Cultural Notes: Oct-Nov-Dec

Cattleya, species and hybrids 

Including those plants formerly labelled Laelia, Slc, Blc, etc, with the exception of C. dowiana which is happier with a minimum of 10-12deg.

Water, Oct-Nov-Dec: With the rise in temperatures and active growth you will need to increase water frequency but still let the mix become dryish between waterings.

Fertiliser, Oct-Nov-Dec: Half-strength every second watering.

Light, Oct: 30% shade. Nov-Dec: 30-50% shade.

Temperature, Oct-Nov-Dec: Ambient day and night. 

Flowering: Depending on the variety these plants can bloom at various times of the year but the flowers in all cases develop in the same way – the spike/buds form within a ‘sheath’ on top of the most  recent growth. It can be a good idea to split this sheath at the top to allow the flower stem to emerge easily.

Other: For Mexican Laelias (eg anceps, gouldiana) 30% shade or less in Oct-Nov; 30% shade in Dec.

Cymbidium, species & hybrids

Water, Oct: As the weather warms up plants will need watering more often. Remember when you water it must go right through the pot to remove excess salts. Nov-Dec: Plants in warm airy
situations will probably require water twice a week. In December if the bark becomes dry (due to neglect) dunk the plant in a bucket of water for, say 3 hours. Growing area should always smell like the
bush – slightly humid.

Fertiliser, Oct-Nov-Dec: Half-strength every second watering.

Light, Oct: For flowering plants shade to 50%; for green flowers 70%. Nov: Shade where necessary for flowers but as the month rolls on remove shading to 30% as this is the time for initiation of next year’s flowers. Dec: Good light now is important for next year’s flowers. Plants need to be spaced if possible, leaf tip to leaf tip to maximise light to the plant.

Temperature, Oct-Nov: Ambient day and night. Dec: Ambient day; allow night temperatures to go as low as possible to assist initiation of next year’s flowers.

Flowering: October and November will see the finish of flowering. DO take note of light/shading for November and December with regard to next year’s flower production – this is the time when new flower stems (spikes) are initiated.

Other: Keep flower spikes staked and trained to give a pleasing natural arrangement – DON’T leave it until the flowers have opened and then stake/train as the result does not look natural and pleasing to the eye.

Dendrobium Australian types (eg kingianum, speciosum)

Water, Oct: Once a week and do not let plants totally dry out. Nov-Dec: Keep moist, do not let dry out.

Fertiliser, Oct: Withhold fertiliser to encourage new growth. Nov: Apply weak fertiliser with every watering. Dec: Apply fertiliser as recommended.

Light, Oct: 30% shade. Nov: Reduce shading. Dec: Plants may be positioned outside with good light and air movement.

Temperature, Oct-Nov-Dec: Ambient day and night.

Flowering, Oct: Many plants are flowering now. Nov: If not flowering now is the time to re-pot.

Dendrobium cool-intermediate types (eg densiflorum, thrysiflorum)

Water, Oct-Nov-Dec: New growth roots will be developing strongly so water frequently but don’t keep continually wet.

Fertiliser, Oct-Nov-Dec: Feed every second watering with half-strength balanced fertiliser.

Light, Oct-Nov-Dec: Good light (30%-50% shade) over this period gives a stronger, more hardy plant and should increase flower production.

Temperature, Oct-Nov-Dec: Ambient day and night.

Flowering: Flower stems are well developed and some may already be in bloom. You can have blooms through to early December.

Dendrobium cool-intermediate types not needing a dry winter rest (eg latouria, cuthberstonii)

Water, Oct-Nov-Dec: Now the days and nights have warmed up you can increase the water, especially on plants with developing growths and roots.

Fertiliser, Oct-Nov-Dec: With warmer weather growths will be developing strongly so half-strength balanced fertiliser every second watering will be appreciated.

Light, Oct-Nov-Dec: Good light, not too shady (30-50% shade). On a sunny day your hand should cast a fuzzy-edged, but definite, shadow.

Temperature, Oct-Nov-Dec: Ambient day and night.

Flowering: Flowering for this group is not strictly seasonal and blooms can be produced throughout the year from older, mature canes/stems. However, often more flowers are produced over this warmer period.

Dendrobium Dockrillia types (eg linguiformis, teretifolium)

Water, Oct-Nov-Dec: With the onset of summer and especially in dry areas your watering should be stepped up to every second or third day and in very hot and dry conditions, every day.

Fertiliser, Oct-Nov-Dec: Half-strength balanced fertiliser every second watering.

Light, Oct-Nov-Dec: Bright light but with 30% shade in strong ‘middle-of-the-day’ summer sun. Bright light short of burning the plant enhances flowering.

Temperature, Oct-Nov-Dec: Ambient day and night.

Flowering: Typically spring to summer flowering – flower stems arise from a little below the base of the leaf.

Dendrobium soft cane & nobile types

Water, Oct-Nov-Dec: New growth roots will be developing strongly so water frequently but don’t keep continually wet.

Fertiliser, Oct-Nov-Dec: Feed every second watering with half-strength balanced fertiliser.

Light, Oct30% shade. Nov-Dec: 30-50% shade.

Temperature, Oct-Nov-Dec: Ambient day and night.

Masdevallia

Water, Oct-Nov-Dec: With rising temperatures keep the plants well watered and mist over the leaves several times a day (if you have the time) as this will keep the plants cooler and happier.

Fertiliser, Oct-Nov-Dec: Quarter to half-strength balanced fertiliser every second or third watering.

Light, Oct-Nov-Dec: As the sun gets stronger increase shading to 50% or more to help keep day temperatures down.

Temperature, Oct-Nov-Dec:  Ambient daytime, but try to keep to about 25C or below; ambient at night.

Flowering: This is a good time for flowers from many varieties. Flower stems arise from the base of the leaf and with good culture quite a number of flowers can be produced either together or over a period of time.

Miltonia species & hybrids

Water, Oct-Nov: Increase watering as temperatures rise, but ensure the mix stays damp but not wet. If in doubt, don’t. Dec: Temperatures will be rising now so increase water but don’t allow the mix to become overly wet.

Fertiliser, Oct-Nov-Dec: Half-strength balanced NPK every second or third watering. 

Light, Oct-Nov-Dec: 30% shade or less.

Temperature, Oct-Nov-Dec: Ambient daytime; 10C or higher at night.

Other: Repotting should be under way. Repot from when the new growth is 5cm tall but before the new bulb forms. Plants not in the right stage of growth by December should be repotted in the autumn unless under stress. Try to repot annually.

Miltoniopsis (pansy orchid)

Water, Oct: Water often enough to ensure that the mix stays damp but not wet. Nov: Increase watering as the temperatures rise but still ensure the mix stays damp but not wet. Dec: You may need to
increase water with higher temperatures but don’t keep the pot continually wet.

Fertiliser, Oct-Nov-Dec: Half-strength balanced NPK every second or third watering.

Light, Oct-Nov-Dec: 50% shade.

Temperature, Oct-Nov-Dec: Ambient daytime; 10C or higher at night.

Flowering: Typically flowering is mostly late September to late November. Usually no staking is necessary.

Other: Repot when the plant has finished flowering and new growth(s) is 5cm or so tall, and when the new roots are just developing. Try to repot annually.

Odontoglossum (crispum types)

Water, Oct-Nov: Increase watering as temperatures rise, but ensure the mix stays damp but not wet. If in doubt, don’t. Dec: Temperatures will be rising now so increase water but don’t allow the mix to become overly wet.

Fertiliser, Oct-Nov-Dec: Half-strength balanced NPK every second or third watering. 

Light, Oct-Nov-Dec: 50% shade.

Temperature, Oct-Nov-Dec: Ambient daytime; 10C or higher at night.

Flowering: These plants do not have a strictly seasonal blooming time as where they originate (near the Equator), however, late winter to early summer is a good time to expect flowers.

Other: Repot from when the new growth is 5 cm tall but before the new bulb forms. Plants not in the right stage of growth by December should be repotted in the autumn unless under stress. Try to repot annually.

Oncidium, dancing ladies types

Water, Oct: Water sparingly and allow the mix to become rather dryish before watering again. Nov-Dec: With summer temperatures and well-developed new growths, increase water but still let the mix
become a little dryish between waterings.

Fertiliser, Oct-Nov-Dec: Half-strength balanced fertiliser every second or third watering. 

Light, Oct: 30% shade. Nov-Dec: 30-50% shade.

Temperature, Oct-Nov-Dec: Ambient day and night.

Paphiopedilum (slipper orchid)

Water, Oct-Nov-Dec: Increase watering as required, keeping the mix more moist (not wet). When in doubt, do water.

Fertiliser, Oct-Nov-Dec: Half-strength balanced NPK.

Light, Oct-Nov: Increase shade up to about 60%. Dec: Shade can be increased further to control day temperatures (up to 80%).

Temperature, Oct: Daytime 25C; night 12C. Nov: Daytime 25C; night 13C. Dec: Daytime 25C; night 15C.

Flowering: When a bud is showing in the center of the plant try not to have water sitting there as this can cause the bud to rot off. When staking the flowers let the flower open and ‘set’ before bringing the stem to a fully erect position – this way the flowers will look up at you and stay that way.

Phalaenopsis (moth orchid)

Water, Oct-Nov-Dec: Often enough to keep the potting mix moist (not wet!) but allow the top layer to become dry looking before watering again. 

Fertiliser, Oct-Nov-Dec: Feed regularly, maybe every second watering, with half- to three-quarter-strength liquid fertiliser.

Light, Oct: 30-50% shade. Nov-Dec: 50% shade.

Temperature, Oct-Nov: 20-25C during the day; about 15C at night. Dec: 20-25C during the day; 15C at night.

Flowering: Keep developing spikes staked and trained.

Sarcochilus

Water, Oct-Nov-Dec: Growth will be quite active now so water frequently but do allow a little dry-off between waterings.

Fertiliser, Oct-Nov-Dec: Half-strength balanced fertiliser every second watering.

Light, Oct-Nov-Dec: 

Temperature, Oct-Nov-Dec: Ambient day and night.

Flowering: Mid-October through November is the peak flowering time for this group.