Our thanks to Russell Hutton for allowing reproduction of his Cultural Notes first published in the NZ Internet Orchid Review (ed. Nick Miller). Please remember these notes are a guide only, as seasons change and temperatures vary considerably down the length and across the breadth of New Zealand.
Orchids grown on mounts or in baskets will need watering more often. A good rule of thumb is: If in doubt during the warmer months DO! If in doubt during the cooler months DON’T!
Regarding shade percentages, try this on a bright sunny day:
- 30% shade – if you hold your hand about 25cm above the plant and spread your fingers, that should give you a rather distinct shadow slightly fuzzy around the edge
- 50% shade – doing the same thing will give you a very indistinct shadow.
A balanced fertiliser is one where the N-P-K proportions are roughly equal, e.g. Miracle Gro, which has an NPK rating of 15-13-12.
- N = Nitrogen for general growth of leaves and stems
- P = Phosphorus which promotes root development
- K = Potassium (the ‘K’ comes from the Latin name Kalium for the element) which promotes flower production
Watch for pests – snails, slugs, aphids, mealybugs, scale, etc – throughout the year and deal to them as you see fit (spray; not spray). To help you choose an organic option in dealing with pests, the OCNZ is pleased to make freely available its popular Organic Sprays Handbook (click on the link to read). This booklet offers some practical solutions for dealing with pests throughout the garden.