Growing Orchids: June in St. Augustine
Based on AOS monthly checklists by Robert Scully and Ned Nash & James Rose, adapted to St. Augustine by local growers
General Orchid Growing Tips
Spring's mild days are gone. The late spring-early summer growing conditions induce vigorous vegetative activity. Orchids repotted earlier should be showing abundant root development and new growth. With the sun higher and more intense for more hours each day, higher day and night temperatures, excellent air circulation and a fresh growing medium, orchids will consume more food for high quality flowers next season. If you switched to nighttime watering during spring, it is time to resume morning watering so the leaves will be dry by evening.
The showy Laelia purpurata and tenebrosa are in bloom this month. You can repot individual plants later in the year if they need it, but the bulk of your cattleya repotting should be completed this month. The remaining months of the growing season will give the plants time to develop adequate new growth for next season's flowers. Cattleyas grown outside must be protected from excessive rainfall.
Cymbidiums are heavy feeders and the plants are growing fast now so fertilizer is a must. Use a good Cal Mag fertilizer and top dress with a 50/25/25 mix of crushed seashell, gypsum and granular dolomite lime and 15-8-11 controlled release fertilizer. Fertilize devonianum and its primary hybrids at half that rate.
Dendrobiums resent being repotted, but it you have some that have grown totally out of their pot or the potting mix has degraded, finish repotting them this month. Dendrobium canes grow closely together and many years growth can be accommodated in the same pot. Use a small pot and a largely inorganic mix like lava rock or aliflor that won't degrade; add just a little nutrient holding tree fern, coco husk or bark to the mix. Look at your deciduous cane-type dendrobiums that bloomed this spring and consider mounting them. They should be drenched with water and fertilizer during the summer months.
Complete repotting of phalaenopsis this month. If your phal is still in bloom by the end of the month, consider cutting the inflorescence and placing it in a vase to enjoy for another week. Don't be greedy, a phal will deteriorate if forced to carry its inflorescence too long during the long, hot summer days. Repot and allow it to develop new roots and leaves for next year's blooming season. After new roots appear, water more frequently with a dilute fertilizer solution.
Vandas enjoy bright, but not direct, sunlight, an abundance of water and fertilizer and copious amounts of fresh air. Wet the roots once or twice a day until they turn green and after an hour or so, spray the roots with a fertilizer solution. With enough light, water, fertilizer and air, your plants will reward you with beautiful blooms.