- The growing season is now well and truely under way. Root action should be strong, with also strong
new growths being produced on those plants in good condition. The aim of our culture is to ensure this active growth
is maintained for as long and as vigorously as possible. Remember, if a plant does receive a check in its growth,
it is often some time before growth can be returned to optimum levels, and any check can affect subsequent flower
production. Just because a plant has no flowers at this time of the year, do not forget about it, or you will find
subsequent flowering will be reduced.
- All repotting should have been completed by now, with the plants showing their
appreciation of new media by strong healthy growth. Unless a plant is obviously in poor condition, defer any uncompleted
repotting now until early autumn.
- The temperature now will be increasing, with the lengthening days. All plants should now be in their
summer homes. Do not leave the plants in an ;enclosed glasshouse or porch as they need plenty of fresh moving
air at this time of the year. Summer night temperatures no higher than 10 - 12 degrees celsius for cymbidiums are
essential for the completion of successful bud initiation of next years flowers,
and this temperature level will not be achieved in most glasshouses. Growing a plant too warm at this time
of the year is the most common reason for non flowering of cymbidiums. The low temperature;bud initiation
response is enhanced by higher light levels, and in a glasshouse this increased light will only raise temperatures
- It is generally recommended that plants be in shadehouse, under say 30% shade, or under the outer branches
of a tree will also suffice. Some protection of the strongest mid-day sun will be appreciated, but direct sun early
and late in the day will be enjoyed by the plants. If you have been growing your plants somewhat shaded, to not
expose them suddenly to direct sun, otherwise burning of the foliage can occur. You do not sunbathe in full sun
for a long period when you first go on your holiday, so tread your plants the same by introducing them to the summer
sun gradually. Aim to have the leaves a yellow-green colour; if they are a deep green generally not enough light
is being given.
- If you place the plants outside, keep them off the ground on bricks or wood. This prevents the entry of earthworms
into the mix, and also allows better ventilation around the plants.
- With the warmer conditions and more active growth, greater attention to watering is required. When you
do water your plants, apply copious quantities and allow the surplus to run freely from the container. If you spray,
dampen the mix first, then, some minutes later, give another good soaking. This ensures the mix gets truly wet,
and the application of plenty of water allows the flushing out from the mix of any salts which may have accumulated.
Allow the top 25 to 50 mm of the media in larger pots to dry before watering again. Remember overwatering involves
the too frequent watering of the plants; if you do this the roots can die as the essential access of air
to the roots is prevented. The actual frequency of watering will vary, as such factors as the weather, size of
the pot, growing media utilised, and growth activity ;determines water utilisation, and therefore each grower must
assess their own situation.. The correct watering of the plants at this time of the year is most important, and
should not be neglected. If you are going away for your holidays, try and get someone to care for your plants.
While they should survive your absence, if they are neglected, their growth may be interrupted, which in turn can
cause reduction in next seasons flower production.
- The plants will appreciate some fertiliser during this period of their most active
growth. While the new vegetative growths are small, a higher nitrogen fertiliser is appropriate, especially in
bark based growing media. As the growths mature and reach their full size, a change to a lower nitrogen fertiliser
will assist in the maturing of the pseudobulbs, and assist in flower bud initiation. Generally a low nitrogen,
high potash fertiliser will be best from mid-summer on. Flowering may be also encouraged by applying magnesium
sulphate (Epsom salts) at the rate of one teaspoonful per 5 litres of water monthly from mid summer to mid autumn
(fall). Adequate magnesium sulphate supplies can also be ensured by using Magamp, a slow release fertiliser that
contains this element.
- Watch for red spider mite
and false spider mite infections at this time of the year. The effects of these pests can be reduced by maintaining
higher humidity around the plants. The frequent misting of the plants, especially on the underside of the foliage,
can reduce the infestation, and the plants will additionally appreciate the moisture and cooling effect. If the
pests do become established, chemical sprays may be required. Malathion will control, although specific insecticides
may give better results; often two applications given 7 to 10 days apart will ensure a complete kill. The suitable
chemicals should be used with care, because although they are of relatively low toxicity, they are still poisons
and can still affect to grower or other persons if they are not used correctly. Make sure you read the product
labels, and apply correctly and observe all stated precautions.
- Those growing the early flowering plants may already be enjoying the excitement of seeing the new flower
spikes. Look at, and handle your plants frequently to see the progress in their growth, and to ensure adequate
protection can be given to the spikes once they are seen.