Monthly Orchid Care - September

To Do Now:

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. We want to make sure that orchids notice that winter is coming and not be tricked by indoor heating and lighting. For those orchids sensitive to temperature, such as Phalaenopsis, we like to allow them to feel the cooler Fall temps. For those orchids that are sensitive to day length, such as Cattleya, we want to make sure they can notice the shortening days of fall. If orchids are under supplemental lighting, we adjust the timer to match 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 Ahead:

1. In many areas it's getting chilly outside, especially at night, and now is the time to think about bringing in those orchids that have summered outside. Planning ahead can make this transition easier for all. We have a nice selection of Humidi-Grow black humidity trays for setting up nice indoor spaces for orchids returning inside. The quad grate humidity tray is larger than most and allows ample space for several orchids. Be sure to have GET OFF ME! Natural Insect Spray on hand for any interlopers that try to hitch a ride indoors.

2. Orchids need natural cues to let them know it is time to set their bloom spikes. Phals in particular need to experience the chill in the air of early fall. Leave the window open a crack in the evening when possible. Many orchids need to experience the shortening days and lengthening nights. Beware of night lights and supplemental lighting that we have in our homes as they rob the orchids of this important cue. Decrease fertilization back to winter levels (weakly, weekly). These three important signals, changes in temperature, light and food, are beneficial here in October.

3. Repot summer bloomers such as Doritis, Doritaenopsis, Encyclia, Miltonia, Miltonopsis, Massdevalia, late blooming Phalaenopsis & Stanhopea when they go out of bloom. Repot seedlings, especially Phalaenopsis seedlings, now that the active summer growth time is done. See our full display of FRESH Orchid Mixes and Orchid Care Videos.

Looking Back:

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.

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