Saturday, January 25, 2014

hawaiian memory

I purchased Dendrobium Love Memory 'Fizz' at Akatsuka Orchids in Hawaii last year at my niece's wedding on the Big Island. Of course I had to buy something to bring back, and was much more excited about the interesting upright form of a Neofinetia falcata there than the Dendrobium nobiles that they had. I was talked into buying D. Love Memory 'Fizz', because it was described as fragrant, a big deal in my book. But I've never really liked the nobile dendrobiums.

the display area at Akatsuka orchids, the tube I bought of the size of those in the black tray at the bottom left
They don't have the grace of the phalaenopsis dendrobiums,  with club-like pseudobulbs and flowers clinging tightly to them. They are also known for having exacting growth requirements, the temperature has to be just so at specific times of the year, and the light levels extremely high, with humidity, regular fertilizer and a distinct cool (near freezing but never below) dry rest period. Not worth the hassle for something I was not very impressed by.

But I bought one of the baby plants of this orchid, encased in a 2"x2"x8" plastic sleeve, ready to be carried on the plane back to the mainland. It looked just like the one on the right, the stubby stem looking like something from the ocean.

It's still pretty small, compared to the incredible huge plants on display, but the new growth is bigger - the original growth is on the left. And I'm impressed. One year, and it is blooming like this, compared to the cattleyas that I've had for years without a bloom. Now I know I don't have to be afraid of the nobiles. I had repotted the plant into a slightly larger container (they need what seems like absurdly small pots for the size of the plant - the pot in the photo is just the cache pot). I expect it will stay in that pot for a couple of years before needing a larger pot. When the weather warmed, I put the plant outside, where it got direct morning sunlight and afternoon shade. I knew it was enough because the leaves turned to the yellow side of green. I watered whenever the clear pot did not show moisture condensation within it. Next year, I think I should water and fertilize more. When there was threat of a freeze, I put the plant in the window of the unheated garage, and buds began to form after a few weeks. Once budding was initiated, I brought the plant indoors. It took a couple of months for the buds to turn into flowers. Easy! And yes, the flowers are fragrant. I'm still waiting for that Neofinetia to bloom again.

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