Orchid Flowers

Archive for June 2011

It may happen that in spite of taking good care of your orchid plants, they may get attacked by several diseases. So it is necessary to know about different common diseases of orchid plants so that you can identify them as well as cure them in case they attack your beautiful orchids. Here are some of the most common types of orchid plant diseases.

Bacterial Root Rot

As the name suggests, this disease shrivel lower parts of leaves. This is one of the most common orchid diseases and can be caused by over-watering and the only way to cure this disease is to repot the orchid plant. When you will repot your orchid plant, you will see that roots have become dark and soft. Using the remedy of repotting orchids, you will remove bad roots along with the media around these suffered roots. Roots will be easy to remove as they are soft. For repotting orchid plant, use smaller pot and do not water for a number of days.

Crown Rot

Crown rot makes upper part of the leaf damaged so it is named as Crown Rot. The remedy for this disease is to remove upper leaves or upper part of leaves which will be soft enough to be removed easily. While doing this reedy, make sure that all the diseased area has been removed. You can also do this by digging into crown of plant with help of a sterile knife or blade. After removing suffered area, treat the open area with bactericidal solution or sprinkle area with cinnamon.

Leaf Rot

The main indication of this disease is discoloration of orchid leaves. It will not discolor the whole leaf but a spot will be appeared on leaf. If this disease is caught later, Spot may become bigger and darker and infected part will become gray and soft. The remedy is to use a sterile knife or other instrument to cut the leaf back to healthy tissue. If you are using a razor to remove infected area of your plant then discard it after use. After doing this treat healthy and good edge of the leaf with bactericidal solution or cinnamon. Also ensure that plant is located in a place where there is good air circulation.

Bud Blast

When orchid plants suffer from this disease, their buds start withering and falling off. This disease may be caused by some sudden and drastic changes in either temperature or light. It may also be caused by excessive drying of plant so to prevent this disease, don’t place plants near heater vents.

Leaf Burn

Leaf Burn is a disease that attacks orchid plants when they are over exposed to sunlight. In this disease, you will find some gray or white areas on leaves. There is no special remedy to treat this disease. All you need to do is to keep an eye on the plant because these spots may get infected.

Black Spots/Black Leaf

This disease is usually found in Oncidium and Paphiopedilum plants and is caused by too much of fertilizing or not providing orchid plant with fresh water. Initially the spots on leaves are not visible but with the passage of time these spots become black in color. These spots may appear either on body or tips of leaf. To avoid this disease, check air circulation in area where you have placed your plant.

These were some most common orchid diseases. Keep these in mind while growing orchid plants in your home and take necessary precautionary measures to avoid them.

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Tropical orchids are actually uncommon plants whose structure distinguishes them from other plants. Tropical orchids are actually ornamental plants that are considered hard to care of. But you can make the process of taking care of orchids easy if you try to understand their nutritional requirements and habitat. Here I am going to provide you with some basic instructions that will help you take care of tropical orchids:

  • Most common tropical orchids are usually Dendrobiums, Cattleyas, Oncidiums and Vandas. Some of the species belonging to the above types are terrestrial but you will find that the majority of these are either epiphytic or lithophytic. Here I feel necessary to describe that epiphytic grow on tress while lithophytic grow on rocks while terrestrial grow on normal soil. Taking care of terrestrial tropical orchids is easy but to take care of epiphytic and lithophytic orchids is difficult. Most of these plants come from damp tropical rainforests of Asia, Australia and South America. You will have to keep in mind the natural habitats of tropical orchids before making a plan of their proper care.
  • Tropical orchids need bright light but too much exposure to sunlight may be harmful for them. Tropical orchids mostly grow under the shade of trees in rainforests so they don’t like direct sunlight. Vanda orchids require strong sunlight because they have small leaves. They can tolerate south-facing exposure with 30% shade while Dendrobiums, Cattleyas and Oncidiums require shadier conditions or morning sun.
  • Water and humidity is also required by tropical orchids but you should avoid wet conditions. Orchids like high humidity but they don’t want to be constantly wet. The ideal humidity level for tropical orchids is 50 to 75%. The best time to water tropical orchids is when you feel that the soil or growing medium has become dry. Only Vanda orchids require a humidity level up to 80% but other epiphytic and lithophytic orchids like to be dry in between watering. If you will leave your tropical orchids constantly soaked, it will be harmful for them as roots will rot and plants will suffer from various fungal diseases.
  • Tropical orchids should be protected from wind chills and at the same time, they should be provided with warm temperatures. Daytime temperature should be between 75 to 90 degrees F while night temperature should be not lower than 55 degrees F. If you are expecting that temperature will drop below 50 degrees, bring your tropical orchids indoors.
  • Air circulation is also a basic requirement of tropical orchids. Ventilation is necessary to keep the plants roots dry. Tropical orchids naturally grow among tree branches where there is much air circulation so you will be required to provide them the same conditions. So hang orchids in well-ventilated areas keeping in mind that too mush of wind can also lead to dryness.
  • Tropical orchids will need to be fertilized often but at the same time, in moderation. Use those fertilizers that are specific for tropical orchids but if you are using all-purpose fertilizers then dilute it to half the strength and apply it weekly instead of every two weeks.

These were some basic requirements which you should fulfill if you really want to take care of your tropical orchids in the best possible way.

Special care and proper atmosphere is required by orchid cactus to bloom. Are you providing the same to your orchid cactus plant? If you don’t know what is required to make an orchid cactus to bloom then read the instructions given below as these will help you getting an orchid cactus to bloom:

  • Orchid cactus should be planted in a planter of medium size containing soil mixture in it. The soil mixture should consist of two parts of potting soil and one part of sand.
  • Place the planter at a location which receives partial sunlight all day long. As far as temperature is concerned, you are required maintaining temperature between 45 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit at all times during its growing season.
  • Between the months of April and September, you are required feeding orchid cactus once a month using a fertilizer having low nitrogen. But if you want to improve flowering, I will recommend you to add an additional application of fertilizer during the months of February to November. If you don’t know about dosage of fertilizing, read the directions given on fertilizer bag.
  • During spring, fall and summer, water orchid cactus once per week. Before watering, make sure that top one and a half inches of soil are dry. Watering frequency should be reduced in winter season to once every two weeks. Always remember that both insufficient watering and over-watering may become a hindrance in blooming.
  • Orchid cactus plant will also require enough amount of moisture. To provide humidity, you can place a humidifier near the plant to get it to bloom. By providing humidity, you will actually provide orchid cactus with their inhabitant environment which will encourage blooming. You can also mist the air around plant once or twice a day using lukewarm water.
  • Maintaining nighttime temperature is very important because orchid cactus bloom in night so keep temperature between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Dormant period is necessary for flowering so keep orchid cactus plant in complete darkness to induce dormant period. When the plant will recover from period of dormancy, it will bloom before next winter provided that proper care is taken and plant gets two years old.

These were some instructions which you should follow to make your orchid cactus plant to bloom. Best of luck with your orchid cacti!!

Are you looking for some tips on growing giant sunflowers? If yes then you have reached the right place. I have been gathering tips and tricks on growing giant sunflowers which I want to share with you people to enable you to grow these huge sunflowers to beautify your garden as well.

Choose a Location

If you want your sunflowers to grow at their utmost height then you should choose a well drained location so that they can receive maximum amount of sunlight. Sunflowers’ heads are always faced towards east so such a location should be selected where sunflowers are in full view of sunrise.

Choosing Sunflower Seeds

Since you want to grow huge sunflowers, you will require picking “tall” types seeds. The most successful varieties in this regard are “Kong” and “Mammoth” because these varieties can grow up to a height of 10-20 feet producing huge and attractive sunflowers.

Digging Holes

To grow giant sunflowers, you will require digging a hole having a circumference of 2 feet and a depth of 18 inches. The holes should be dug in such a way that center of one hole is two feet away from the center of previous hole. Remember that more space between sunflower plants result in larger flowers and thinner stalks while less space may result in smaller flowers and thicker stalks so if you want huge sunflowers to grow ideally, you will require maintaining a space of 24 inches between two plants.

Preparing the Soil

Ordinary sunflowers can grow in poor soil conditions but giant sunflowers cannot so prepare the soil carefully. After loosening the soil you have removed from holes, remove rocks, roots and stones from soil. Prepare a mixture of half a shovel of potting mix and half shovel of humus and then back fill your holes with this mixture.

Planting Seeds

The best time for planting giant sunflower seeds is from mid May to early June. While planting seeds, make sure that you are planting three seeds in each hole. These seeds should be positioned about an inch apart form each other. Push each seed in soil to a depth of one inch. You can use your finger for this purpose. After planting the seeds, sprinkle a little soil over buried seeds and then pat the soil using your hands.

Watering Giant Sunflowers

Giant sunflowers consume a lot of water but remember that over watering these plants may soften the roots making them incapable of supporting the huge plant.  Don’t water sunflowers in case of puddling but after that if you feel that soil has dried out, water your giant sunflowers.

Fertilizing

A liquid fertilizer should be used after every 1-2 weeks. Remember not to fertilize the flower or the stalk directly because it may rotten and weaken your plant. Instead of it, pour liquid fertilizer around the base of plant.

These were some simple and easy steps to grow huge sunflowers. Follow these and have giant and beautiful sunflowers in your house.

Orchid cacti are also known as epiphyllum which produce yellowish or white flowers. The special thing about these flowers is that they bloom at night. Being demanding plants, orchid cacti require some special conditions to be fulfilled for their growth and maintenance. If you also want to grow orchid cacti and you have never grown this beautiful plant before, then follow these simple steps as these steps will help you to grow healthy orchid cactus plant:

  • Take a planter having holes in the bottom. Now fill it with a potting mixture having one part peat, two parts uncouth sand and one part crushed lava rock. This mixture is ideal soil for orchid cactus and it will also allow drainage of water.
  • Orchid cactus plant will be grown from cutting so you can take a cutting from an adult plant. Now dip the cutting in rooting hormone and let it stay for up to two weeks. After two weeks, you will pot the cutting in peat mixture.
  • You will require keeping the peat mixture damp but not soggy. Water your plant thoroughly. Excess water will be drained through the holes at the bottom of planter. The best time to water orchid cactus plant is when the top third of soil becomes dry. You will also require watering these plants immediately after blooming. These plants don’t require much water during winter months so in these months, you will water only enough to keep the soil damp.
  • Like other plants, orchid cacti also need fertilizer for their proper and healthy growth. I will recommend you fertilizing orchid cactus plant in fall, spring and summer using sea kelp fertilizer. Remember not to fertilize your orchid cactus plant during winter.
  • As far as temperature requirements are concerned, you are needed to keep orchid cactus at a temperature ranging from 45 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Pruning is also an important step to be followed as it helps healthy grwoth. You can use pruning shears to prune dead foliage from orchid cactus plant.
  • Orchid cactus doesn’t like direct sunlight or extreme heat so keep the plant in a shady area or near a sunny window.

Aren’t these steps simple? Definitely these are easiest steps which you can follow to grow an orchid cactus plant in your house.

Sunflowers are most loved flowers because in summer, they add color to your garden and in winter, potted sunflowers indoors brighten a sad and dull winter day. Sunflowers are among those flowers which require a lot of light so the people who want to grow sunflowers indoors must have a proper arrangement of light. The best thing you can do in this regard is to use a fluorescent light to grow your sunflowers indoors. Fluorescent lights are quite beneficial for growing sunflowers indoors whether you are growing them in winter or growing them to plant outdoors later. Here I am going to provide you some tips that will make it easy for you to grow sunflowers indoors with fluorescent light:

  • Firstly, you will prepare your pots in which you are going to plant your sunflowers so fill the pots with a fertile potting mix containing moss, peat and compost. If you have a plan to transplant the seedlings later then you can use small pots. But make sure that these pots should have a diameter of at least one foot so that they can handle large roots of sunflowers.
  • As you are going to grow flowers indoors so you are needed to choose smallest types of sunflowers like Teddy Bear and Big Smile. These two varieties are best choices for potted sunflowers as they can’t grow more than two feet tall.
  • Now it comes to plant the seeds. While doing this, make sure that you are planting two or three seeds in a pot. After sowing the seeds almost two inches deep, water them well.
  • As natural light is best for the growth of sunflowers, place the pots in a sunny window. Fluorescent light is used to fulfill deficiency of exposure to natural light in winter.
  • Try to use the brightest fluorescent light for your indoors sunflowers and put the lights in a fixture which is capable of holding two tubes. Arrange these lights in such a way that they are few inches away from the soil surface. The purpose of using lights is to make sure that sunflower seeds receive 12 hours of light in a day either all light from fluorescent tubes or by the combination of natural and artificial light.
  • When you see that your seedlings have begun to grow, raise the lights to provide them enough room for their growth. Ensure that lights are always a few inches from the tallest plant.
  • Fluorescent lights should be kept on indoors sunflowers for their whole life to make sure that your sunflowers are getting lights for 12 hours a day until the plants begin to produce flowers.

That was all about growing sunflowers indoors using artificial lights. These steps are quite simple so you can easily follow them to make your home looming bright even in gloomy winter season.

Most of the flowering plants bloom in spring season but there are some plants that bloom best in summer heat. These plants may be either perennials or annuals. Here I am providing you with a list of such flowers that live in hot summer. You can grow any of these flowers in your garden to beautify it in summer season as well.

Portulaca

Portulaca is also known as moss rose and it grows best in rock gardens. Portulacas are colorful flowers that open in morning but close in the warmth of day. These are annual plants and are very easy to grow. As far as color range of these flowers is concerned, they provide a wide variety of colors including yellow, red, pink, white and orange. Bicolor varieties of these flowers are also available.

Zinnia

Zinnia is another annual that is considered best to add color to a garden in summer time. These flowers are available in wider range of colors as compared to other annual flowers. Although all varieties of zinnias are heat-tolerant, there are some types of zinnia flowers that need to be watered excessively during long and dry periods of time with no rain.

Periwinkle

Being a low growing annual, Periwinkle does not grow until late spring when the soil becomes enough warm for its proper growth. This plant produces flowers in different colors like purple, blue and white. For best results, plant these plants in an area with good air circulation. One thing which I should remind you of is that these plants should not be over-watered because they are easily attacked by fungal diseases.

Cosmos

Cosmos is a blooming annual that is a native wildflower in America. These flowers are found in attractive colors like purple and orange. It reproduces from seeds and if you want this plant to produce more flowers, grow these plants having a distance of at least six inches between them.

Purple Coneflower

Purple coneflower is perennial in nature and generates daisy-like flowers of purple color. Some other varieties of purple coneflower produce red, white or yellow blooms as well. This plant blooms during the hottest time of year and thus it can tolerate heat and drought.

Salvia Greggii

Salvia greggii is also known as autumn sage. It is native to the desert Southwest of America and therefore it can bear drought. It is a shrub producing tabular flowers. These flowers are well-known for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. After blooming, this shrub can be pruned to keep it in an attractive and beautiful shape.