by Bill Dobson

Well summer has arrived on Australia Day in my bushhouse with temperatures 30-35 degrees. We had a beautiful storm the other day and this has helped push the new growths on almost all orchids.

My little experiments keep me excited with various genera and species hanging on the ‘Hills Hoist’ in my backyard in full sun. These include Laelia anceps, Cymbidium Australian Midnight, Cymbidium canaliculatum. Den speciosum var. Capricornicum, Den speciosum var. pedunculatum, and some high country orchids Den jonesii var. magnificum and Den falcorostrum. Some of these are growing in waterwell pots and they have become, like all my orchids outside the bushhouse used to the sunlight. The thing that I like is that after a time acclimatizing to the conditions they are now thriving.

The Den jonesii var. magnificum is a case in point when they first went out onto the clothesline march last year they didn’t like it and leaves dropped daily but gradually they grew stronger and less leaf drop and eventually I have many new growths and they look amazing.

I’ve watered daily or at least every second day at the moment depending on weather and if we have rain. Rain and warmth have brought out the bugs and I have been spraying every 2-3 weeks for the Dendrobium beetle which seem to come with the warmth. Other beasties to be aware of are aphids and some of these are so small that you may not realise they are there, So pick up you plants and look carefully at them. The example on page 7 of the Sarcochilus eriochilus with the aphid on the labellum this little bug was only 1mm long and showed as a brown spot that I hadn’t noticed until I looked at the photo. Use Neem and EcoOil or Pirimor® To get rid of them.

A few plants flowering Bulbophyllum lageniforme, Cadetia taylorii, Sarcochilus setosus. Continue fertilizing and regular watering to push the new growths along. Regular watering for mounted orchids now morning and night as they will dry out quickly in this weather until it changes later in February / March. Good growing

Bulbophyllum lageniforme     Commonly known as the smooth strand orchid, that is endemic to tropical North Queensland. It has flattened, pale green, grooved, clump-forming pseudobulbs, stiff, dark green leaves and up to four cream-coloured or pale green flowers with a pink labellum. It usually grows on shrubs, trees and rocks in highland rainforest. It occurs between the Mount Finnigan and the headwaters of the Tully River in Queensland. I’m growing this on cork mounts, laid flat until they establish then hung vertically under 2 layes of 50% shadecloth, watered twice daily in summer or as required due to wind.

From February Newsletter, Warringah ANOS Group