Monthly Orchid Care - July

To Do Now:

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. Remember to check on your plants and water as necessary.

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, Cork, Sponge Rock, and New Zealand Sphagnum. This mix brings with it the best of both worlds, the moisture of sphagnum and the chunky nature of bark. Bark, from the New Zealand Monterey Pine, is a long-lasting alternative to ordinary fir bark. Blended together with cork and long fibered New Zealand Sphagnum, this mix is perfect for moisture loving orchids. Our Phalaenopsis Monterey Dark Imperial Orchid Mix is an example of a high quality, well rounded mix for any Phalaenopsis.

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

Looking Ahead:

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. A combination of Mosquito Dunks and GET OFF ME! is 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 Back:

1. Native orchids abound and there are hardy varieties suitable for the garden in many areas. We are eagerly awaiting the bloom on our spiking Bletia Striata which grows in the garden next to the Lily bulbs.

2. In June we are at the height of active growth for most orchids, today's new leaf or pseudobulb is tomorrow's new bloom spike. Protect new growth and old from bacterial infection with Physan 20.

3. We have an abundance of Phalaenopsis in bloom right now. Those that are not in bloom were just repotted in our Phalaenopsis AAA Gold Imperial Orchid Mix. We like to get all of our Phals repotted in the Spring and early Summer as they go out of bloom. We're expecting a busy repotting season for the rest of our Phals shortly!

4. It is wonderful to see the Catasetum, Cynoches and Mormodes growing huge new green leaves after their leafless dry winter rest. It is amazing to see these orchids wake up like clockwork with new roots and growth each spring.

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