Orchid Books

I am looking for a good orchid book to curl up with in bed that covers all aspects of growing. What do you recommend? Judy C.
There are many orchid books on the market today which reflects the immense popularity of these tropical plants. With so many offerings to choose from, how does the novice grower decide? Attractive covers and pretty pictures don’t always make for a useful reference manual so content has to be the driving criteria.
A well written orchid book should thoroughly explore each of the popular genera and at least mention the lesser known types so the grower has something to strive for. Not just Phalaenopsis and Paphiopedilums, but also Angraecums, Masdevallias, and Zygopetalums.
It should also completely delve into the cultural requirements necessary to cultivate orchids to their full potential. From air circulation to repotting techniques, the most optimum environments should be explained in great detail. As always, the grower is trying to duplicate the usually rainforest-like atmosphere that the plants are found in naturally.
It is also advisable for the author to acknowledge the fact that there are many different ways to grow orchids successfully, never just one….and that the old idiom “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” always applies…. i.e. If an orchid thrives under adverse growing conditions, don’t change it. Additionally, insect control recommendations have to be progressive and safe for people and pets.
The best book that I have found (until I write one…) is the ‘Complete Guide to Orchids’ by Ortho. Endorsed by the American Orchid Society, this 224 page glossy publication has it all and is under priced at $20.

I have several Dendrobiums that are top heavy and keep falling over. Any advice? Lara L.
One thing about Dendrobiums, there are some varieties that can get tall…I mean ‘really’ tall….4 feet sometimes……which is no problem if you have vaulted or cathedral ceilings. No other orchids come to mind except Epidendrums that require the foliage itself to be staked not just the flower stems.
The first step is to locate long bamboo stakes, about ¼” to 3/8” wide preferably green so as to not draw attention and cut the lower tip on an angle for easy penetration into the usually bark chip media. Securely tie the biggest canes (pseudo-bulbs) to a stake and if necessary pull all the canes close together with a long twist tie. Now, at least, the center of gravity is over the pot.
Next the pot itself may not be heavy or wide enough to keep the plant from flipping over. The quick fix is to put a pot in a pot to add weight and width. For example, a top heavy Den in a 5” clay pot could be dropped as is into a 6” pot and observed. If still unstable (as we all are), now drop the 6” pot into 7” pot. This should do it. An alternative is to use a heavy decorative pot. Occasionally, the plant itself might have to be repotted if the media is no longer airy or the pseudo-bulbs have grown over the edge.

My husband recently returned with a lovely orchid from your shop. According to the tag, I am the proud owner of a Supersuk 'Eureka' AM/AOS x sib. Now what? Kirsten B.
Orchid nomenclature can sound like another language when there are cryptic abbreviations and strange acronyms.
In this case, there is an important prefix missing which informs the grower of the orchid genera. This plant is a Paphiopedilum which carries the abbreviation Paph or P which should have been noted before the other verbiage.
Supersuk is the hybrid name, ‘Eureka’ is the variety, AM/AOS means that an Award of Merit (AM) was given by the American Orchid Society (AOS) for the fine attributes of the flowers, and x sib means that our unknown plant was the result of cross pollinating Supersuk with its sibling in an attempt to improve the botanical strain.
Which all boils down to this: We have a lady slipper orchid that was grown from seed, had pedigree parents, and, with any luck, will provide years of enjoyment. Water several times a week and provide low light.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006 - 18:00