Purchase of Sick Plants

Poor Water Quality

Inadequate Ventilation

Chapter 17: The Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions about Orchids

Are Orchids Difficult to Grow?

Why Should I Grow Orchids?

Do I Need a Greenhouse to Grow Orchids?

Are Orchids Expensive?

How Long and How Often Will Orchids Bloom?

What Makes an Orchid an Orchid?

Are Orchids Fragrant?

Where Can I See the Best Collections of Orchids?

Are Any Orchids Hardy?

Are Orchids Parasites?

Chapter 18: The Ten Most Common Reasons Why Orchids Don’t Bloom

Not Enough Difference between Day and Night Temperatures

Too Moist during the Winter

Too Little Light

Excessively High or Low Temperatures

Not Using a Fertilizer or Using One with Too Much Nitrogen

Immature Plants

Too Low Humidity

Disease, Insects, or Mice

Not Enough Water

Recently Transplanted and Divided

Appendix: Resources

Plant Suppliers

Growing Supplies

Orchid Societies

: Color Insert

Introduction

Believe it or not, orchids — the most glamorous and spectacular flowering plants in the world, nature’s true masterpieces — are easy to grow! You just need to give them what they need. And their requirements are not difficult to meet — adequate light, humidity, water, and ventilation. Sure, there are other nuances, like fertilizing, repotting, insect and disease control, but none of these are daunting. I’ve been growing and blooming orchids in my home for almost 40 years — mostly not in a greenhouse, but under lights or on the windowsill.

Helping you achieve success with these glorious plants is my pleasurable mission. If you follow the steps I lay out in this book, you will grow orchids that thrive. Everything in this book comes from many years of my own trials and errors — not from theories about what should happen or what orchids might need. Sure, I’m a professional horticulturist, but probably more importantly, I’m a hands-on, sometimes fanatical, home orchid grower. I don’t share with you anything in this book that I haven’t tried myself or am sure that works.

Years ago, the methods of orchid culture were well-guarded secrets, hoarded by commercial growers and private estate gardeners. That’s not the case here. This is a tell-all book where all secrets are revealed. So you can now enter this wonderful world of orchids without fear, knowing that you’re armed with the information you need to be successful and enjoy one of the most rewarding and fascinating, lifelong hobbies that you’ll ever experience — growing orchids.

About This Book

This book gives you all you need to know to grow, appreciate, and bloom orchids in your home — in a concise, easy-to-read manner. This family of plants is so humongous that you may be overwhelmed by the prospect of choosing and growing one of your own, so I show you only the groups of orchids that are the easier ones to grow. I also make a point of adding lots of illustrations and photos (most of which were taken by me) to show you what I’m talking about.

I want you to feel comfortable with these dazzling plants and get to know them on a personal basis. Then you’ll be eager to discover all their mysteries by slowing down your busy life to savor orchids’ inimitable flowers, inhale their sensuous perfumes, and observe the unique construction of their roots and leaves.

Conventions Used in This Book

Orchid names are in Latin, which is a challenge for most people (except your high school Latin teacher) to pronounce and remember. Don’t worry about it. Just get into these names gradually. Take some solace in knowing everyone else is struggling with them, too!

With such a complex group of plants come names and jargon to match. This aspect of orchid growing is what scares most people off. Don’t let this happen to you! They’re just names and words that scientists have assigned to plants because they had to call them something. Think of orchid names as another language that you can figure out as you go along — with my help. In this book, I make the jargon as simple as possible and explain each term in a way that is easy to understand.

Foolish Assumptions

In writing this book, I’ve assumed a few things about you and your experience with orchids. At least one of the following applies to you:

You’ve seen orchid plants in bloom for sale in the garden section of your local home-improvement store or garden center and you’ve always wanted to give them a try.

You purchased your first orchid and are wondering, “Now what?!”

You saw orchids at a flower show and you wonder if you can grow these exquisite flowers in your home.

You’ve had some orchids for a few years, but they don’t seem to be doing well and you can’t get them to bloom again.

You’ve grown some other houseplants successfully and are now ready to move up to orchids.

How This Book Is Organized

This book is organized into parts, each of which contains several chapters.

Part I: Welcoming Orchids into Your Life

In this part, I show you how orchids are different from other plants, what makes them so appealing, and where they’re found in nature. You get tips on how to select the right orchid for you, which tools you need to grow them, and how you can fully enjoy their beauty in your home.

Chapter 1 tells you what makes an orchid an orchid, where they grow, where they’re found, and how they’re named. Chapter 2 helps you select the orchid that’s just right for you and tells you how to give it basic care for its first days in your home. Chapter 3 gives you a rundown of the tools you’ll need to be an amateur orchid grower. Chapter 4 helps you get the most out of displaying your orchid’s beauty in your home.

Part II: The Basics of Orchid Parenthood

This is the nitty-gritty on the basics of orchid care.

Chapter 5 gives you the information you need to provide your orchids with the growing environment that they need to thrive. Chapter 6 addresses the important topics of watering and fertilizing. Chapter 7 eliminates your fears of repotting by giving you the detailed information you need. Chapter 8 guides you through various methods of multiplying the orchids you have. Chapter 9 shows you simple and safe ways to keep your orchids healthy.

Part III: The Best Orchids for Rookies

Here I introduce you to the most popular and easiest orchid to grow. I’ve included plenty of pictures so you can see what they actually look like.

Chapter 10 deals with the easiest of all the orchids, the moth orchids. I also introduce you to some of its recommended relatives. Chapter 11 covers the colorful and favorite cattleyas and their relatives. Chapter 12 covers slipper orchids. These are among the easiest to grow with handsome foliage. They have one of the largest groups of ardent admirers. Chapter 13 is about the oncidium group, which is rapidly rising in its popularity because it’s easy to grow and because it produces many fantastically patterned flowers. Chapter 14 tells you about more orchid gems that are not quite as common but are worth the search to find.

Part IV: The Part of Tens

This wouldn’t be a For Dummies book without a Part of Tens. This is where you can turn when you’re short on time but still want a lot of useful information.

Chapter 15 helps you select the easiest orchids to start with. Chapter 16 tells you the ten most common ways orchids are killed and how to prevent these plights. Chapter 17 gives you answers to the ten most common questions asked about orchids and their culture. Chapter 18 informs you about the ten most common reasons that orchids don’t bloom.

Appendix

You may be fortunate enough to be close to an orchid grower or supplier, but if you aren’t, don’t despair — I list some excellent mail-order providers in this appendix. Some have paper catalogs and others offer their plants online.

Although more home centers and garden centers are carrying orchid supplies, you may have trouble finding some of these materials. For this reason, I include some resources that are dependable.

Orchid societies offer valuable services, from providing places to meet, talk about, and display orchids, to producing excellent publications and sources for information. In the appendix, I also list contacts for the key organizations. They’ll lead you, if you’re so inclined, to others.

Icons Used in This Book

I use the following icons throughout the book to point out particularly important information:

When you see this icon, you can be sure to find information that will make you a more successful orchid grower.

This icon points out some common pitfalls you want to steer clear of when growing orchids.

This icon highlights information worth remembering when you’re working with your orchids.

Take it or leave it. This icon points out information that may help you win your next game of Trivial Pursuit or convince you that you could be the next Jeopardy! champion, but it’s not essential to your understanding the topic at hand.

When you see this icon, you can be sure to find a particularly fragrant orchid.

Where to Go from Here

This book is set up in digestible, stand-alone pieces. Pick out sections that interest you most and read them first. You can bounce around in the book any way you please.

If you already have orchids but are having difficulties growing them, you may want to start out with Part IV. It gives you quick answers to common problems.

Trying to decide which orchid you should start with? Look at Chapters 2 and 15. To get jazzed about orchids, check out the section of color photographs. And if you have an orchid that is in dire need of repotting, skip right to Chapter 7.

Part I

Welcoming Orchids into Your Life

In this part . . .

Growing orchids could change your life — forever! It has for me and many people. No other plant family offers the number and diversity of breathtaking and intriguing flowers that orchids do. When you discover that you can actually grow these exotic plants in your home and that they aren’t expensive, your resistance will be lowered and your chances of catching the extremely contagious but wonderful obsession or addiction called the “Orchid Bug” are high.

In England and the rest of Europe in Victorian times, these fabulous plants used to be only for the eyes of royalty or well-heeled aristocrats because of the one-time astronomical prices that they commanded at flower auctions. They were grown in elaborate and costly glasshouses, usually by a staff of professional growers.

How times have changed! Orchids have entered the mainstream. They’re now the second most popular pot plant in the world and are gaining quickly on the leader (poinsettia)! Because of new techniques and modern growing methods, award-quality orchids are available to everyone at prices lower than ever before. You can buy an orchid plant in full bloom for less than you would pay for a bouquet of flowers from the florist.

In addition to the orchids of today being less expensive, they’re also much easier to grow. Most of them have been bred to be compact and easy to grow and flower in windowsills and under artificial lights. Some bloom more than once a year and others are fragrant. And with thousands of hybrids and new ones being produced all the time, there is an orchid that will strike anyone’s and everyone’s fancy.

Join me in this part as I introduce you to this marvelous plant family. I show you what makes an orchid an orchid, why you just have to give these exceptional plants a try, and help you make decisions about which orchids are best for you and your growing space. This is going to be a fun journey, so let’s begin!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!