Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Winter Houseplants

Well it's Christmas, but I don't think my plants know the difference. This cactus is still sporting it's odd "tentacles", unchanged for months. I still don't know what they're about.

The air plants are doing pretty well...

...a couple brown tips, but still alive....

...the best looking one is in here, blooming three times since I got it.

This plant is doing very well since its' rough beginning with just one puny root on the start I was given. I hope it gets big like the plant it came from, it's such an attractive foliage specimen. I don't know exactly what it's called, I'll research it and update when I can.

The christmas cacti have been growing well, but blooming is another story. This white has a fading bloom and more buds...

 ...and the red has buds too. The third plant had no flower buds at all....

...and the buds just dried up and fell off of the red with no blooms opening. I'm not sure if the problem was over or under watering on my part or what, but I need to figure it out so I can enjoy the blooms next year. Flowers this time of year are real mood-improvers for me.

                                 At least the plants are growing well, blooms or no blooms.

This little hunk of ZZ plant is still green too, I'm hoping to pot it up by itself after I see some growth.

 My group of carnivorous plants are mostly happy, although two of the nepenthes are kind of sad-looking. Time for a change.... I put them in this little greenhouse to try and maintain more humidity. I hope it helps!

Lid on for now, I'll set it a tad sideways later so gnats can come in and feed them.

Lots of wandering from my passionflower vine but no blooms. The plant may not be mature enough to bloom yet (just as likely the season is off, too). The greenery is good to see, anyhow.

Houseplants sure make the winter brighter while I daydream of summer flowers and tasty veggies.
Just a couple more months and the seed catalogs will start arriving...not soon enough for me!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holiday Orchid News

It may be cold outside, but my orchids are quite happy indoors. I've been running the humidifier every night while I sleep, adding the moisture they love (doesn't hurt my breathing, either.) My Phalaenopsis Happy Girl is getting ready to bloom for the third time since I bought her in 2012.
The most recent bloom scape has dried bits that need to be trimmed...

...there! Much better, although most care pages say to cut off the entire scape back to the plant base. Then again, many say that the plant may rebloom or produce a new plant from the old scape, so I'm leaving the green parts to see if anything happens. Nothing has changed on the original scape from 2012 which is still green too, but I'm patient/lazy/scared to remove it so we'll see. If nothing happens in the next few months, I may cut off the first scape at least. Maybe.

I mean, the old scapes sure don't keep mother plant from re-blooming so what the hey. Her roots are starting to look crowded too, but repotting kinda scares me when she seems so happy. I'm really inclined to leave well enough alone, but I may feel more brave in the spring.


New vanilla orchid project! The last duo got way too dry and died off, so I have a new plan...

...mount them in their pots! Eventually these orchids can become fully epiphytic and not need their roots/pots anymore, but not if they can't survive that long. The tree fern poles are just too airy and dry to mount the orchids in the usual way, so this is my solution.

I mounted this one first, and used a lot of wire that made the pot wonky...

...and I used a loose loop of wire to support the vine up higher (until it grabs on with its' own air roots eventually).

When I mounted the green one, my technique improved...

....less wire for a more efficient pot mounting...

...and I realized that I only needed a small bit of wire poked into the pole for support up high.

There! What a cute couple!

Maxillaria Tenuifolia here looks as though too much root is exposed on the right there...

...making it hang rather loosely off the front of the driftwood.

So I added some more moss, wrapped it with fishing line, and anchored the line with one loop of copper wire.

Looks happier already.

I had to move my brassavola nodosa orchid to make room for the vanillas, so now this is an all orchid corner. I'm really happy that I'm getting better at keeping orchids alive to the point that I almost have too many. That's a subjective measurement anyhow, although I can say that I definately have enough orchids. For now.

The staghorn fern is looking nice, once I got the hang of soaking the box once a week or so. I nearly dried it completely out initially, I'm glad it didn't succumb to my learning curve.

The small orchids are doing fine too, though no bloom scapes so far. Of course only the tolumnia 'Tequila Sunrise' is a mature blooming specimen, but I'd love to see it bloom again (it was in spike when I bought it in 2012.) Still alive is good enough for me at this point, and the cattleyas are growing too so hooray.

I won't go so far as to call myself an orchid grower, but I'm slap happy to have evolved away from being an orchid murderer. Merry Christmas to me!   *~<]:-)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

First Snow

It's that time-first snow of the year. Amazingly my outdoor annuals and veggies are uninterested and still growing along, unphazed.
My 'Happy Girl' orchid is done blooming...

...but not all of the bloom scape has turned brown. Unfortunately the "budlets" that I'd hoped could become blooms shriveled away.

The previous bloom scape on the left is still green, but not producing an off-shoot or new bloom scape as I'd read it might. I'll leave it alone while it stays green though, along with the green parts of the second scape. After all, everything an orchid does is in slow motion anyway so I'll just wait and see what happens.

                               Meanwhile, I'll trim off the brown shrively parts so it looks nicer.

Because another bloom scape is beginning to emerge!

My passionflower vine is growing well and rambling around the room, but no sign of blooms so far.

The vanilla orchid experiment isn't going so well, the green leaf has just a small segment still alive. I'm hoping it may survive as an epiphyte, so I mist it daily and run the humidifier...

...unfortunately it's too late for the variegated specimen. Not to be deterred, I've already ordered another set. I wants me some vanilla orchids, dammit!

Two of my three Christmas cacti are budding....

...and the rest of the orchids are doing fine. These two mounts are getting a drink, looking pretty happy and showing good growth.

This trio of small specimens are looking good, too. I've been so happy with most of my mounted orchids that I may take these in that direction as well, but for now they look good so I'll leave them be.

And these two on the other side of the room are doing pretty well too. They aren't as close to the humidifier though, and I may relocate them soon. I have to consider light intensities and preferences of the plants I swap with, so I'll think on it for awhile.

The staghorn fern is a newcomer, so I'm not sure if it looks happy or not. Since it's not dead, I call this a victory for now.

Going into the winter months I won't be adding to the collection after the new vanillas arrive. What I may do is pickup a different gardening project fom my friends at Field and Forest Products, maybe a fun "TeePee" mushroom growing kit to amuse myself until spring. Gotta feed that gardening jones!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Brassavola nodosa Orchid Remount

I've decided to re-mount my "Lady of the Night" orchid (Brassavola nodosa), so I gathered some supplies to get the job done...
...using a wire coat hanger, I made a hook to hang this huge cork slab mount I bought. Lots of room to spread out for sure!

I decided to fix the orchid to the new slab using its' old hook....

...there! Bent it over to ancor it well, but I want it to be tad more securely attched so the roots can't get damaged by stray movements...

...see how it's not flush against the slab? That won't do... I chip away some cork so it can lie flat...

...then I grabbed some copper wire to secure it well. I used fishing line with the last mount, but it was flimsy and hard to work with. Didn't notice this wire had anything to do with welding when I bought it, so I hope there aren't any chemicals on it that orchids don't like.

Secured the wire to the back first...

...then wrapped it round' and round', being careful not to smish or strangle any roots.

There! Mounted the mount to a bigger mount and it looks mighty nice if I do say so myself. The wire is  kinda bright now, but it will eventually patina darker and blend in nicely.

                            Hung it on the closet door near the humidifier to keep it happy...'s hoping it grows well and blooms (sure has plenty of space!  :)