evtubbergh
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Poor man's orchid?

Hi all

My friend has these plants, which she called Poor Man's Orchid but when I google for it I get Schizanthus and a whole pile of pictures that don't look like them. One of the pictures was even Dietes iridioides.

Anyway, perhaps you can help me identify this?

Image

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Poor man's orchid?

They look like cymbidiums. I do not recognize the hybrid. Without a label, it is hard to tell hybrids apart. Here we would call them "noname" (no na may). If it is a well known hybrid or a species someone from your local orchid club might be able to identify it. They are expensive here about $20 for loose unpotted, bulbs. $35 for a 1 gallon pot and add $5 for each spike. These are orchid club prices. They will be higher from nurseries selling to the public.

The cymbidiums in your picture are the cooler growing ones that grow well in places like San Diego where there is morning fog. The one in the picture needs a temperate climate. I cannot grow those where I live in the tropics.

The ones that I grow are the more warm tolerant ones like cym. golden elf and the golden elf hybrids. I also have cym. aloifolium which is small brown and pendulous but a reliable bloomer around June.

A poor man's orchid here would be oncidium sphaceolatum, commonly called "popcorn" orchid. It is one of the easiest orchids to grow and a good beginner orchid. It is not hard to get. Almost everyone here knows somebody who has one and can get divisions practically free.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

evtubbergh
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Posts: 532
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:52 am
Location: South Africa

Re: Poor man's orchid?

Thanks, I will look that up. She has quite a few because someone is selling them very cheaply from a garden they inherited. I think I will go buy some. They must be easy to grow because she doesn't look after plants very well (will al respect, she has other fie qualities).

imafan26
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Posts: 11121
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Poor man's orchid?

Cymbidiums are semi-terrestrial orchids and live in rocky rubble or decaying forest litter. They are a high light orchid and the larger ones that your friend has likes cooler temperatures. They will bloom better if they are tight in their pots. Most orchids are like that, they like to be tight, so make sure you do not over pot. They need a media that is well drained but they don't like to dry out completely. I grew my golden elf in a bed of cinders and they were happy. I just divided my cym. aloifolium, It took a hammer and screwdriver and a lot of tugging to get it out of the pot. I just repotted some more cymbidiums this year, but some of the leaves burned because I cleaned out the overhanging weeds that shielded them from the summer sun. Hint: If you move orchids from lower light do it gradually and December is the best time to do it (at least here it is).

http://www.aos.org/Default.aspx?id=196

http://www.collectorscorner.com.au/Orch ... uminst.htm
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

evtubbergh
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Posts: 532
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:52 am
Location: South Africa

Re: Poor man's orchid?

Thanks. I noticed hers were very tight in the pots and she does water them quite a bit. She has been bottom watering them and they were in the vestibule where there is no sun. Shame she just moved so I hope they are ok.

I'm going to buy some for my mom's birthday and some for our new house :) Yay thanks so much for identifying them for me.

evtubbergh
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Posts: 532
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Location: South Africa

Re: Poor man's orchid?

I bought some cymbidiums :) I got one labelled peach with buds on it so I hope I will get some beautiful blooms soon if the change in environment is not too severe. Actually that's for my mom for Christmas. I bought myself a mystery baby one.

I want to know if I go back in a month and buy more, could I force a plant to bloom? Do they flower in spring or winter? It will get really hot in summer here but it's fairly cool in my living room. It would be nice if I could give my mom a blooming orchid.

The reason I thought I could maybe is because the ones I could buy have not flowered at all yet so perhaps could still think themselves in need of flowers.

imafan26
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Posts: 11121
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Poor man's orchid?

Cymbidiums are seasonal bloomers and most of them bloom in the winter months or early Spring.

Cym aloifolium is a species and blooms for me reliably late May-June. Cym Black Sambo, and Cym. Mad Irishman bloom around March. Different cultivars will have different bloom months. The orchid you have will bloom around the same time of the year. A common way that orchidists keep records of their plants is to write down on the back of the name tag the dates that the plants bloom, or are divided and repotted. Feeding and fungicide schedules are usually more regimented and based on the pattern of growth and dormancy of plants in the collection.

Orchids cannot be forced like bulbs. Orchids bloom on the new growth after it has matured. Cymbidiums usually only put out one growth a year, so bloom once a year. They usually will not bloom unless the clump is tight in the pots or well established as a clump in the ground. When they are divided, you will usually give up that year's bloom and it will bloom after the pot is tight again. Repotting for most orchids are after the plant has finished blooming and most orchids will need repotting every two years depending on the media you are using. You can get additional spikes by feeding the cymbidium to promote the new growth and stimulating the nodes. The AOS culture sheets will tell you how to care for the orchids.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

evtubbergh
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Posts: 532
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:52 am
Location: South Africa

Re: Poor man's orchid?

Thanks. Most have bloomed. The rest must either be later bloomers or (more likely) they just didn't put out new growth, get fed, get enough light etc. Perhaps some were repotted at some point. You can tell many of the plants were split from a few because there were literally hundreds of pots of all shapes and sizes with only a few varieties.

It's a pity I can't give blooming Cymbidiums as a gift at Christmas but it will be that much better next year when they bloom.

I will follow the AOS guidelines. I appreciate all your information.

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