MOST IMPORTANT SPECIFIC CULTIVATION INSTRUCTIONS FOR PLEIONE

Temperature ; Most species and hybrids are frost resistant and withstand temperatures between minus 5 and plus 28 °C Except from a few autumn flowering species they do need a cold winter rest at temp’s between -5 ° C  and +10 °C for two to three months to get good results . Many species do well when they get some frost in winter, if kept dry. It helps keeping pests under controle. They do not stand heat in summer , supply enough moisture at warm temp’s and if greenhouses get too warm , put them in a cool shady place outdoors .

Light ; One may give them full sunlight between November and February , and relatively cool shady conditions in growing stage, morning sun is beneficial though.

Humidity ; Critical is keeping plants dry in cold rest periods. As those plants are affected by monsoon rains in nature ,  they need abundant watering in peak summer . Watering need to be increased gradually as new growths start to develop . During growing season plants may not become dry, as the thin unbranched roots may be lost and will not be replaced afterwards !  We advise not to water on top as long as flowers have not gone over. Sensitive species could be watered from below until new leaf is fully developed.                    

Compost ; Very tolerant , most species do well with a compost of medium graded bark , pumice gravel and/or perlite and freshly fallen and cut  oak and beech- leaves, more or less equal parts . Providing good drainage , one can use some moss or sphagnum to make it more water retentive. A cover of some kind of living moss has proved very beneficial for sensitive species . Several species are very salt sensitive, P. forrestii,               P. grandiflora...,  and require compost of bark/ sphagnum and quartz only, and plastic containers, no terracotta- .

Repotting ; Yearly, or each two to 3 years , in winter or in February latest , just before growing starts .

Water quality ; Rainwater is advisable , at least for salt sensitive species. Otherwise good quality tap water low salt and chlorine poor .Good oxygen rich water is essential .

Fertiliser ; Not before new roots are well developed, somewhere in July for most species. For hybrids and fast growing species one may use slow release grains up to 10 grains for strong growing hybrids or a good quality chemical fertiliser dissolved in spraying water. Salt sensitive species need very few high quality mineral fertilizer, late in the growing season only, preferable rich of potassium. And as most terrestrial orchids, the preferable N- source is Nitrate, no ureum and few ammonia  .

Protection ; These are very strong plants, mites, aphides, snails and slugs can cause some trouble at the start of the growing and need to be controled to avoid spreading virus infection . It is more a question of getting  growing conditions  well balanced , especially the  relationship temperature and humidity . For many species, exposure to frost in winter helps keeping pests under controle.

 

MOST IMPORTANT SPECIFIC CULTIVATION INSTRUCTIONS FOR OPHRYS AND OTHER MEDITERRANEAN SPECIES

Temperature ; Most species and hybrids are frost resistant and withstand temperatures between minus 5 and plus 35 °C . They are all winter growing and summer dormant .

Light ; We recommend full sunlight in growing stage , from autumn to spring and shade during dormancy in summer. Above latitude of 50 °, we advise extra UV rich artificial light during winter months to encourage growth and resistance against disease.

Humidity ; Even moist - , never wet ,conditions when growing .Best to put them outside in full sunlight en let September rains initiate growing . Never let them dry out in growing period this results in the plants going into dormancy too early . During summer rest , keep them almost dry , very few sprayings , equal to what they should get from morning dew .

Compost ; Depending on the species , with or without limestone or oyster shells . Mixes need to be very well drained with few water retentive substances . Mixture of pumice gravel and stone chips fifty/ fifty , and some organic free loam or clay , no more than 10 % .As organics , one may use some freshly fallen oak or beech-leaves and sphagnum  but never more than 5 %  total organics.

Repotting ; Best in July or August . Use oversized containers and keep them several years in the same pots .

Water quality ; Rainwater is advisable , otherwise good quality tap water chlorine free . Let rainwater wash away any salt build up in September in order to use new fertiliser once the new growth is well developed .

Fertiliser ; Little , a few grains long-term –slow-release fertiliser per pot away from the growths , applied fist part of November .

Protection ; Some species are sensitive . The worst treat is water in the crown during cold dark and wet days . Some preventive protection with systemic fungicides is more than likely when alpine houses or greenhouses are kept close during frost days . Otherwise , give them as much air and light as you can . Sometimes aphides need to be controlled as well .

 

MOST IMPORTANT SPECIFIC CULTIVATION INSTRUCTIONS FOR EPIPACTIS

Temperature ; Most species and hybrids are frost resistant and withstand temperatures between minus 15 and plus 35 °C .Some hybrids need winter protection during severe frost, if one of the parents is of Mediterranean origin . Just one key rule, keep roots cool in all circumstances !

Light ; Very tolerant, mostly full sunlight , no protection at noontime required . Shade is possible as well, but produces less flowers .

Humidity ; Humid to wet conditions when growing and even completely submerged in cold rest period .Soil may not be too wet in full summer , risk of anaerobic soils.

Compost ; Very tolerant , as long as pH. Is neutral , between 5.5 and 7 . Providing good drainage , one can use many media such as pumice gravel, coarse sand , loam and clay (max 5 %) , peat, fen soil , sphagnum , coco peat, oyster shells . Organics preferable less than 20 % .

Repotting ; Yearly in autumn, winter and spring when still dormant , or in late spring when growths have reached maturity .

Water quality ; Rainwater is advisable , otherwise good quality tap water chlorine poor . Good oxygen rich water is essential .

Fertiliser ; Epipactis is an easy strong growing orchid genus , that needs more fertiliser as other species , so one may use a good quality chemical fertiliser in growing phase , dissolved in the water as a surplus . As basic fertiliser we use slow release grains once a year , 10 grains per mature plant in spring when shoots break through the surface . Terrestrial orchids need few nitrogen( no eureum ! ) and much pottasium.

Protection ; These are very strong plants ,rarely aphides can cause some trouble if growing conditions are not well balanced .Small growths and yellow leaves sometimes show up when there is something wrong with soil pH or nutrient availability .

MOST IMPORTANT SPECIFIC CULTIVATION INSTRUCTIONS FOR DISA.

Temperature ; Preferable frost free , between 0 °C and 35 ° C , roots always below 25 ° C .

Light ; As much as possible avoiding warming up of the root system ,  practically full light in winter, preferable with the support of UV rich artificial light in winter for countries above 50 ° latitude  In summer we shade for no more than 50 % .

Humidity ; Air at least 50 % , compost always humid , never allowed to dry out .

Compost ; Pure washed quartz , aquarium sand quality ,1- to 2 mm particles , 2- to 5 mm for drainage and cover . Sphagnum , peat, perlite and artificial gravel can be used in mixes as well, but these substances destabilize pH after time . Pay special attention to salt build up of compost . Regular rinsing with low salt water is a must .

Repotting ; After flowering , when old growth dies off and new one is already well developed.

Water quality ; Most important factor in disa cultivation. Disa is a " water plant orchid " , it needs oxygen rich - and very low salt content water , always below 250µ Siemens conductivity, fertilizer included! .pH . of water should be between 4.5 and 6.2 , ideal being 5.4 both for irrigation water and drainage-water . In most cases rainwater  is very suitable,  but one must keep it saturated with oxygen by using an airpump for the  the water reservoir.

Fertiliser ; Best is using high quality chemical fertiliser dissolved in the water up to 200 µ Siemens in growing stage , when temperatures are  between 12 and 15 ° C , and no more than 150 µ Siemens in full summer and winter period and during one month after flowering when irrigating water has it's highest temperature, and thus it's lowest oxygen level!

Protection ; Avoid pest and disease by giving well balanced growing conditions and as much air movement as possible . In winter when greenhouse is closed over a longer period , some protection of systemic fungicides is preferable .Never use strong solutions , disa leaves are very sensitive . Insects can easily be controlled by carnivorous plants ( need same growing conditions ) and glue traps .When plants do not do well, you can put them under water in oxygen rich, low salt or rainwater of 10 to 15 ° C for a while in order to wash off all salts. This is the best curing action for unhealthy disas. Too warm and too rich grown disa could get very big  but then they are very sensative for insects pests and diseases, so keep them healthy by growing them poor, small and sturdy and use bio pest controle. The flower colour will be even much more intense.

 

MOST IMPORTANT SPECIFIC CULTIVATION INSTRUCTIONS FOR ORCHIS AND DACTYLORHIZA

Temperature ; Most native species are frost resistant and withstand temperatures between minus 15 and plus 35 °C . They especially like important differences between day- and night temperature . 

Light ; Mostly full sunlight , no protection at noontime required .    

Humidity ; Depending on the species , mostly humid in growing phase . Most Dactylorhiza ‘s withstands  wet conditions when growing and even completely submerged in wintertime. Late and midsummer they like soils to dry out partly.

Compost ; For garden soils , sandy, loamy or clay-soils , with an open organic cover (peat, leaves, moss ) and poor of organics beneath  . Pot culture , in order to keep an open well drained mix it is better to use pumice- and or quartz gravel with organic poor loam or structured clay,which is necessary to maintain stable pH, ... but no more than 5 % .

Repotting ; Yearly in autumn, winter and spring when still dormant , or in late spring when growths have reached maturity .

Water quality ; Rainwater is advisable , otherwise good quality tap water chlorine less .

Fertiliser ; Only for pot plants , slow release fertiliser , once a year when growths have reached maturity . 2 to 5 grains per plant . Washing out salt build up before going into rest is beneficial, as for most terrestrial orchids.                               

Protection ; Good air movement and open growing conditions , strong light and heavy temperature drops at night are essential . Sometimes snails and aphids need to be controlled .

Protection ; Hybrids and artificially breaded plants are much more resistant .Snails and slugs need to be controlled when new shoots develop. Aphides must always be destroyed from the first sight because they open the door for other detrimental diseases that often lead to destruction of the plant . High salt levels of garden soils could weaken the proper fungus and encourage bacteria. In this case the plants loose their anti bodies and get vulnarable for all kinds of destructive diseases" black leaf " . 

 

MOST IMPORTANT SPECIFIC CULTIVATION INSTRUCTIONS FOR CYPRIPEDIUM .

Temperature ; Cool temperate , most between minus 15 °C and plus 30 °C . Many species are frost resistant in dormant phase . Once growing starts , frost is very harmful . High temperature of root system (over 25 °C ) in summer is cause of death number one ! Stable cold winter temperatures are beneficial . Cool root system at all times is crucial !

Light; Full light in morning as this is combined with low air temperatures , always shade afternoon . Never let light warm up the soil, apply appropriate soil cover.

Humidity ; Depending on the species , most species like humid, not wet , growing conditions , and rather dry soils when dormant . Air humidity should be at least 50 % in growing phase .

Compost ; Depending on species , acid or alkaline , with or without limestone or oyster shells. Always very well drained , and if not acid , always poor of organics , no more than 10 % .Suitable materials are pumice gravel, stone ships, coarse sand , seramis ,highly structured clay and loam (cannot get liquid ) . As organics we can use freshly fallen leaves , fen soil ( no peat ). A cover of  a suitable coarse type of moss, pine needles, sphagnum or Oak/ Beech- leaves  is beneficial .

Repotting ; Cypripedium grows best in a cool spot in the garden, a north facing wall for instance .You may plant them in autumn and spring when still dormant , or in summer after flowering when growths have reached maturity . For pot cultivation ,  use oversized containers and keep them several years ( not more than 5 years) in the same containers . Washing off any salt build up with rainwater and give them some kind of top dressing with fresh substrate before dormancy helps a lot for keeping your valuable plants in good health.

Water quality ; Good quality of water is essential , chlorine less tap water , or rainwater is even better . pH is less important .

Fertiliser ; Our opinion is now that a well adapted chemical fertilizer is best for cypripedium. Ammonia and ureum as N-source are not good at all for cypripedium, so we prefer a mineral fertilizer that only contains Nitrate as N-source . This way we avoid that  the natural fungus of the orchid can be weakened in such a way that bacteria have no resistance to attach the plant. In fact the orchid fungus acts as a anti body against threatening diseases. 

Protection ; Hybrids and artificially breaded plants are much more resistant .Snails and slugs need to be controlled when new shoots develop. Aphides must be destroyed from the first sight because they open the door for other detrimental diseases that often lead to destruction of the plant . High temperatures and humidity during dormancy can cause instant rot , so sensitive species need protection against winter rains, or could be put in a refrigerator in winter .Well balanced growing conditions and good open air are beneficial .