Monthly Orchid Care - August

To Do Now:

1. It's hot in August and some orchid genera are not happy with the heat, especially those like Masdevallias, Odontoglossums and many Paphiopedilum. We choose to bring in these plants to summer inside during the hot spells. Touching the leaves of orchids during the heat of the day can give a good indication of whether the temps are too much. The best defense is abundant air movement. Orchids can take more heat when the air is moving well around them than they can if the air is still. Abundant air movement also helps dry out tender crowns where water tends to accumulate and where rot can settle in.

2. Have you ever noticed little fruit flies around the house and gone looking for the overripe banana in the kitchen and there isn't one? Could they be coming from the orchid plants? The answer is "Yes" and these critters are called "Fungus Gnats". They like moisture and mix that is old and breaking down. These conditions help them to breed and multiply. The larvae also eat tender roots. We have Natural Fungus Gnat Control, the perfect solution for these troublesome creatures.

3. This is our last month for fertilizing at the higher summertime levels. Heat, water, light and food are all abundant in August. We recommend FEED ME! MSU Orchid Fertilizer for all year-round fertilizing.

Looking Ahead:

1. September is a time of changes, it marks the end of summer growth season and we begin to look forward to the fall blooms. For those orchids that are sensitive to day length, we want to make sure they can notice the shortening days of fall and not be tricked by indoor lighting. If orchids are under supplemental lighting, changing the timer frequently to match the shortening days allows orchids to experience the shortening days.

2. Make sure you have plenty of FEED ME! MSU Orchid Fertilizer on hand. Although we won't continue feeding orchids at elevated summer levels beyond September, we will be feeding "weakly weekly" going forward.

3. In preparation for fall repotting, take a look at our Orchid Mixes. You're sure to find just the right mix for your environment. If you'd like to make your own orchid mix, you can choose the media you want and we'll make up a custom Select-A-Blend mix just for you.

Looking Back:

1. July is a time of active growth for most orchids and there are very few varieties that are in bloom now. Abundant light and fertilizer help ensure good growth. As the temperatures heat up, increasing air circulation can help orchids beat the heat.

2. Keeping orchids moist can be a challenge as temperatures heat up. The Hydro-Pump Mini and Pro Misters produce some of the finest water spray we've ever seen and do so with a minimum amount of effort.

3. Many Phalaenopsis start to lose their blooms in early summer, learn about which stems to cut, and which to keep, on our Phalaenopsis Orchid Care page. Repot Phals when they go out of bloom. We have several good choices for the perfect mix for your plant. Our Phalaenopsis AAA Gold Imperial Orchid Mix is a unique blend of Monterey Pine Bark, Hydro LECA, Sponge Rock, Cork and New Zealand Sphagnum. This mix brings with it the best of both worlds, the moisture of sphagnum and the chunky nature of bark. Orchiata bark, from the New Zealand Monterey Pine, is a long-lasting alternative to ordinary fir bark. Blended together with cork and long fiber New Zealand Sphagnum, this mix is perfect for moisture loving orchids. Our Phalaenopsis Monterey Dark Imperial Orchid Mix is great for larger orchids in bigger pots or in moist environments.

4. Mid-summer affords the opportunity to take some time to get organized. Our orchid label system uses colored labels to help keep an orchid collection organized.

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