Exhibiting Horticulture Successfully
Selecting Plant Material
- Select plants from your garden for cutting early in the morning, and place them directly into cool water.
- Cut at the peak of maturity – for show purposes, that means when the main bloom is 3/4 open.
- Cutting on a slant encourages the uptake of more water for hydration.
- The plant must have been grown in your garden for at least 3 months.
- Do not show plants with damaged or spent flowers
- They should be removed as inconspicuously as possible – or trimmed if removal would destroy symmetry. Trimming should follow natural line of the leaf.
- A small blemish should not take an otherwise perfect specimen out of contention.
- There should be no dust, dirt, pollen or spray on leaves.
- The specimen should be free of evidence of pests and disease.
- No leaf polish may be used.
- If a container plant is being exhibited, the container should be clean.
- Wedging material should be used to hold plant upright and in the best position for viewing. Cotton has been used frequently in the past, but it is preferable to use a clear material such as saran wrap or bubble wrap. Celery stalks or stalks of other plants may be used as wedging material.
- The bottles should be uniform for fairness in judging. They must be clear glass so that the stem is visible. In the past, some clubs prefer green or brown tinted bottles, but we encourage you to make the change. (A lot of beer comes in clear glass.)
- The plant should be well hydrated, preferably conditioned for several hours.
- The stem must be visibly submerged in water.
- Only one stem may be exhibited in each container.
- There should be no foliage below the water line.
- The plant must be properly and legibly labeled. Genus and species preferred, but common name is acceptable at club meetings.
Horticulture Award of Merit from GCV – June 2019
Sherry Leffel, a member of the Spotswood Garden Club, has held many leadership positions in her club. She has shared her years of experience as a biology teacher, educating her fellow club members and serving her community, including extensive work at the James Madison University arboretum. Her passion for horticulture is evident in all her activities, and her favorite shopping spree is a visit to the garden center.
Clematis “Guernsey Cream” – Click below for information
This is an extraordinarily large and diverse New World genus with an equally diverse number of habitats. Oncidiums may originate anywhere from sea level in the tropics to the high elevations of the Andes. This obviously makes cultural generalizations difficult. More specific instructions may be available from the grower. Some genera included are Aspasia, Brassia, warm- growing miltonias (often called the Brazilian type) and many of their hybrids.
Light needs can vary from bright to nearly full direct sun depending on the species. Most will thrive with one to several hours of sun a day. Generally, thicker leaved plants, such as “mule-ear” and “equitant” oncidiums, can stand more light.
Temperatures for this group are generally considered intermediate to warm: 55 to 60 F at night, and 80 to 85 F during the day. Temperatures up to 95 to 100 F are tolerated if humidity and air movement are increased as the temperatures rise, a good general rule in any case.
Water requirements vary with the type of plant. Generally, plants with large fleshy roots or leaves need less-frequent watering than thin-leaved or thin-rooted plants. Watering should be thorough, and the medium should dry at least halfway through the pot before watering again. This may be every two to 10 days depending on weather, pot size and material, type of orchid and type of potting
medium. Plants not actively growing should be watered less; many species have winter rest periods.
Humidity should be between 30 and 60 percent. Many oncidiums require less humidity than other orchids. Most greenhouses have adequate humidity. In the home, placing the plants above moist pebbles in trays is ideal. Fertilize regularly while plants are actively growing.
Fertilization -Applications of 30-10-10 formulations twice a month are ideal for plants in a bark-based potting medium. A 20-20-20 formulation should be used on plants in other media or on slabs. If skies are cloudy, applications once a month are sufficient. Potting should be done when new growth is about one-half mature, which is usually in the spring. Fine-grade potting media are usually used with fine-rooted plants and coarser mixes with large-rooted plants; the standard size is medium grade. The plant should be positioned in the pot so that the newest growth is farthest away from the edge of the pot, allowing the maximum number of new growths before crowding the pot. Spread the roots over a cone of potting medium and fill in around the roots. Firm the medium around the roots. Keep humidity high and the potting medium dry until new roots form. Equitant and mule-ear oncidiums, as well as other fleshy-leaved or large-rooted plants, can be grown on slabs of cork bark or tree fern or in pots filled with a coarse, well-drained medium such as charcoal. This allows the drying between waterings that these types need.
INFO from American Orchid Society
Lady Slippers – Paphiopedilums
Paphiopedilums are often called “slipper orchids” because of their unique pouch. They are easily grown as houseplants and their care is very similar to African Violets.
Water – How often you water will depend on whether your plant is potted in bark or a sphagnum moss mix and the amount of light and heat. Paphs need more frequent watering than some other orchids because they have no pseudobulbs to store water. Bark retains less water so will require more frequent watering – every five days is usually sufficient. If your plant is potted in moss, water when the top feels dry. Care should be taken not to overwater to avoid rotting the roots. Soon you will be able to tell by the weight of the pot whether or not it is time to water again. If in doubt, wait a day. When you water an orchid you want to let the water run through the plant for a minute or so. Place the plant in the sink and use tepid water. Be sure to let the plant drain completely. Do not use salt-softened or distilled water.
This is a good time to look closely at your paph for any sign of insects and to remove any leaves that have browned.
Light – Paphs belong to the “low” light group of orchids. An east window is ideal; west or south windows can also be used if shaded with a sheer curtain. You can tell by the leaves if the plant is getting too much light. A reddish tinge on the edges means you need to provide more shade for your plant. If your paph does not re-bloom, it may not be getting enough light.
Temperature – Paphs generally enjoy the same temperatures that we do in the home; ideally, 60-65º F at night and 75-85º F during the day. Keep in mind that temperatures close to the window on a windowsill will be colder or hotter than your general house temperature. Paphs can be grown outside in mild climates. The plants can stand temperatures from 95oF to the 40s. Protect plants during cold temperatures by avoiding moisture on leaves or in the crowns and in summer from burning from the sun.
Fertilizer – Any balanced orchid fertilizer (look at the numbers on the container, 20-20-20, etc.) can be used to fertilize your orchid. Weakly (¼ strength), weekly works well. Once a month use clear water to flush any accumulated salts from the potting mix.
Tips – Use a shallow tray of pebbles filled with water to increase humidity around your plants. Be sure the pot does not sit in water as this will rot the roots.
Give your plants room for air to circulate around them. Crowding of plants can lead to problems with insect infestations and fungus. A small fan will help provide good air circulation around your plants.
When the blooms are finished, cut the spike down to the level of the leaves. Continue watering and fertilizing and within a year a new growth will spike to begin the blooming cycle again!
When the plant has finished blooming is a good time to repot your orchid.