Friday, July 16, 2010

Seedy Action

Pardon my blurry cell phone images. Doing this post in the quick and dirty style.

I took a little time this afternoon to surface sterilize a ripening seed pod and to sow seeds today. The cross was Paph (victoria-regina x lowii) x fairrieanum (I'll post a photo of the fairrieanum at another time, it was a nicely marked, slightly fragrant one) made January 31st. I thought the pod should stay on the plant another 1-3 months, but it started to dry out, so I harvested it. I somewhat expected the pod to contain nothing, so I decided to use some nearly year old media I had stashed in the lab rather than making fresh. Much to my surprise, the seeds actually look reasonably decent. They have a nice dark umber color, but weren't very 'fluffy' in the pod, making me think they weren't quite mature. Possibly the heat caused the plant to abort development early. Hopefully they'll germinate anyway and be FABULOUS.

And here's another fuzzy cell phone pic of some intermediate stage Lc Green Veil x June Bug seedlings. To see these guys as wee seeds, see this post. I'll need to space these out onto new replate media soon for their final flask development stage. If all goes well the flasks will be ready next Spring/Summer. Green Veil is a bright lime green with a white & purple lip and great flower count, and June Bug (as you can see from the link above) is yellow with a red lip.

I also did a quick "spread plate" of some recalcitrant Phal taenialis protocorms which have been refusing to develop. Hopefully this will kick start them.

If you're interested in learing more about orchid hybridization, flasking, and seedling development, join me at the Susquehanna Orchid Society meeting this Sunday at 1:30PM in Camp Hill, PA. If you can't make it, ask your society's officers to schedule me to give a lecture in your home town! :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

In Bloom: Huernia and Fire Magic

Before you get offended, we're not talking about embarrassing personal products today. :P

Huernia schneideranaHuernia are among the Stapeliads, a jungle cactus type succulent group. They like approximately phalaenopsis type light and temperatures. I basically grow mine just like a phalaenopsis, but remember I grow on what most of you consider 'the dry side,' so maybe water a bit less for those of you who grow more wet. It can take cooler temperatures in winter but doesn't seem to require a dip in temperature to bloom. I do water them a little bit less in winter, but don't let them get dessicated.

This came to me unidentified, but I believe it to be H. schneiderana. Nevertheless, these are easy to grow and cute. As they get longer and start making branches they become great plants for hanging baskets. Often the lower branches are programmed to come off naturally, as a pre-programmed propagation method. When that happens, you can root them into the original pot to make the basket more full, or into a separate pot and share with friends! I have one such rooted plant in the shop.

Slc. Fire Magic 'MAW'Slc. Fire Magic is a great cross. It has pretty much everything I like to see in a mini-catt cross. It is small and compact, easy growing, can be bloomed under fluorescent light (but you have to grow them fairly close to the tubes for best results) or in windowsills of course, and they have wild colors and patterns. The one shown is even lightly fragrant. It might be better if they were more strongly fragrant, but I can be satisfied with lightly fragrant, and not everyone always likes the style of, "nice perfume, must you bathe in it?" that you often sniff in Cattleyas.

I bought a good size batch of these seedlings a while back, but they've been selling well. Everyone seems to agree that they're exciting, so I only have a few left. See the listing for more examples of Fire Magic flowers.