Oncidium floridanum. Photography credit: Carol Holdren

Flower Boosters

Culture

by Roy Tokunaga

Posted by Sys Admin 20 days ago.

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Flower Boosters  Florida 2018
by Roy Tokunaga   Email:  [email protected]
 

Definition:  Anything that will empower my Orchid to spike more reliably with maximum flowers.   It can be cultural adjustments like more light, water quality, and air movement.    Also, nutritional like fish emulsion, bone meal, and specialty fertilizers.  Most of us would like to spray a magic potion and the Orchid will flower like magic.
 

For Florida:  The best growers have several things in common.
 

  1. Maximize light for the genera they are growing.   "Principles of light" by Dr. Erik Runkle,  Orchids Magazine, May 2008.

  2. Have good air movement.  Roots are well aerated.

  3. Low salts in the root zone.  Flush plants regularly.  If well water, flush 45 minutes.  If city water, 10-15 minutes.  Weekly.  If you grow in the rain, a 1 inch rain fall will do the same.

  4. Have fantastic roots.  Pest and disease absent.

  5. Understands water quality.  Best article.  "What's in Your Water?" by Jack and Cari Peters, Orchids Magazine, May 2012.



Florida city water is usually moderately alkaline.  Well water is very alkaline.  Rain and RO water has no alkalinity.  What does it mean?  Best article is by Dr. Bill Argo, Blackmore Company.  Search on line and the SAOS has it on their web site.  Many thanks to Sue Bottom.

What needs to be done is for one person in your area to do a water test by J. R. Peters and the alkalinity value is the most important.  High alkalinity requires the most flushing.  Best fertilizer will be 20-20-20 or 18-18-18.  You can confirm this with J.R. Peters after doing the water quality test.

Florida water has ample calcium but lacks magnesium.  I normally apply magnesium sulfate (Epson Salts) at 1 teaspoon per gallon.

High phosphorus is not necessary for anything.  2-3% of NPK sufficient.  Best article is in Orchids Magazine, "Without High Phosphorus" by Jan Szyren, June 2003.  Recommends less nitrogen on mature plants to increase flowers.

Roy's secret potion.  On mature plants.  Just before spikes appear.  Apply more calcium based fertilizer 1 teaspoon per gallon with micronutrient package like STEM by Peters or Microplex by Millers Chemical.  1/4 teaspoon per gallon of the micros.  Weekly until spikes and flowers appear.  Maximum  3 months.

If it does not give you the best flowering, ever.  Email Roy, at [email protected] for my regrets.  Happy Growing.

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