Monthly tasks

Reproduced from Florida Orchid Growing with the kind permission of Dr. Martin Motes, this monthly guide provides general recommendations for orchid culture in South Florida.

JANUARY

  1. Water judiciously, only early in the day.
  2. Run plants on the dry side to preserve the possibility of using water for cold protection.
  3. Check irrigation system in advance of cold.
  4. Flush excess fertilizer salts from cattleyas and other sympodials.
  5. Spray for mites, then spray again in 7-10 days.

FEBRUARY

  1. Spread snail bait lightly. Spread again in two weeks.
  2. Spray for Botrytis using Florida recommended fungicide or bicarbonate of soda.
  3. Begin spring potting.
  4. Watch for mites.

MARCH

  1. Watch out for mites.
  2. Spray for Thrips.
  3. Repot genera emerging from dormancy: catasetums, calanthes, and soft cane dendrobiums.
  4. Continue general repotting of cattleyas, oncidiums, hard cane dendrobiums, etc.
  5. Make top cutting of teretes, semi-teretes and reed stem epidendrums.
  6. Move landscape plants gradually to brighter light.
  7. Apply time release fertilizer.

APRIL

  1. Full speed ahead with repotting.
  2. Water heavily and well.
  3. Don’t forget to fertilize.
  4. Spray for mites and Thrips.
  5. Naturalize excess divisions in the garden.

MAY

  1. Space plants properly for good air circulation.
  2. Trim excessive foliage on trees and shrubs.
  3. Repot Phalaenopsis out of sphagnum.
  4. Finish repotting of various genera.
  5. Reset vandaceous plants, remove keikies.
  6. Water heavily early in month, more guardedly later.
  7. Initiate preventive spray maintenance program.

JUNE

  1. Careful watering the month often means no watering at all. Arise early to enjoy the cool and water only when truly necessary.
  2. Space plants amply. Good air circulation is essential across the coming months.
  3. Re-pot Phals and re-set Vandas. Make sure that plants are firmly set in their new abodes.
  4. Begin or continue a disease prevention program with the prophylactic applications of thiophanate methyl (Cleary’s 3336) ad Aliette or Banrot.
  5. Clean up growing area and plants. Remove dead leaves from plants and ground. Pull weeds.
  6. Prune trees and shrubs to increase light and air circulation.
  7. Apply snail bait lightly early in the month and again lightly mid-month.
  8. Set air conditioning thermostat at 80 degrees and enjoy living in the tropics.

JULY

  1. Dry plants hard once or twice.
  2. Apply liquid fertilizer instead of water during dry patches.
  3. Watch for Thrips when rain has been sparse for several days.
  4. Finish top cutting and planting of vandaceous genera.

AUGUST

  1. Finish cutting teretes and reed step epidendrums early in month.
  2. Reset strap leaf vandas early or not at all.
  3. Dry hard once or twice.
  4. Continue anti fungal spray program.
  5. Apply snail bait lightly twice, ten days apart.

SEPTEMBER

  1. Space plants to permit more air circulation.
  2. Trim trees to permit more light and lessen the wind load on them.
  3. Clean up growing area removing any dead leaves or other organic matter.
  4. Tidy up old pots or other objects on the ground.
  5. Apply snail bait; lightly, frequently.
  6. Spray quaternary ammonium chloride.

OCTOBER

  1. Space plants to increase air circulation.
  2. Water as early as possible in the day.
  3. Move Himalayan dendrobiums, catasetums, calanthes and other seasonally dormant plants to dry bright locations.
  4. Reduce general fertilizer.
  5. Apply extra magnesium and potassium.

NOVEMBER

  1. Prepare for cold.
  2. Reduce fertilizer.
  3. Apply extra potassium and magnesium.
  4. Segregate dormant genera in bright dry area.
  5. Repot plants after flowering.
  6. Groom plants and flower spikes for holiday display.

DECEMBER

  1. Water judiciously and well.
  2. Protect cold sensitive genera.
  3. Provide extra potassium and magnesium.
  4. Repot flowered out plants – be sure they are secure.