FLOWERS: Grooming Techniques

Orchid Doctor

by Robert M. [Bert] Hamilton (Compiler)

Originally published in The Orchid Doctor in 1980 and 1988

Posted by Sys Admin almost 4 years ago.

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Manipulation enters into many aspects of growing and showing plants, from staking plants or spikes up to the techniques of hybridizing itself, so adjusting the blooms for show purposes is quite in line with the search for perfection. OR81-254

Some "legal" ones: position a promising plant in the greenhouse so the leads face maximum light and do not move it; stake a flower spike progressively as it elongates but do not alter the aspect towards the light source, leave it until the flowers are fully ripe, keep water off the buds and blooms, avoid chemical sprays, both liquid and dusts. A83-687

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Flowers Comments
FLOWERS: After Cutting Stored below 50 Deg.F. without a dehydrator and fan they are very susceptible to fungus; this is made worse when they are stored with roses or carnations; cut small flowers such as phalaenopsis from their stems to keep better; this applies to other hard-stemmed flowers; gently submerge in water odontoglossums and vandas overnight. OD65-57 0
FLOWERS: Almost Constant Bloom, Will it Deplete a Miltonia? Not if fed well and the light is right. A79-370 0
FLOWERS: Available in the Summer Months Among the many possibilities are hybrids of Cattleya dowiana, C. bicolor, C. guttata, evergreen cane-type dendrobiums including hybrids. F80-125 0
FLOWERS: Best Time to Cut for the Sake of the Plant There is little advantage gained by cutting early, or at any particular time, except for pollinated flowers which take vitality from the plant. A79-272 0
FLOWERS: Black Dots or Rotten Blotches Appear One Week After Opening Caused by fungus; clean the greenhouse very carefully; fungus lives on dead plant material; spray everything with Benlate 1 ttpg.; provide air circulation; keep foliage dry at night. A72-1003 0
FLOWERS: Color in Cattleyas and Cymbidiums Is it affected by light?; color varies with the parentage of the plants; some cymbidiums are not affected by full sunlight; try different degrees of shade on green flowers. A70-55 0
FLOWERS: Cupping When they do not spread open as much as expected or desired, the cause may be mites, or lack of humidity; so set the plants over a tray of water and mist them lightly every day; an inexpensive humidity guage might help. A84-129 0
FLOWERS: Cutting Off with Hot Knife As a preventive to spreading virus a soldering tool with a small blade bolted to the hot element keeps hot enough to cut and eliminate virus adhering to it; refer to A70-417 0
FLOWERS: Cutting Time In cattleyas, like many others the flowers are not mature until three or four days after opening and the color becomes full; also, place cut flowers in the refrigerator for five hours to harden them; a floral preservative in the water with cut flowers should always be used. F80-164 0
FLOWERS: Deformity Check the potassium (K) level of the fertilizer, especially if it is a seaweed extract dilution; or the use of a mixture containing auxins, cytokinins or giberellins. AU84-204 0
FLOWERS: Drying Place flowers, after removing the ovary, in a box on a layer of fine sand then carefully fill with sand; place in warm spot for several days; the color is preserved. A63-927; OR79-208 0
FLOWERS: Drying and Dropping Off This can usually be traced to lack of water; most common in the fall, with first greenhouse heat; related to dendrobiums. A79-785 0
FLOWERS: Drying and Preserving in Natural Color and Shape None is known at present; small flowers can be preserved in plastic. A63-927; but see -drying- OR79-208, above. 0
FLOWERS: Drying Procedures Place the bloom between two sheets of filter paper and flatten with a lukewarm iron, embed it in silica gel which is heated to about 55 dC (132 dF) by means of an electric hot plate for 30 to 45 minutes, then let the bloom remain until it cools completely for three or four hours; paphs and cymbids have to be heated first in the silica gel for 15 to 20 hours, removed, flattened, then replaced and heated another 20 to 25 minutes; silica sand can also be used. OIE87jan-13 0
FLOWERS: Extending Blooming Period Keep the plant in a cooler area after the flowers open. A68-770 0
FLOWERS: For Shows, Holding To keep flowers well for show display place the plant in a dark, fairly dry place at 50 deg.F. preferably; this will hold flowers well for seven to ten days. A62-185 0
FLOWERS: For Shows, Speeding Them Up For flowers not developing fast enough increase the day and night temperatures by a few degrees and light a 500-watt bulb about 20 inches over the buds for 16 hours a day; introduce it gradually. A62-185 0
FLOWERS: Freaks Are Occasional Developments They rarely repeat themselves; rarely caused by a genetic change; may be caused by chromosomal aberrations. N311; also called cripples; anomalies 0
FLOWERS: Grooming Consists of shaping petals and sepals as the flower is maturing by means of a piece of cardboard placed behind the flower and to which the sepals and petals are spread and shaped with cotton and tape. A63-837; disqualified by A.O.S. judges. OWD 0
FLOWERS: Inducing Reluctant Petals to Open Fully for Show Purposes Press a small piece of sponge between the lip of the flower and each petal and sepal; remove after three or four days. OD69-288 0
FLOWERS: Left on Cattleya Plants No detrimental effect is caused if flowers are left on the plant until they wither. A65-52 0
FLOWERS: Maturing Rates Cymbidium sprays of flowers can take several weeks for all flowers on the spike to mature but cattleyas take only four to six days. OD86-222 0
FLOWERS: Meaning of "free Blooming" No technical definition has been set, it can mean a plant that blooms most of the year, or several times a year, or has lots of flowers at one time. A83-6000 0
FLOWERS: Opening Improperly Excessive dryness causes bud sticking; nectar may stick the parts together. A76-206 0
FLOWERS: Pressing for Preservation Place the flowers between porous paper (blotting); put under a moderate weight; change papers every day or two; some warmth facilitates drying; most genera retain their color remarkably well. OR79-208+ 0
FLOWERS: Refrigerated For phalaenopsis a temperature of 48 to 52 deg. F. is best; cymbidiums and other cold-growing orchids take 42 to 45 deg.F. F75-85 0
FLOWERS: Removal, to Aid Growth of the Plant Only if the plant is weak and poorly rooted; well-established plants do not need it; but a second flowering of a seedling or repotted plant is likely an improvement. A67-330 0
FLOWERS: Shelf-life Expectancy Various chemical solutions used on cut flowers; 8-hydroxy-quinoline, and the same with sucrose, ascorbic acid and aspirin prolonged the life of cut flowers; ascorbic acid alone had some possible effect; sucrose alone shortened life; aspirin alone had no effect; refer to OR79-292 0
FLOWERS: Streaky, Cause Unknown It may be caused by an insecticide but not likely; Diazinon 50WP not likely the cause; but individual plants show surprising toxicity reactions; low humidity not a factor; possibly virus. A79-674 0
FLOWERS: Twisted See Crippling in cattleyas; Flowers,crippled. 0
FLOWERS: When to Remove If culture is good flowers can be left on until they drop; early cutting not likely to improve the next flowering. C72-216 0
FLOWERS: Whitish "etching" Damage on Petals It ruins blooms of such as Dend. phalaenopsis and others; can be caused by chemical spray burns, or a calcium residue from hard tap water. A85-192 0

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