Thursday, May 28, 2009

Arranging Orchid Flowers

Nothing is more elegant than orchids in a flower arrangement. They’ve always represented the pinnacle of good taste and sophistication. The key to using them for such purposes is to keep it simple and not to let the elegance of the orchids get overwhelmed by too many other elements.

A super-simple homemade orchid flower preservative
Here’s an easy recipe for making your cut orchids last longer. Combine one 12-ounce can of a lemon-flavored soda drink (like Sprite or 7-Up), an equal quantity of water, and 1 teaspoon of household bleach. The sugar in the soft drink serves as food for the flower, the citric acid lowers the pH (increases the acidity), and the bleach kills the bacteria in the water that can plug up the water-conducting network in the flower stem.

Understanding the three basic flower-design elements
When it comes to flower arranging, flowers and greens comes in three basic shapes — line, mass, and filler. All of these play a key part in the construction of an attractive flower arrangement:
  1. Line flowers are tall and are used to give your arrangement height and width. Various branched orchids with buds (for example, oncidiums and cymbidiums) are used to create this effect.
  2. Mass flowers give your bouquet weight or mass and are generally round or full-faced. They’re usually the focal point of color and interest in a bouquet. Examples are cattleyas and their relatives, as well as paphiopedilums and angraecums.
  3. Filler flowers have stems with many little flowers and usually have fine textured foliage. Examples are miniature oncidiums.
Here are some tips on how to make simple, yet elegant, arrangements:
  1. Line flowers, by themselves, can make a striking arrangement in a tall, cylindrical vase. Select a vase or container that is in proportion to the flowers. The vase should be about one-half to one-third the size of the total arrangement. For instance, 3-foot-tall spikes of cymbidiums or oncidiums need a vase 12 to 18 inches tall.
  2. You can arrange mass flowers by themselves in a low, wide vase or container (see Figure 4-4).
  3. A small arrangement of filler flowers by themselves can add a light, elegant touch to any room. Many of these filler flowers are well suited for drying.
  4. Some flowers can be used as more than one element. For example, phalaenopsis sprays, especially the multifloral types, can be used as line elements, while large single flowers can be used as mass flowers.

Supporting the orchid flower stems
Having some method of supporting the stems of orchids in an arrangement, so you can arrange them to face the direction you prefer, is usually a good idea. Here are several methods and materials you can use:
  1. For a clear vase, add marbles or rocks.
  2. Crossing the top opening of the vase in a tic-tac-toe pattern of florist’s tape works well.
  3. Frogs (pincushions on which the orchid stems are impaled) work well in shallower containers.
  4. Florist foam is most popular with professional arrangers because it’s easy to use, effective, and retains water well so that the flowers last. It’s usually used in low containers.
Don’t cut the orchid flowers until they’re fully open. Otherwise, they may never have their proper shape or complete color.

Making your orchid arrangement last longer
To make your cut flowers last longer, follow these suggestions:
  1. For cymbidiums, wait about ten days to two weeks after they’ve flowered before cutting; for cattleyas, wait several days. Cut the orchids only when they’ve fully opened.
  2. Before you put the orchids into a vase, their stems should be recut at an angle under water. To keep them fresh, recut them every several days.
  3. Condition the orchids first, before arranging them. Place their stems in warm (180°F/82°C), fresh water and let them sit somewhere cool (around 50°F/10°C) overnight.
  4. Make sure all leaves that will be submerged under water in the vase are removed.
  5. To use orchids’ short stems (like cattleyas) in taller arrangements, insert the flower stem into orchid tubes (waterholding test tubes, available at your local florist) and then tape the tubes to a wood stake for more height.
  6. Add a commercial or homemade solution of floral preservative (see the nearby sidebar) to the warm water containing the flowers. Change this water and solution every three to four days.
  7. Place the arrangement out of the direct rays of sunlight and in a cool room.
  8. Double the life of your orchid flowers by placing the arrangement in the refrigerator at night or when you’re away from home.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Displaying Orchid Plants In Your Home

When you’re showing off your prized blooming plants in your home, here a few tips to keep in mind:
  1. Be sure to protect your furniture by placing the orchid plant pots on waterproof pads, like cork platters.
  2. If you place your plants on saucers, be sure they’re waterproof. Terra cotta platters are porous and moisture will seep through and can cause serious damage to unprotected wood furniture.
  3. Place felt or rubber protectors under cachepots, platters, or saucers so your furniture won’t be scratched.
  4. Place the blooming plants where they get bright light but not hot, late-afternoon light, so the flowers will last longer.
  5. If the growing pot is encrusted or ugly, insert it into a larger ornamental pot or basket. Choose simple green, white, or neutral colors that don’t compete with the orchid flowers.
  6. Place a layer of sheet moss or Spanish moss on the surface of the pot. This is a nice touch for covering up the sometimes unattractive potting material.
  7. Display the orchid on a pedestal or higher elevation so you can view it at eye level (see Figure 4-3). Few orchids are as attractive when they’re viewed from above.
  8. Think about how you will light your orchids to display them best. Many people are only able to view their orchids during the work week in the evening, so artificial lighting plays an important part in viewing them. Track lights work great. Use halogen or other bulbs that produce white light or as close to sunlight as possible so the orchid flowers will be rendered accurately. Regular incandescent light produces a yellow/red light that will make reds glow but that really dulls blues and greens.
  9. Group orchids with other tropical foliage plants. These provide an attractive backdrop for the orchid flowers.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Helping Your Orchids Look Their Best

After growing the plants for months on the windowsill, under lights, or in a greenhouse, they can look a little rough around the edges. The leaves are probably dusty and/or blemished with chemical deposits, older leaves may be wilted or dead, and some of the tips of the leaves may be brown.

When the plants are in flower and you want to show them off to their best in your home or get them ready to exhibit in an orchid show, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind:
  1. Clean their leaves. A simple way to polish the leaves is with milk. Dampen a paper towel with milk and rub off the blemishes. This will give a very attractive sheen that is harmless to the plant.
  2. Carefully remove any dead or severely damaged leaves.
  3. If you’re planning to bring your orchid to a show, be sure that you tape to the pot the name of your orchid plus your own name so that you don’t lose the plant. Also, make a list of what plants you’ve entered so you have a record.
  4. Trim off the brown tips of leaves with very sharp scissors. The sharper they are, the cleaner the cut and the less leaftissue damage will result. When trimming, follow the natural shape of the leaf, as shown in Figure 4-2.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Staking and Grooming Your Blooming Orchids

Orchids deserve to look their best when they’re putting on their show. Proper staking and grooming can make a big difference in how orchid flowers appear.

Figuring out how to stake
Flowers and spikes of orchids can be heavy and, if they aren’t staked properly, they’ll open at an awkward and disconcerting angle. This can be a distraction, because the most interesting and
alluring perspective to view orchids is usually the head-on view.

Staking techniques vary somewhat with the type of orchid. The two major types are the spray orchids, like phalaenopsis and oncidiums, or those with single flowers or just a few on one spike,
like cattleyas and most paphiopedilums.

For spray-type orchids
Be sure to start this process before these orchids are actually in flower. This will ensure that the flowers are oriented correctly when they open. Here are the steps I recommend:
  1. As soon as the flower spike is about 12 inches (30 cm) long, insert a vertical bamboo stake (you can get a green one, so it blends in better) close to where the spike originates at the base of the plant (see Figure 4-1).
  2. As you insert the stake, twist it to work it around roots to minimize damage to them.
  3. Attach the first tie on the lower part of the spike close to the first node (the bump in the flower stem). Use twist-ties or Velcro, not sharp string or wire, which could damage the stem.
  4. Attach another tie a few inches higher on the flower spike.
  5. Put additional ties every few inches as the flower spike grows.
  6. Place the last tie a few inches below where the first flower buds are forming. This allows the spike to form a natural arch with the first flower open at the highest point and the others gracefully following suit right below that one.

Flower spikes always grow in the direction of the strongest light. After the flower spike reaches about 12 inches (30 cm) tall and the buds are starting to form, never change the plant’s orientation to the light source. If you do, the spike will try to reorient itself and you’ll end up with a twisted, distorted spike with flowers opening in all directions.

When the flowers are fully open, they’ll stay that way, so you can then move the plant anywhere you want.

For single- or few-flowered orchids
Staking these orchids is simpler. When the bud or buds start to swell on the flower spike, insert a vertical bamboo stake close to where the spike originates at the base of the plant.

Be sure to do this before the flower has opened so that the bud will orient itself to gravity. If the flower spike is at an angle, the flower will adjust itself to open perpendicular to the angle the flower stem is pointing. If you tie the spike up after it has opened, it will keep its original orientation and will look awkward.

In the last few years, orchid growers have discovered one of the best ways to attach upright flowering stems to bamboo or wood stakes: spring-operated baby hair clips! They’re available in all colors, are inexpensive, and frequently are formed in whimsical shapes of butterflies or dragonflies, which fit well with the orchid look. Plus, they work well!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Caring for Orchids in Their New Home

Bringing an orchid plant into its new home can be traumatic for both the plant and you! You have to get to know each other. Most orchids you buy will have come from a very high-light, high-humidity environment of a commercial greenhouse. You bring them into your home environment, which is usually less bright with lower humidity, so the plant has to make some adjustments. Doing this with the least amount of distress is your goal, and in this section, I help you get there.

In Chapter 5, I give you the details of routine orchid care, but here I want to give you some tips that will make the short-term transition easier for both of you.

If the plant is in bloom
Here are some tips that will make the flowers on your new orchid last longer:
  1. Place the plant somewhere in your house that’s bright, but where it won’t get direct sunlight, except possibly in the morning. Too much harsh sunlight can bleach out the flowers.
  2. Keep the plant on the cool side — not above about 75°F (about 24°C). Flowers stay fresher longer this way.
  3. Be sure to keep the plant well watered. Even though the orchid plant stops growing much when it’s in bloom, theleaves and flowers still need water.
  4. Don’t let any bees or flies in the room where your orchids are blooming. If the bees or flies pollinate them, the flowers will collapse afterward.
  5. Don’t put the plant close to ripe fruit. Fruit gives off ethylene gas, which can cause flowers to collapse prematurely.
  6. Keep your orchid plants away from strong fumes like paint thinners or other pollutants. These can cause the blossoms to fade.
  7. Don’t spray the flowers with water or place the blooming plant in a room that is highly humid with no air movement. This can cause spotting on the flowers from fungal diseases.
If the plant is not in bloom
Before you add your new, not-yet-blooming orchid to your collection, follow these tips:
  1. Look under the leaves and at the younger growth to make sure there are no bugs.
  2. To be on the safe side, isolate this new plant from your collection for at least three weeks. This will allow time for hidden insect eggs to hatch out.
  3. As a further precaution, spray the plant thoroughly with an insecticidal soap. Use a paper towel to wipe off the excess spray. This will not only kill any soft-bodied insects but will also clean the leaves.
  4. Consider repotting the orchid into your own potting mix. That way you’ll be assured that the potting mix is fresh and you’ll know its watering requirements.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Humidifiers, Heaters, and Ventilation Equipment

Your home environment is designed to make you, not necessarily your plants, comfortable. Fortunately, many of your living requirements are the same as the living requirements for most of the orchids in this book. In some cases, though, you’ll need to modify your orchids’ growing space to better suit them.

The importance of providing sufficient humidity for better health for both you and your orchids is detailed in Chapter 5. To humidify an entire room, there are at least three possible approaches, covered in the following sections.

Evaporative-pad humidifiers
With these units, fans blow across a moisture-laden pad that sits in a reservoir of water. Evaporative-pad humidifiers are my first choice for home humidification because
  1. They’re reasonably priced and readily available.
  2. They don’t spray the room with droplets of water that can carry mineral deposits and bacteria.
  3. They circulate air at the same time.
  4. They only increase the humidity to about 50 to 60 percent (most have an adjustable humidistat, which measures humidity). This is a level that is beneficial to plants, but not sufficient to cause moisture damage to the house.
  5. They require no plumbing and very little maintenance just change the moisture pads one or two times a season.
Cool-mist humidifiers
Cool-mist humidifiers can be effective for small areas, but with constant use, they can cause deposits of minerals on leaves and be a bacteria carrier.

Greenhouse-type foggers or humidifiers
If you have a greenhouse or a very large growing area that really needs a lot of humidity, a greenhouse-type fogger or humidifier is for you. These units can be pricey. They’re plumbed into a constant water supply that is controlled by a float (much like a toilet bowl). The humidity level can be regulated by a separately purchased humidistat.

Adequate air circulation is very important in orchid culture. Fortunately, many convenient and inexpensive pieces of equipment do this job admirably. Here are some of the best choices:
  1. Ceiling fans: These are readily available and do a super job of moving large volumes of air in a figure-8 pattern at a low velocity. Most of them have reversible motors, so they can either be set to pull the cooler air from the floor (usually the summer setting) or push hot air down from the ceiling (usually the winter setting).
  2. Oscillating and standard fans: You can find these in all blade sizes, and most have variable speeds. All will do the job, but you’re better off getting one with a larger blade size and running it at low speed. This will move more air but not at as high a velocity, so the plants won’t become dehydrated by a strong air current. Also, for oscillating types, splurge on a better-grade model that has metal or heavy-duty gears; otherwise, they’ll strip in short order, and you’ll then have a stationary fan.
  3. Muffin fans: These are very small, handy fans (3 to 6 inches/ 8 to 15 cm) that are used to cool electronic equipment like computers. They’re great for bringing a gentle, quiet breeze to a small corner of your growing area. You can find them at electronic or computer-supply stores or in catalogs.
For more information on the importance of ventilation and air movement, see Chapter 5.

If you’re like most people, you’ll rely on your home heating system to provide most of the heat for your orchids. You can supplement that with small electric heaters or water-resistant heating mats commonly used to start seeds. If you’re growing under lights, you can enclose your growing area in plastic film to help retain heat produced by the lights and ballasts.

Thermometers and hygrometers
I have to admit, and my wife will quickly concur, that I’m a nut about temperature and humidity monitoring. I’ve got remote sensors all over my home that tell me maximum and minimum temperature and humidity levels each day. As I explain in Chapter 5, temperature differentials are important to know about if you’re interested in getting your orchids to bloom. Thanks to modern digital thermometers and hygrometers that are simple to use and not expensive, you can keep track of temperature and humidity with little effort.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Watering Accessories

Mastering the art of watering is one of the critical keys to success in orchid culture (see Chapter 6). These accessories deliver water, and in some cases fertilizer, gently and effectively.

Water breakers
Water breakers are attached to the end of a hose to diffuse the water and prevent it from washing out the orchid potting material (see Figure 3-4). They deliver a large volume of water, but in a very gentle way — and they work really well.

You can find water breakers that deliver different volumes and water patterns such as mist, fine shower, jet, or flood. Some watering heads can be dialed to whichever of these forms you want —
very handy.

You’re usually better off choosing the water breaker that delivers the finest steam of water possible. This will be most useful for the broadest range of watering applications.

Water-flow regulators
Water-flow regulators are attached to the hose before the water breaker to regulate the volume of water. The simplest ones are manual on/off valves. I find the thumb or squeeze valves are easiest to use more precisely and determine the volume of water you want to deliver to your orchids (see Figure 3-5).

Buy the best-quality hose you can find. The better ones will not kink and will last much longer.

If hoses tend to get in the way, consider the newer “coil” hoses. They take up much less space and can be attached to a sink spigot. Again, buy the best grade you can find — the cheaper ones tend to kink very easily.

Watering cans
Many of the sprinkling or watering cans on the market are close to worthless for using on orchids. They deliver too much water too fast and are awkward to use in tight indoor spaces. The best type to use, for most situations, is one that holds 1⁄2 to 1 gallon (2 to 4 liters), has a long spout (so you can reach orchids in the back row), and has a removable water breaker (sometimes called a rose) on the end of its spout that delivers a very fine stream of water (see Figure 3-6). The watering can may be made of metal or plastic, but the water breaker should be made of metal, preferably a nonrusting one, like copper.

Sprayers and misters
You can use sprayers and misters for misting the orchids to temporarily increase the humidity, to clean the leaves, or for applying pesticides. If you’re going to use any chemicals in them, the plastic sprayers are less prone to being affected by these corrosive materials
so they’re a better choice than metal ones.

One type of hand sprayer that I’ve found particularly effective for applying insecticides is a teat sprayer because its spray head points up instead of straight forward like standard sprayers. These are actually used to wash off cow udders (hence, the name), so they’re sold at farm-supply stores. But for orchid growers, they serve admirably to apply these chemicals to the undersides of leaves, where the bugs usually hang out (see Figure 3-7).

Fertilizer injectors
Commercial growers use a device called a fertilizer injector that “injects” into the water a small amount of water-soluble fertilizer each time the plant is watered. In this way, the orchids are constantly fed a very diluted amount of fertilizer instead of larger amounts every two weeks or so, as is frequently done. These units tend to be on the expensive side and may be a luxury item, unless you have quite a large number of orchids to fertilize.

A much cheaper way around this is to use a simple siphon mixer. Several brands are on the market, but they all work basically the same. You attach the siphon mixer to the spigot before the hose. A flexible hollow rubber tube is inserted into a concentrated solution of fertilizer. When the spigot is turned, a suction action created by the water flowing through the hose draws this concentrate through the tubing so it flows into the water in the hose and is diluted while
it’s being applied to the orchid plants.

To get the most benefit from a siphon mixer, here are a few tips:
  1. Use a completely soluble fertilizer so it won’t plug up the unit.
  2. Use a water breaker that functions with a low volume of water. The water flow coming out the end of the hose will be significantly reduced when the siphon mixer is attached.
  3. Be sure the unit you have also has a backflow preventer. That way, when you turn off the water breaker, but not the spigot, the back pressure won’t cause the concentrated fertilizer solution to flush back into your house water or back into your fertilizer concentrate.
  4. To be on the safe side, use the siphon mixer only for applying fertilizers, not pesticides.
  5. Be careful to dilute the fertilizer to the correct concentration. These usually inject the fertilizer on a 1:16 fertilizer-to-water ratio, but always read the directions that come with the unit.
Deionization and reverse osmosis units
Deionization and reverse osmosis units are used to purify your well or tap water to reduce or eliminate concentrations of salts that can be harmful to some particularly sensitive orchids. The
units aren’t cheap and can be cumbersome and bothersome to use. So, before you consider getting one, make sure you need it.

Here are some things to consider before you buy:
  1. If your orchids and other houseplants have been growing, then don’t worry about using a deionization or reverse osmosis unit. Most households can get by with the water they have.
  2. If you’ve had water problems or just want to be on the safe side, check with your public water provider to see what the average total dissolved solids (TDS) is in your water. If you have your own well, you’ll need to have a test done at a private water lab
• If you have 60 parts per million (ppm) or less of TDS and less than 5 ppm of sodium,
you’re home free. Your water is of good quality for orchids.
• If your water tests at 60 to 120 ppm and you have up to 10 ppm of sodium, all except the
most sensitive orchids should be okay, but you’re on the edge with water quality.
• If you have readings higher than 120 ppm for TDS or 10 ppm of sodium, you may have
more orchid-growing success if you use better-quality water. To do this, you could collect
rainwater (you can buy special rain barrels for this purpose that hook up to your
downspout), or consider buying a reverse osmosis or deionization unit.

If you’re on the higher end of the TDS level, be particularly careful not to overfertilize.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Orchid Potting Tools

The tools and supplies in this section make the potting process easier. For specific potting techniques and guidelines.

Potting tools
Potting is a combination of force and finesse. These tools make the process easier and more effective.

Regular steel-clawed hammers can be useful for breaking clay pots containing overgrown plants that can’t be removed any other way. But for most purposes, a rubber mallet comes in more handy. It’s used frequently to pound in stakes or clamps that hold newly transplanted or divided orchids in their pots.

Dibbles and planting sticks
Getting the potting material to settle in around the roots of the orchids is important because large air spaces can cause the orchid roots to dry out or not form properly. Dibbles and planting sticks are used to push the potting material into these air spaces.

Torches for sterilizing tools
Dirty cutting and potting tools can spread diseases. Preventing disease by sterilizing any tools that come in direct contact with orchid root and leaf tissue is always a good idea. You can use chemical solutions to do this (for instance, a 1:10 ratio of household bleach to water), but chemicals are very corrosive and some are toxic. A very simple way to sterilize metal tools is to flame them with a
propane or butane torch. Both are available in small handheld sizes.

Potting supplies
The orchid tag that comes with the orchid or the one you make yourself contains very important information that you want to protect. Knowing the correct name of the orchid is crucial information when you’re looking up cultural information. Also, many times the tag includes the orchid’s parents’ names, which can also provide helpful cultural clues. If you want to enter your orchid in a show, it may be disqualified without proper labeling.

So the important message is: Keep a legible label in the pots of all your orchids. Maintaining a separate list of your orchids is also a good idea. To make it easier, assign numbers to each of your plants and place this number on the label. This serves as a safety net in case the label is damaged or lost.

Many types of labels are available, in all different sizes and colors. Which size or color you choose is a personal choice — the material they’re made of is a more important consideration.

Label markers
Using the right marker can mean the difference between being able to read the name of the orchid three years after you bought it and not. Table 3-2 lists some advantages and disadvantages of each type.

Clips and stakes
Numerous types of stakes and clamps are used to hold the orchid in its pot when it has been transplanted and its roots are inadequate, by themselves, to anchor the plant. Figure 3-2 shows some samples of metal stakes. Bamboo stakes are also available.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Knowing What to Look for in an Orchid

After you consider your environment, you’re ready to go shopping. You have an idea of which types of orchids will work best where you’ll be growing them, and now you just need to look at a few things such as the plant’s health and age. I fill you in on these factors in the following sections.

Choosing a healthy plant
Picking out a healthy orchid plant is essential. Even in the best of circumstances, the orchid that you bring home will have to adapt to changes in its environment. A strong, robust plant has a much better chance of surviving this ordeal than a weak plant does.

Here’s a checklist of things to look for when you select an orchid:

  1. Look carefully at the leaves. They should be stiff, not shriveled or dehydrated. They should also have a healthy green color. Brown or black spots on leaves could mean disease, or they could be harmless; if you find spots, ask the grower about them.
  2. Look for any signs of insects. Most insects hang out on the new young growth, on the flower buds of the plant, or on the undersides of the leaves. Also check under the pot for snails or slugs.
  3. Examine the exposed roots on top of the potting material. The roots should be firm and light colored, not black, soft, and mushy.
  4. Watch out for plants infested with oxalis (which looks like clover). Oxalis is a pesky weed that is difficult to get rid of after it’s established. It will not directly harm the orchids, but it can harbor insects and is a cosmetic distraction.

Make sure the plants are labeled. Labels will be important to you later if you want to look up information on growing your particular type of orchid.

Be sure to ask the grower about the temperature, light, and humidity requirements of the orchid you’re considering. Check out its ultimate size. Then match this information with what you know about your orchid growing area.

Deciding between a blooming plant and a young plant
When you buy a mature, blooming plant, you get to see exactly what the flower of this orchid is like. Because many orchid flowers can last quite a while, you’ll be able to enjoy this orchid for weeks after you bring it home. The biggest disadvantage of blooming plants is that they’re usually the most expensive, because they’re in the highest demand.

Younger plants — ones that are months or even years away from blooming — are much less expensive than their mature counterparts. The joy in choosing these plants is anticipating when they’ll bloom and what they may look like.

If you’re a beginner, I recommend that you buy mature plants with buds or flowers. Waiting for immature plants to bloom is something you may enjoy after you have a small collection of the mature ones.

Choosing seed-grown orchids or orchid clones
Very few orchids sold today have been collected from the wild. Instead, they’ve been grown from seed. The flower color, flower size, and growth habits of these seed-grown plants vary. Seed grown plants are generally very reasonably priced.

Cloned orchids, also referred to as meristemmed or mericloned orchids, are orchids that have been multiplied from single cells, usually from a plant of very high quality, in a flask, which is a type of laboratory bottle. The result is that they’re all identical.

The advantage of purchasing a cloned orchid is that you can depend on the orchid that you buy being exactly like its parent, which is frequently an award winner. In general, these clones are a bit more expensive than the others, but they’re usually worth it.
Caring for Your New Orchid
Adding new orchids to your plant collection is exciting, but this is also a time for caution. Even though you may have been very careful in the selection process, your orchid still may be harboring insect eggs that may hatch, or it may have a disease problem that you didn’t notice before.

So, to be on the safe side, keep your new plant isolated from all your other plants for at least two to three weeks — enough time to see if any insects appear or a disease shows up. If you need to treat your new plant, doing so will be easier when it’s separated from your other plants.

Considering Your Environment

When you go to shop for orchids, you can very easily get carried away! The excitement of the moment can completely win over rational plant selection. Few beginning orchid growers take the time to consider their environment before they buy. Unfortunately, if you do this, you may end up bringing home a gorgeous orchid that’s completely wrong for you.

If possible, always choose an orchid that comes close to fitting your growing area. Even I give you pointers on how to modify your growing area to make it more suitable for orchid growth, you can only modify your environment so much. For instance, an orchid that is commonly found growing in full sun in Hawaii probably won’t take well to a windowsill during the winter in low-light areas like New England. And an orchid from the cloud forest that is drenched with almost constant rainfall and very high humidity probably won’t be happy and bloom in the hot dry air of Arizona.

In the following sections, I help you assess your environment so you can be confident that you’ll pick out a stunning orchid that is right for you and that will thrive where you live.

Taking temperature readings
Before you bring home an orchid, you need to consider the average daytime and night time temperatures in summer and winter where you live.

To determine high and low temperatures indoors get a maximum/minimum thermometer that records this information and place it in your growing area.

For an idea of what your minimum temperatures are outdoors where you live, check out the USDA hardiness map at www.usna.usda. gov If you’re a weather nut like I am, you can use a recording weather station that reads the maximum and minimum temperature, humidity, wind speed, rainfall, and barometric pressure every hour and stores this information so it can be charted. Mine has remote sensors and a wireless connection to my computer

A broad selection of temperature and weather recording instruments are available from the orchid-supplies dealers listed in the appendix.

When you’ve determined the average summer and winter temperatures in your area, turn to Table 2-1, which lists some of the most common types of orchids by temperature requirements. Notice that some orchids are adaptable enough to fit into more than one temperature range.

When orchid publications refer to temperature preferences, they always mean the evening temperature. The daytime temperature is usually about 15°F (9.5°C) higher than the evening temperature.

Measuring your light intensity
Just as important as temperature is the amount of light your orchid will get. Orchids that thrive in high light need several hours of direct sunlight (preferably in the morning to early afternoon), while those that thrive in lower light will perform with less direct and more diffused light in a windowsill or under lights.

Will you be growing the plants under artificial lights? Most light setups consist of multiple florescent lamps and can provide adequate illumination for medium- to lower-light orchids. High-intensitydischarge lamps are capable of much more light output but can be expensive to operate and generate quite a bit of heat.

How bright is your light? Figure 2-1 illustrates a simple yet effective and reasonably accurate method for determining the intensity of your light.

After you determine your light levels, turn to the following sections, which list orchids by the amount of light they need. Remember to keep in mind temperature (see the preceding section).

Bright light
The following orchids require a bright greenhouse, a very bright south-facing window, or very-high-output (VHO) fluorescent lamps (which require specialized ballasts to operate) or metal halide lamps:
  1. Angraecum
  2. Some varieties of Cymbidium
  3. Some varieties of Dendrobium
  4. Vanda

Medium light
The following orchids need a shaded greenhouse, an east-facing window, or a our-tube 40-watt florescent light fixture:
  1. Amesiella
  2. Ascocenda
  3. Ascocentrum
  4. Ascofinetia
  5. Brassavola
  6. Brassia
  7. Cattleya and hybrids
  8. Some varieties of Cymbidium
  9. Some varieties of Dendrobium
  10. Epidendrum
  11. Laelia
  12. Leptotes
  13. Masdevallia
  14. Miltonia
  15. Miltoniopsis
  16. Neofinetia
  17. Neostylis
  18. Odontoglossum
  19. Oncidium
  20. Paphiopedilum (strap-leaf multiflorals)
  21. Phragmipedium
  22. Rhynchostylis
  23. Zygopetalum

Low light
The following orchids do well with a low level of light, easily attainable with two 40-watt florescent lamps or on an east-facing windowsill:
  1. Paphiopedilum (not including strap-leaf multiflorals)
  2. Phalaenopsis
  3. All orchid seedlings

Other questions to ask yourself
In addition to considering temperature and light, you want to ask yourself the following questions:
  1. Does the growing area have moist (humid) air, or is the air very dry? If it is already humid (50 percent or greater), it’s perfect. If not, your orchids will be happier with moister air.
  2. How much space do you have to grow orchids? If you have plenty of head room, you can grow some of the taller orchids, like cane dendrobiums and full-size cattleyas. If space is at a premium, search out very compact or miniature growers.
  3. When do you want your orchids to bloom? Spring, summer, fall, or winter? In the evening or during the day? Armed with this information, you can pick those orchids that will be in bloom in the season and time of day of your choice.
  4. Do you have air circulation in the growing area? Most homes have adequate air circulation, but if your orchids are going to be located in the basement or some other spot where the air is stagnant, you’ll want to consider a fan of some type to provide them with fresh air.
When you’re armed with this information, you’ll be better prepared to choose an orchid that will thrive.

Growing Orchids Easy As One, Two, Three

To be successful in growing orchids, just follow these suggestions:
  1. Know the environment you have to offer your orchids and match this with the orchids that fit.
  2. If necessary, modify your growing area to help your orchids perform to their best.

Beyond choosing the right orchid for your environment, you have to pay attention to the time of the year to know what your orchid needs. In the following sections, I give you a rundown of the year, month by month. Note: You can’t be too exact with the timing of this care schedule, because the United States is a vast country with climates from the cold north country to semitropics.

This is a period of cold, short days and low light, so orchids don’t grow much in such times. Fortunately, many moth orchids, slipper orchids, and some other cattleyas and their relatives will be budding up getting ready to show off their splendiferous blooms very soon.
  1. For orchids such as some of the dendrobiums, cattleya species, and deciduous orchids, like the catasetums, this is a time of rest, so you’ll want to reduce your watering.
  2. Keep the humidity high with good air movement.
  3. If you are using well water, warm it up to room temperature before using it on your orchid plants. Ice-cold water can cause forming buds to drop and may stunt new growth.
  4. Don’t put your orchids too close to the windowpanes or the leaves could be damaged by the cold.
  5. Apply very little fertilizer. The orchids won’t need it.

This is another dark month, but the days will be getting longer and brighter, which should cause an increase in growth.
  1. Toward the end of this month, increased light may mean you have to be careful with your orchids that require less light, like the slippers and moth orchids, so they don’t get burned.
  2. More of your orchids will be showing buds and some, especially some of the moth orchids and some of the oncidiums, should be blooming.
  3. Don’t overcrowd your plants — make sure they receive as much light as possible.
  4. Provide good air circulation to prevent disease problems.
  5. Stake your cymbidiums, which should be spiking now.
  6. Don’t forget to keep your miltonias and miltoniopsis damp.
  7. If you’re growing under lights, take note of when you last changed your bulbs. Fluorescent lamps can lose up to 40 percent of their light output after several months of use. Because new growth is starting on orchids, this is a good time to change the lamps so the plants will receive the most light possible.
  8. Apply very little fertilizer during this month.

Finally, signs of spring with longer and brighter days.
  1. Be careful that the increased light doesn’t heat up too much in your greenhouse or windowsill. Apply shading if necessary.
  2. The increased light and warmth of this month will mean an acceleration of growth. Sprouting new roots should be more evident.
  3. This is the beginning of the show for many orchids. Many cattleyas, moth orchids, slipper orchids, and oncidiums will be starting to bloom.
  4. As the days get brighter and warmer, you can resume your regular fertilizing schedule.
  5. This month and next are prime times to check out orchid shows in your area.

In April, many orchids will be in glorious flower.
  1. You’ll probably have to increase the frequency of your watering because of the new plant growth.
  2. As soon as you see new roots emerging in cattleyas, this is the time to repot. Do it before the roots grow a few inches (5 cm) long.
  3. Many other orchids showing new growth can also be repotted at this time.
  4. Be on the lookout for bugs. The warmer temperatures cause them to hatch out.
  5. Dormant orchids should be showing new growth now so you can resume your regular watering schedule.
  6. If you didn’t apply shading on your greenhouse last month, it may be needed now.
  7. A gauze curtain may be needed to soften the light for orchids growing in a south window.
  8. Check out orchid shows in your area.

Growth will continue at full speed this month. This is another prime month for orchid flowering.
  1. More frequent watering and fertilizing will be called for.
  2. If you’re in a northern climate, move some plants to a shaded, protected spot outdoors by the end of this month, but be careful not to do this too quickly. Orchids that prefer it warm, like moth orchids, don’t appreciate being too chilled at night, not below around 65°F (18°C).
  3. Increase your ventilation to remove excess hot air and prevent fungal disease spotting on the flowers.
  4. This is usually an opportune time to repot most of your slipper orchids because they should be in active growth now. Also, repot moth orchids and their vandaceous relatives. Attend to this right after they’ve flowered.
  5. Continue your fertilizing program to strengthen new growth.

June, July, and August
Temperatures are starting to heat up now. Some orchids, like a few of the summer blooming hybrid cattleyas, oncidiums, and slipper orchids, will be in flower.
  1. Be sure your windowsill or greenhouse doesn’t get too hot. Consider moving the orchids you have in the south window to the east window, where they’ll have reduced light and heat.
  2. For orchids growing under lights, make sure your growing area gets plenty of ventilation, because it could be getting very warm now under the lights. If you have trouble keeping the temperatures low enough, consider summering your orchids outside
  3. in a shaded and protected spot. They’ll enjoy the vacation.
  4. This is also a prime time for insect problems. If it gets hot and dry, be on the lookout for mites. If it’s wet, slugs and snails will be a plague. Aphids and scale can show up anytime. If you need to spray, do it in the morning when it is cool and be sure the orchids are well watered before you spray.
  5. The orchids should now be responding to your earlier repotting efforts with new root growth.
  6. Repot miltonias. Remember: They like to be pot-bound, so don’t put them in too large of a pot.

Cool evenings and shorter days are signs of the change of season. Many of the hybrid vandas will be at their blooming peak this month. Buds will be showing up for the fall-blooming cattleyas, oncidiums, dendrobiums, angraecums, and moth orchids and slipper orchids.
  1. If you’re in a cold climate, this is the month to bring indoors any plants that have been summering outside. Before doing this, check them closely for pests. If spraying is called for, doing so is much easier while the plants are outdoors.
  2. These cooler nights are very beneficial for setting flower buds and spikes.
  3. Start cutting back on the frequency of watering deciduous orchids like catasetums (which will have yellowing foliage at this time of year).
  4. This is the time to remove shade on the greenhouse in most parts of the country.
  5. Move orchids that require a lot of light from the east window back to the southern exposure.

Some cattleya species and their relatives and hybrids will be in bloom now. So will some moth orchid species and hybrids and oncidiums.
  1. As days continue to shorten and the angle of light gets lower in the sky, position the orchids in your windowsill and greenhouse so that they capture the most light.
  2. For greenhouses and windowsills, be sure your glass or glazing surface is clean. This can make a real difference in light transmission.
  3. Growth will start to slow on many orchids from lower temperatures and light, so reduce watering and fertilizing accordingly.
  4. Get ready for winter. Insulate your greenhouse. Get a standby emergency propane heater.

November and December
Flowering spikes will be showing up on some moth orchids, slippers, and oncidiums. Some of the nobile-type dendrobiums will be starting to show buds. Low light, short days, and cold temperatures bring most orchid growth to a stop or at least a crawl. You’ll see more growth on plants grown under lights than in a greenhouse or on a windowsill because of the additional light that can be provided.
  1. For cold parts of the country, November is the last month to safely purchase mail-order plants before it gets so cold that there will be a higher risk chance for freeze damage in transit. This a great time to visit orchid nurseries to pick out holiday presents for your orchid growing friends (or yourself!).
  2. Put orchids that require more light, like vandas, in a bright window, close to the lights, or high in the greenhouse to expose them to as much light as possible.
  3. Water in the early part of the day to ensure that there is no standing moisture on the leaves. In cold, damp weather, especially, such moisture can cause disease outbreaks.

Getting to Know Your Orchids by Name

Probably one of the most intimidating hurdles that the beginning orchid grower faces is the complex names given to orchids. When you realize what an immense group of plants this is, you’ll soon come to realize why most orchids are referred to by their Latin name rather than a common name. Actually, very few orchids even have a common name. In this book, I always use the Latin name, because that’s the universally accepted name, and I add a common name when there is one.

If you struggled through high school Latin classes as I did, you may have thought (and hoped) that this language died with the Romans. Alas, it is alive and well in the natural-science world, and it’s the standard language used to name flora and fauna. You’ll start to make friends with Latin as its use become more familiar and comfortable to you.

Taking the name a little at a time makes it easier to digest. In the following sections, I show you the names, one word at a time, of a species orchid and then a hybrid.

Species orchid names
Plants that are sold as they were created by nature, not hybridized by man, are referred to as species orchids. They have two names: the genus name, which comes first and is capitalized, and the species name, which comes second and is lowercase. Both names are in Latin, so they’re italicized (which is just the way foreign languages are usually treated).

You may see a third part to the name, the botanical variety, after the species name. This is a name given to an orchid that varies somewhat — it could be a larger flower or one with slightly different coloration — from the standard species. It will be preceded by the letters “var.” and will be in lowercase and in Latin.

The genus name is much like your last name and the species name is like your first name. In other words, orchid naming is backward to the way you say your own name. If my name were written as an orchid’s is, I would be Frowine steven.

Here’s an example of the name of a species orchid: Cattleya walkeriana var. semialba. Table 1-2 explains the orchid’s name.

Hybrid orchid names
Oh, it would be so simple if naming stopped here, but man got mixed up in all this and started developing hybrids. Hybrids result from crossing two species (taking the pollen from one orchid to use it to “mate” with another). A marvelous thing happens when two different species of orchids are crossed or mated to each other. Their progeny is usually stronger, easier to grow, and frequently produces larger flowers than either of its parents — which is why hybrids are so desirable and popular.

Here’s an example of a hybrid orchid name: Brassocattleya Cynthia ‘Pink Lady’ HCC/AOS. (See the color section for a photograph of this orchid.) Table 1-3 breaks down the name and explains its various parts.

Orchid hybridizing can produce plants with quite complex names, especially in some of the very large groups like the cattleyas and the oncidiums. In these chapters,
I deal with their names in more detail.

You don’t have to be an expert in orchid names in order to enjoy and grow orchids. You’ll catch onto many other name nuances after you’re drawn further into the orchid web. For now, don’t worry about them much — they’re only names!

Turn to the Cheat Sheet at the front of this book for a list of common genera names that you’re likely to run into, along with their abbreviations and pronunciations. Tear out the Cheat Sheet and take it with you when you go shopping for orchids.

Seeing Why You Should Grow Orchids

Growing and studying orchids will provide you the ultimate horticultural experience and pleasure. Here are some key reasons to start growing orchids now:
  1. Growing orchids is fun!
  2. Orchids are easy to grow.
  3. You can start with beginner orchids that any new comer can be wildly successful with.
  4. Orchids cost less than they ever have, and you can easily select just the right one for you.
  5. No group of flowering plants comes close to the delicious perfumes that orchids emit.
  6. Orchids are available from “box” stores, specialty growers, orchid shows, garden centers, botanical gardens, orchid societies, and mail-order suppliers.
  7. Because of the huge diversity of orchids, you’ll never tire of them.
  8. You’ll meet new friends who are as fanatical about these plants as you are.
  9. Orchids don’t require an expensive green house to grow.
  10. They’ll beautify your home and life.
  11. Orchids can live forever, so as they grow you can divide and multiply them to share with your friends or to trade for other orchids.

Knowing Where Orchids Come From

About 80 percent of orchids are from the tropics in both the New World (Central and South America) and the Old World (Asia and Malaysia). A smattering can be found in North America and Europe.

The ones that grow in your home, though, are all of tropical or semitropical origin. They mostly hail from areas of high rainfall and humidity and enjoy tropical to above-freezing temperatures during the winter.

Orchids are divided into two major categories based on where they grow. Those that are commonly found clinging to branches of trees are called epiphytes; those that thrive growing on or in the ground are called semiterrestrials and terrestrials.

So how can you tell the difference between the two? Many of the terrestrial roots are hairy, like those found in the slipper orchid (see Figure 1-2). Epiphytes have thick roots (called aerial roots because they’re frequently suspended in the air), which are covered with a silvery material called velamen, which can absorb moisture from the air like a sponge.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Asal-Usul Anggrek

Anggrek termasuk famili Orchidaceae. Dalam bahasa Yunani, kata "orchid" berasal dari orchis yang berarti testicle atau buah zakar. Pada zaman dahulu, anggrek biasa diidentikkan dengan keberadaan pria, baik wama, bentuk, bahkan strukturnya. Anggrek juga melambangkan kesuburan dan kejantanan. Mereka beranggapan jika mengonsumsi anggrek muda, seseorang bisa memiliki anak laki-laki dan jika mengonsumsi anggrek tua akan melahirkan anak perempuan.

Famili anggrek merupakan salah satu kelompok terbesar di antara tumbuhan lainnya di dunia. Anggrek termasuk keluarga besar dari kelompok (subdivisi) tanaman berbunga atau berbiji tertutup (angiospermae), kelas tanaman berbiji tunggal (monocotyledons), ordo Orchidales, dan famili Orchidaceae (anggrek-anggrekan).

Famili ini dapat dibagi lagi menjadi lima subfamili, 16 tribe (suku), dan 28 subtribe (subsuku). Menurut para ahli, di dunia ada sekitar 50.000 jenis spesies anggrek alam yang terhimpun dalam 1.200 genus (induk jenis atau marga). Di antara jenis jenis anggrek tersebut, ada yang terbagi 14 menjadi beberapa subspesies atau lebih dikenal dengan nama varietas. Antara satu varietas dan varietas lain mempunyai sedikit perbedaan, misalnya warna dan ukuran bunganya jenis-jenis anggrek yang sangat banyak ini masing-masing memiliki kelebihan dan kekurangan sesuai dengan tempat asalnya.

Anggrek bisa ditemukan di seluruh dunia, baik di daerah tropis maupun subtropis, kecuah di Benua Antartika. Anggrek dapat tumbuh di dataran rendah, gurun kering, hutan rimba yang panas, sampai dataran tinggi, termasuk puncak gunung yang bersalju. Di habitat aslinya, berbagai jenis anggrek liar ini dapat hidup beradaptasi selama jutaan tahun, sehingga mampu hidup di berbagai tempat yang berbeda.

Negara yang memilki jumlah spesies anggrek cukup banyak di antaranya Vietnam (5.000 — 6.000 spesies) dan Indonesia (sekitar 5.000 spesies). Sementara itu, negara di Asia Tenggara lainnya yang memiliki jumlah spesies anggrek cukup banyak di antaranya Myanmar (700 spesies), Malaysia (800 spesies), dan Filipina (1.000 spesies). Di Indonesia sendiri, anggrek tersebar dari Pulau Sumatera sampai Papua. Pulau Kalimantan memiliki sekitar 3.000 spesies, Papua 1.000 spesies, Sumatera 990 spesies, Jawa 975 spesies, dan Maluku 125 spesies.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pengenalan anggrek

Sejak zaman dahulu bunga telah digunakan manusia sebagai alat untuk mengungkapkan perasaan. Dari perasaan senang, sedih, cinta, damai, hingga persahabatan. Karenaya, banyak kegiatan dan suasana yang dilambangkan dengan bunga diantaranya pesta perkawinan, upacara kematian, tunangan, upacara adat, dan saat seseorang mengungkapkan rasa cinta. Jenis dan warna bunga sangat menentukan ungkapan apa yang ingin kita sampaikan.

Selain dimanfaatkan sebagai tanaman untuk mengungkapkan perasaan, bunga juga merupakan salah satu jenis tanaman yang paling banyak di manfaatkan sebagai tanaman hias. Bunga banyak ditanam dikebun-kebun, halaman rumah, pot, bahkan di dalam ruangan sebagai dekorasi. Bukan hanya karena wanginya bunga digunakan sebagai hiasan, tetapi karena warna dan bentuknya. Ruangan yang didalamnya terdapat bunga akan nampak asri, sejuk, dan nyaman.

Beberapa jenis bunga yang sudah populer dan banyak penggemarnya antara lain krisan, melati, mawar, dahlia, gladiol, dan anggrek. Dari beberapa jenis bunga tersebut, anggreklah yang paling banyak digunakan oleh masyarakat, baik dalam bentuk hidup maupun sebagai bunga potong.

Keunggulan anggrek antara lain jenisnya beraneka ragam yang bisa menyebabkan warna bunga, bentuk, dan ukurannya beraneka ragam pula. Selain itu, anggrek juga relatif mudah dirawat dibandingkan dengan jenis bunga lainnya, bahkan ada beberapa jenis anggrek bisa tumbuh dengan hanya digantungkan, sehingga anggrek tidak terlalu banyak membutuhkan ruangan. Sementara itu, bunga lain harus memakai media tanah untuk tempat tumbuhnya.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Keiki adalah anak tanaman atau tunas baru tanaman anggrek yang keluar dari batang/bulb tanaman anggrek dewasa. Biasanya terjadi saat anggrek kurang mendapatkan intensitas sinar matahari yang cukup atau akar tidak berfungsi dengan baik untuk menyerap makanan karena akar mengalami kerusakan. Maka tanaman anggrek dewasa biasanya mengeluarkan keiki atau tunas baru. Hal ini disebakan karena sifat alami anggrek untuk mempertahan hidup maka anggrek tersebut mengeluarkan keiki. Ini disebut perbanyakan secara vegetatif.

Keiki dapat tumbuh secara alami dapat juga dirangsang de
ngan menggunakan obat atau hormon perangsang pertumbuhan. Bila keiki telah menumbuhkan 2 sampai 4 helai daun dan mengeluarkan akar sebanyak 4 helai panjang 10 cm maka keiki sudah siap untuk dipindahkan kemedia tanam yang baru, namun sebelum ditanam sebaiknya direndam dalam larutan fungisida beberapa menit untuk mencegah tumbuhnya jamur kemudian diberi pupuk dosis rendah ¼ dengan kadar N tinggi pada bagian atas media tanam atau disemprotkan pada daun, batang dan akar anggrek. Dilakukan seminggu 2x sampai 2 bulan kedepan dan keiki beradaptasi dengan baik pada media tanam yang baru.

Agar pertumbuhan anggrek cepat besar letakkan pada tempat yang terkena intensitas sinar matahari pagi hingga pukul 9.00 saja dan jangan terkena air hujan langsung.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Exotic New Orchids Discovered in New Guinea

October 18, 2006—With a blossom that looks a little like a snarling face, this newly discovered species of orchid is beautiful even when it's angry.

Scientists from the conservation nonprofit WWF discovered the flower, along with at least seven other new species of orchid, in the tropical rain forests of Papua New Guinea.

The researchers made the discoveries while surveying previously unexplored forests in the Kikori region on the southern coast of New Guinea's principal island

Over the course of three expeditions, the scientists collected some 300 orchid species, 8 of which have been confirmed as new to science, with 20 more still awaiting verification as new varieties.

Even before the find, Papua New Guinea claimed more known orchid species than any other country in the world.

"The island of New Guinea is an incredible gold mine of orchids," said Wayne Harris, a WWF researcher and botanist with Australia's Queensland Herbarium, in a statement on October 16.

"There are over 3,000 known species found here with countless varieties undoubtedly yet to be discovered."

WWF announced the find a week before the official launch of new wildlife management areas in Kikori, which will aim to protect the rain forests where the flowers were found.

New Shrew, Orchid Found in Philippines

August 7, 2007—You can bet this is one shrew species that hasn't been tamed.

The unnamed shrew (bottom) and an orchid were two new species discovered by scientists recently in Palawan, a large island in the southwestern Philippines (See a map of the islands).

The small brownish-black mammal is the first shrew to be discovered in the Philippines in 40 years, and it's thought to exist only on Palawan.

Both the shrew and the unnamed white-and-gold orchid were discovered high on Mount Mantalingahan, which at 6,840 feet (2,085 meters) is Palawan's tallest mountain.

The expedition led by Conservation International (CI) Philippines also identified several other rare species previously unknown on Palawan.

A pouch bat, a pin-tail parrot finch, a ground orchid, and a soft-furred mountain rat were all spotted by the scientists. The animals will help bring attention to the area's rich biological diversity, conservationists told the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper.

"These noteworthy discoveries and rediscoveries on Mount Mantalingahan will further strengthen ... our recommendation to have ... Palawan declared as [a] protected area," CI's Romeo Trono told the newspaper.

—Cori Sue Morris

Orchid Has "Active" Sex With Itself -- A Flower First?

Researchers say an extension of the male flower part, or anther, turns an upside-down loop to deliver spermlike pollen spores directly into the female cavity.

The anther bends to enter the female chamber from below and is secured in place by a ring structure on its stalk to ensure fertilization.

The flower is the first known plant in which pollination is entirely self-directed, with no outside agents or forces—such as bees or breezes—playing a role.

Biologists observed the elaborate style of reproduction in the bisexual orchid Holcoglossum amesianum, a tree-dwelling plant found in the dry forests of China's southern Yunnan Province

LaiQiang Huang of Tsinghua University in Shenzhen and colleagues studied the unusual flower. The team's findings will appear in tomorrow's issue of the journal Nature.

Pollinating Alone

In more conventional plant sex, creatures such as insects or birds transport pollen from one plant to another, resulting in a fertilized embryo or seed.

Most orchids reproduce in this way, and many are known for their elaborate floral structures (photo: South African Disa uniflora orchid) designed to attract specialized insect pollinators.

But pollen may also be transferred from male to female flowers on a single plant, or from male to female parts on a single blossom. In such cases, plants can fertilize themselves.

While less common in orchids, many flowering plants are known to self-fertilize either some or all of the time. Most rely on wind or fluid secretions to move pollen around.

But no other species does it quite like H. amesianum.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Menanam Anggrek

Anggrek merupakan tanaman hias yang beraneka ragam jenisnya. Menurut Schuttleworth et al., 1970, terdapat sekitar 25.000 jenis anggrek yang telah dideskripsikan. Tanaman anggrek sangat populer dan banyak digemari karena keindahan bentuk bunga dan baunya yang khas. Keindahan dan keanekaragaman anggrek terutama terlihat pada morfologi dan warna bunga, sedangkan bentuk vegetatif tanaman hampir serupa. Distribusi anggrek sangat luas dengan diversitas yang besar dan sebagian besar tanaman anggrek tumbuh di kawasan tropis dan subtropis.

Indonesia merupakan negara tropis dan memiliki kondisi lingkungan yang memenuhi syarat untuk menjamin kehidupan tanaman anggrek. Tanaman anggrek liar di Indonesia diperkirakan ada sekitar 5.000 jenis.


Dari tempat tumbuh dan habitatnya tanaman anggrek dapat dibedakan menjadi lima pengelompokan jenis, yaitu:

1) Anggrek epifit (ephytis) adalah jenis anggrek yang menumpang pada batang/pohon lain tetapi tidak merusak/merugikan tanaman yang ditumpangi (tanaman inang). Alat yang dipakai untuk menempel adalah akarnya, sedangkan akar yang fungsinya untuk mencari makanan adalah akar udara. Anggrek epifit membutuhkan naungan dari cahaya matahari. Di habitas aslinya, anggrek ini kerap menempel dipohon-pohon besar dan rindang. Contoh anggrek epifit antara lain: Dendrobium, Cattleya, Ondocidium, dan Phalaenopsis.

2) Anggrek semi epifit adalah jenis anggrek yang juga menempel pada pohon/tanaman lain yang tidak merusak yang ditumpangi. Pada anggrek semi epifit, selain untuk menempel pada media, akar lekatnya juga berfungsi seperti akar udara yaitu untuk mencari makanan untuk berkembang. Contoh anggrek semi epifit antara lain :Epidendrum, Leila, dan Brassavola.

3) Anggrek tanah (anggrek terrestris) adalah jenis anggrek yang hidup di atas permukaan tanah. Anggrek jenis ini membutuhkan cahaya matahari penuh atau cahaya matahari langsung. Contoh anggrek teresterial antara lain Vanda, Renanthera, Arachnis, dan Aranthera.

4) Anggrek saprofit, adalah anggrek yang tumbuh pada media yang mengandung humus atau daun-daun kering. Anggrek saprofit dalam pertumbuhannya membutuhkan sedikit cahaya matahari. Contoh jenis ini antara lain: Goodyera sp.

5) Anggrek litofit adalah jenis anggrek yang tumbuh pada batu-batuan. Anggrek jenis ini biasanya tumbuh dibawah sengatan cahaya matahari penuh. Contoh jenis ini antara lain: Dendrobium dan Phalaenopsis.


a) Iklim
1) Angin dan curah hujan tidak terlalu berpengaruh terhadap pertumbuhan tanaman anggrek.

2) Sinar matahari sangat dibutuhkan sekali bagi tanaman ini. Kebutuhan cahaya berbeda-beda tergantung pada jenis tanaman anggrek. Ada yang memerlukan intensitas penyinaran penuh, ada juga yang tidak penuh alias memerlukan naungan. Kebutuhan cahaya berdasarkan jenis anggrek, yakni antara lain: Arachnis Maggie Oei butuh 100% intensitas penyinaran, Arachnis Apple Blossom butuh 100% intensitas penyinaran, Renanthera Hybrid butuh 100% intensitas penyinaran, Vanda pensil dan vanda quarter butuh 100% intensitas penyinaran, Dendrobium butuh 50-65% intensitas penyinaran, Aranda Hybrid butuh 50-65% intensitas penyinaran, Oncidium Hybrid butuh 60-75% intensitas penyinaran, Vanda berdaun lebar butuh 20-30% intensitas penyinaran, Phalaenopsis Hybrid butuh 10-15% intensitas penyinaran, dan Cattleya Hybrid butuh 20-30% intensitas penyinaran.

3) Suhu minimum untuk pertumbuhan anggrek adalah 15 derajat C dan suhu maksiumnya adalah 28 derajat C. Jika suhu udara malam berada di bawah 13 derajat C, maka daerah tersebut tidak dianjurkan untuk ditanam anggrek (di dataran tinggi Dieng). Berdasarkan kebutuhan suhu, tanaman anggrek dibedakan menjadi tiga tipe, yakni: 1) Anggrek tipe dingin, membutuhkan suhu siang sekitar 18-21 derajat C. Anggrek yang termasuk dalam tipe ini adalah Cymbidium sp. dan Miltona sp. 2) Anggrek tipe sedang, membutuhkan suhu siang sekitar 21-24 derajat C, dan suhu malam sekitar 18-21 derajat C. Anggrek yang termasuk tipe ini adalah Dendrobium sp. dan oncidium sp. 3) Anggrek tipe hangat, membutuhkan suhu siang sekitar 24-29 derajat C dan suhu malam 21-24 derajat C. Anggrek yang termasuk dalam tipe ini adalah Vanda sp., Arachnis sp., dan Renanthera sp.

4) Kelembaban nisbi (RH) yang diperlukan untuk anggrek berkisar antara 60–85%. Fungsi kelembaban yang tinggi bagi tanaman antara lain untuk menghindari penguapan yang terlalu tinggi. Pada malam hari kelembaban dijaga agar tidak terlalu tinggi, karena dapat mengakibatkan busuk akar pada tunas-tunas muda. Oleh karena itu diusahakan agar media dalam pot jangan terlampau basah. Sedangkan kelembaban yang sangat rendah pada siang hari dapat diatasi dengan cara pemberian semprotan kabut di sekitar tempat pertanaman dengan bantuan sprayer.

b) Media Tanam Anggrek
Terdapat 3 jenis media untuk tanaman anggrek, yaitu:
1) Media untuk anggrek epifit dan semi epifit terdiri dari: serat pakis yang telah digodok, kulit kayu yang dibuang getahnya, serabut kelapa yang telah direndam air selama 2 minggu, ijuk, potongan batang pohon enau, arang kayu, pecahan genting/batu bata, bahan-bahan dipotong menurut ukuran besar tanaman dan akarnya. Untuk anggrek semi epifit yang akarnya menempel pada media untuk mencari makanan, perlu diberi makanan tambahan seperti kompos, pupuk kandang/daun-daunan.

2) Media untuk anggrek terrestria : Jenis anggrek ini hidup di tanah maka perlu ditambah pupuk kompos, sekam, pupuk kandang, darah binatang, serat pakis dan lainnya.

3) Media untuk anggrek semi terrestria : Bahan untuk media anggrek ini perlu pecahan genteng yang agak besar, ditambah pupuk kandang sekam/serutan kayu. Dipakai media pecahan genting, serabut kayu, serat pakis dan lainnya.

c) Ketinggian Tempat
Ketinggian tempat yang cocok bagi budidaya tanaman ini dapat dibedakan menjadi 3 macam yaitu:
1. Anggrek panas (ketinggian 0-650 m dpl) : Anggrek panas memerlukan suhu udara 26-30 derajat C pada siang hari, 21 derajat C pada malam hari, dengan daerah ketinggian 0-650 meter dpl. Contoh jenis anggrek ini adalah: Dendrobium phalaenopsis, Onchidium Papillo, dan Phaphilopedillum Bellatum

2. Anggrek sedang (ketinggian 150-1500 m dpl) : Anggrek sedang pada suhu udara siang hari 21 derajat C dan 15–21 derajat C,pada malam hari, dengan ketinggian 150-1500 m dpl.

3. Anggrek dingin (lebih dari 1500 m dpl) : Anggrek dingin jarang tumbuh di Indonesia, tumbuh baik pada suhu udara 15-21 derajat C di siang hari dan 9–15 derajat C pada malam hari, dengan ketinggian = 1500 m dpl. Contoh: anggrek jenis Cymbidium.


Perbanyakan Tanaman Secara Generatif

Buah anggrek merupakan buah lentera. Artinya buah akan pecah ketika matang. Bagian yang membuka adalah bagian tengahnya, bukan diujung atau pangkal buah. Bentuk buah anggrek berbeda-beda, tergantung pada jenisnya. Biji yang keluar dari buah anggrek yang telah matang tidak seperti kebanyakan biji tanaman lain. Biji anggrek berukuran mikroskopis hampir seperti tepung dan dalam satu buah dihasilkan jutaan biji. Biji anggrek tidak dapat berkecambah begitu saja karena bijinya tidak mempunyai cadangan makanan. Biji anggrek dapat tumbuh di alam jika mendapatkan tambahan makanan dari sejenis jamur yang hidup di dalam akar anggrek dewasa yang disebut mikorhiza. Sekarang ini sudah dikembangkan teknik menanam biji anggrek melalui media tanam buatan yang terdiri dari senyawa-senyawa kimia yang dibutuhkan oleh biji anggrek untuk berkecambah.

Faktor-faktor penting dalam perkecambahan dan pertumbuhan biji anggrek antara lain:

a) Karbohidrat; unsur karbohidrat yang dibutuhkan dalam perkecambahan biasanya adalah gula sederhana golongan Oligosakarida dan yang umum digunakan dalam medium buatan yaitu: sukrosa dan fruktosa. Gula ini diperlukan biji untuk berkecambah (tunas keluar dari biji) dan sebagai cadangan makanan sebelum tunas mampu membentuk makanan sendiri.

b) Nitrogen; senyawa amonia, nitrat dan urea dalam perkecambahan biji digunakan sebagai bahan utama pembentukan sel-sel tumbuhan.

c) Mineral; unsur-unsur kalium (K), magnesium (Mg), kalsium (Ca) dan fosfor (P) adalah mineral yang dibutuhkan dalam jumlah banyak dan digunakan dalam bentuk senyawa kompleks. Tanpa unsur ini tunas anggrek yang sudah berkecambah akan mati tetapi jika kadar dalam medium terlalu pekat akan menyebabkan keracunan bagi tanaman. Kadar unsur-unsur diatas yang dianjurkan adalah 40 mg/L media.

d) Penyinaran; dibutuhkan tanaman anggrek sebagai syarat pokok dalam proses pembentukan cadangan makanan yang disebut proses fotosintesis. Intensitas yang dibutuhkan antara 400 - 3000 lux. Sinar yang digunakan dapat sinar matahari difus, lampu neon dan lampu Cool White. Ukuran umum yang sering digunakan adalah lampu neon putih 40 watt diletakkan 1,5 hingga 2 meter dari rak-rak temapt botol perkecambahan. Semakin kecil daya yang digunakan jarak lampu ke tanaman semakin dekat.

e) Suhu; temperature optimal perkecambahan yang digunakan untuk semua jenis anggrek antara 20oC - 25oC. Temperature yang terlalu tinggi akan menyebabkan kelayuan karena penguapan terlalu besar, sedangkan temperature yang terlalu dingin menyebabkan pertumbuhan tanaman lambat.

f) pH (keasaman) media; pH media tanam berkisar antara 4,8-5,2 dengan toleransi kisaran antara 3,6 hingga 7,6. Perlu diketahui selama pertumbuhan tunas anggrek keasaman media dapat mengalami perubahan.

g) Vitamin dan Hormon; kedua unsur ini digunakan untuk memacu pertumbuhan tunas. Selain digunakan dalam bentuk senyawa murni, vitamin dan hormon didapatkan dari penggunaan zat additiv dalam media misalnya pisang, kentang, buah tomat dan lainnya.

Dengan menggunakan media buatan dalam mengecambahkan biji anggrek dapat menaikkan prosentase keberhasilan perkecambahan biji anggrek secara alami dari 5%-8% perkecambahan menjadi 60%-80%.

a) Penyebaran Biji Anggrek

Peralatan yang digunakan untuk penyebaran biji harus bersih. Sebelum biji disebar harus disterilkan dulu dengan 10 gram kaporit dilarutkan dalam 100 cc air kemudian saring kertas filter, dimasukkan ke dalam botol. Biji dimasukan dalam botol dan digojog 10 menit. (biji anggrek yang semula kuning kecoklatan berubah warna menjadi kehijauan). Kemudian air dibuang dan diganti dengan aquades, digojog berulang kali (2–3 kali).

Peralatan yang digunakan untuk penyebaran biji harus bersih. Botol-botol yang telah disterilkan dapat digunakan untuk menyebaran biji anggrek. Sebelum botol dibuka, leher botol dipanaskan di atas lampu spritus untuk menghilangkan kuman. Untuk memasukan biji anggrek ke dalam botol digunakan pipet yang dibersihkan dulu dengan cara pemanasan di atas lampu spritus sampai merah kemudian dicelup kedalam spritus. Botol yang telah terbuka kemudian diisi biji anggrek dan diratakan keseluruh permukaan alas makanan yang telah disediakan. Sebelum botol ditutup kita panaskan lagi di atas spritus kemudian ditutup kembali.

b) Penyemaian Benih Anggrek

Persiapkan botol yang bermulut lebar bersih dan tidak berwarna agar dapat meneruskan cahaya matahari yang dibutuhkan dan mudah dilihat. Tutup botol dari kapas digulung-gulung sampai keras, ujung diikat tali untuk memudahkan dicopot kembali, atau kain sisa yang dipotong potong. Kerapatan tutup botol menjaga agar akteri/jamur tidak masuk sehingga tidak terinfeksi atau terkontaminasi.

Persiapkan lemari kaca (ent-kas) yang bersih dari bakteri/jamur dengan kain yang sudah dicelup formalin udara dalam lemari disterilkan dengan kapas dipiring dituangi formalin supaya menguap mensterilkan kaca (ent-kas).

Pembuatan alas makanan anggrek biasanya dipakai resep Khudson C (NORTHEN) 12 yaitu: Ca(NO3)2H2O : 1,00 gram, KH2PO4 : 0,25 gram, MgSO47H2O : 0,25 gram, (NH4)2SO4 : 0,25 gram, Saccharose : 20 gram, FeSO4 4H2O : 0,25 gram, MnSO4 : 0,0075 gram, Agar-agar : 15–17,5 gram, Aquadest : 1000 cc. Pembuatan alas makanan diperlukan pH 5,2, dipergunakan pH meter/kertas pH tekstil/Indikator Paper. Sterilisasi dengan cara dipanaskan dalam Autoclaf yang sampai 110 derajat C selama setengah jam atau dengan dandang kemudian diletakan pada tempat bersih, dengan posisi miring, sehingga makanan setinggi 1/2–2/3 tinggi botol (dari alas sampai ke leher botol) dan didiamkan selama 5–7 jam untuk mengetahui sterilisasi yang sempurna.

c) Pemindahan Bibit Anggrek

Setelah tanaman di dalam botol berumur 9–12 bulan terlihat besar, tumbuh akar. Dalam tingkat ini bibit sudah dapat dipindahkan kedalam pot penyemaian yang berdiameter 7 cm, 12 cm atau 16 cm yang berlubang. Siapkan pecahan genting, dan akar pakis warna coklat, di potong dengan panjang 5–30 mm sehingga serabutnya terlepas satu sama lainnya. Sebelum dipakai terlebih dulu dicuci bersih dan biarkan airnya hilang. Akar pakis setelah dicuci, direndam dulu dalam alas makanan selama 24 jam yang berupa: Urea atau ZA : 0,50 mg, DS, TS atau ES : 0,25 mg, Kalium sulfat atau K2SO4 : 0,25 mg, Air : 1000 cc.

Alaternatif lain sebagai alas makanan, dapat juga dipakai pupuk buatan campuran unsur N, P, K perbandingan 60:30:10 atau dapat juga digunakan pupuk kandang yang telah dicampur pakis dengan perbandingan pakis: pupuk kandang = 4:1. Selain itu dapat digunakan kulit Pinus yang di potong kecil sebesar biji kacang tanah, yang telah direndam dalam alas makanan seperti akar pakis selama 24 jam. Untuk isian pot ini dapat juga digunakan arang kayu bakar/serabut kelapa yang dipotong-potong sebesar ibu jari. Pot yang disiapkan diisi dengan pecahan genting 1/3 tinggi pot/layah, kemudian isi remukan pakis tersebut setinggi 1 cm di bawah tepi pot/layah (tidak perlu dipadatkan). Pemindahan bibit ke dalam pot dilakukan dengan mengeluarkan tanaman di botol dengan memasukkan air bersih ke dalam botol. Dengan kawat bersih berujung seperti huruf U, tanaman dikeluarkan satu persatu (akar lebih dahulu). Setelah keluar tanaman dicuci kaporit 1 % kemudian dengan air bersih. Seedlings (semaian) ditanam dalam pot dengan rapat. Apabila di dalam botol sudah terjadi kontaminasi jamur sebaik lebih dulu direndam di dalam antibiotic (penicillin, streptomycin yang telah lewat expirydatenya) 10 menit baru ditanam.

d) Pemindahan dari Pot Penyemaian

Setelah tanaman pada pot penyemaian cukup tinggi, maka tanaman dipindahkan ke pot biasa yang berdiamater 4–6 cm, yang berisi potongan genting/batu bata merah, kemudian beri pakis/kulit pinus yang telah direndam dalam alas makanan sampai 1 cm di bawah tepi pot.

Perbanyakan Tanaman Secara Vegetatif

Perbanyakan vegetatif umumnya bisa menghasilkan turunan yang sifatnya sama dengan induknya. Kalaupun ada penyimpangan, hal ini disebabkan oleh faktor luar, seperti kurangnya unsur hara tanaman. Perbanyakan vegetatif dilakukan dengan cara mengambil bagian tanaman lalu menanamnya secara terpisah dari induknya.

1) Setek Pucuk

Perbanyakan dengan cara setek cocok dilakukan pada anggrek berbatang satu (monopodial). Monopodial adalah batang anggrek yang terus menerus tumbuh ke atas dan tak terbatas, tanpa memiliki cabang atau ranting. Disepanjang batang selalu muncul akar-akar udara yang berguna mencari makan, sekaligus untuk merekatkan diri pada benda-benda yang terdapat disekitarnya. Contohnya Arachnis, Aranthera, Renanthera, Vanda pensil, Vanda semi terete dan Vanda quarter terete. Perbanyakan anggrek monopodial dilakukan dengan memotong setek pucuk atau setek ujung batang. Bagian yang terpotong minimal mempunyai dua akar, tanpa mengurangi jumlah daun. Panjang stek bagian atas 40-50 cm. Sisa batang bawah tetap dipelihara karena dapat mengeluarkan beberapa tunas baru. Bila tunas baru sudah membentuk daun dan mengeluarkan minimal 2 akar maka tunas anakan dapat dipotong dan digunakan sebagai bibit.

Cara penanaman setek pucuk sebagai berikut.

a. Penanaman di pot

Sebelum ditanami, dasar pot lebih dahulu diisi pecahan batu bata atau genting setinggi sepertiga bagian. Pecahan batu-bata atau genting berfungsi untuk menjaga kelembapan agar tetap tinggi. Juga sebagai pemberat agar pot tidak mudah rebah. Selanjutnya, pot tersebut diisi media tumbuh sabut kelapa, arang, pakis, atau sejenisnya. Setek ditanam tepat dibagian tengah. Penanaman dalam pot umumnya dilakukan pada anggrek monopodial yang bersifat epifit seperti Vanda berdaun lebar (Vanda daun).

b. Penanaman di bedengan

Di sepanjang jalur penanaman diberi batu-bata atau genting agar media tumbuh tidak keluar dari bedengan. Karena sifat pertumbuhan anggrek monopodial cenderung tumbuh ke atas tanpa batas maka diperlukan penyangga yang terbuat dari kayu, bambu, besi, atau sejenisnya. Media tumbuh yang digunakan pada umumnya berupa serutan kayu, sabut kelapa, atau sejenisnya. Di bagian atas media tumbuh kadang ditambahkan pupuk kandang atau kompos yang sudah steril. Setelah itu dicampur dengan pupuk buatan NPK 0,1-0,2%. Penyiraman dapat dilakukan sehari setelah penanaman. Lakukan pada pagi hari pukul 06.00-07.00 dan sore hari pukul 17.00 - 18.00. Pemberian pupuk majemuk dapat diberikan seminggu setelah penanaman. Pupuk itu dilarutkan dan disemprotkan ke seluruh bagian tanaman dengan dosis 0,1-0,2% setiap dua kali seminggu. Pemberian tambahan pupuk buatan dalam bentuk granula dapat dilakukan setiap 1-2 bulan sekali atau sesuai anjuran yang diletakkan di atas media tumbuhnya.

2) Pemisahan Rumpun untuk tanaman anggrek tipe simpodial

Pemisahan rumpun dilakukan pada anggrek berbatang banyak (simpodial). Yang dimaksud dengan simpodial adalah tumbuh secara bersama (berumpun). Anggrek ini tidak tumbuh memanjang, tetapi memiliki cara sendiri untuk memperbanyak diri secara vegetatif, yakni membuat banyak anakan seperti bonggol pohon pisang. Contohnya Cattleya, Cymbidium, Dendrobium, dan Oncidium.

Perbanyakan anggrek simpodial dilakukan melalui pemisahan rumpun atau pemisahan anakan adventif (tunas yang tumbuh di ruas-ruas batang). Pemisahan rumpun dapat dilakukan bila pot telah penuh dan padat oleh tunas anakan. Tunas anakan itu kemudian dipisahkan dari tanaman induknya. Anakan yang dipisah sebaiknya memiliki 3 anakan dan bagian dasar dari anakan (rhizome) harus tetap saling berhubungan antara yang satu dengan lainnya. Semua akar yang tidak aktif atau akar tua dibuang sehingga anakan tampak seperti tidak berakar.

Cara penanamannya, dasar pot diisi dengan pecahan batu-bata atau genting setinggi sepertiga bagian. Di atasnya diisi lagi dengan media tumbuh setinggi sepertiga bagian. Selanjutnya anakan tersebut ditanam dengan mengatur posisi. Anakan yang paling tua diletakkan di dekat atau menempel pada bibir pot bagian pinggir atas. Dengan cara ini pertumbuhan tunas anakan dapat mengisi seluruh permukaan bagian pot. Apabila anakan yang tua diletakkan di bagian tengah pot maka pertumbuhannya akan tidak seimbang. Sebelum anakan ditanam, pangkalnya terutama luka bekas potong dicelup sekilas dalam larutan fungisida atau bakterisida. Apabila kesulitan mengeluarkan anakan karena sangat keras melekat erat di pot dan media maka pot sebaiknya dipecahkan. Hati-hati untuk menghindari kerusakan atau putusnya anakan. Penyiraman dilakukan kurang lebih 3-4 hari setelah penanaman. Adapun pemupukan dilakukan kurang lebih seminggu setelah penanaman.

3) Pemotongan Keiki

Keiki adalah anakan yang tumbuh liar di ujung umbi. Keiki ini umumnya muncul di ruas-ruas tanaman anggrek dewasa. Keiki terbentuk jika media tanam tidak pernah diganti, sehingga akar tanaman banyak rusak. Hal ini menyebabkan pertumbuhan tunas pindah ke ruas tanaman. Pada tanaman anggrek yang rajin diganti media tanamnya, jarang muncul keiki. Keiki ini bila telah membentuk tanaman seutuhnya lengkap dengan akarnya, maka keiki tersebut dapat dipisahkan dari induknya dengan cara memotongnya dengan pisau yang tajam. Gunakan keiki yang berukuran panjang kira-kira sejengkal dan sudah menghasilkanakar sebanyak 3-4 helai. Saat memotong keiki, umbi induk harus ikut terangkat. Tujuannya agar anggrek tetap mendapat suplay makanan lewat umbi. Keiki sebainya tidak langsung ditanam di pot. Tempelkan dulu di lempengan pakis sampai terjadi penambahan umbi. Jika umbi sudah terbentuk 2-3 buah, keiki siap untuk dipindahkan ke pot. Anggrek yang diperbanyak dengan keiki masa berbunganya lebih lama dibandingkan dengan cara pemisahan rumpun. Perbanyakan anggrek dengan keiki ini hanya bisa dilakukan pada anggrek Dendrobium sp.

4) Pemotongan Tunas Anakan

Walaupun jarang terjadi, tetapi adakalanya ujung akar atau tangkai bunga Phalaenopsis muncul tunas anakan. Tunas anakan tersebut dapat dipotong dan ditanam. Nantinya, tunas akan berkembang menjadi tanaman dewasa.

Media tanam untuk tanaman anggrek tanah dibedakan:

a) Tanaman dalam pot. Apabila diameter pot yang dipilih lebih kurang 30 cm maka perlu dipasang tiang penyangga di tengah-tengah pot, kemudian pot diisi pecahan genting. Anggrek di letakkan di tengah dan akarnya disebar merata dalam pot, kemudian batang anggrek diikat pada tiang. Pot diisi pupuk kandang yang telah dicampur sesuai dengan komposisi kira-kira 2/3 dari pot.

b) Media tanam pada tanah berupa bak-bak tanam. Bak terbuat dari batu bata merah panjang 2 m lebar 40 cm dan tinggi bak 2 lapis batu bata merah. Pembuatan bak ini di atas tanah untuk menghindari dari kebecekan, di tanah kering digali sedalam 10-20 cm kemudian diberi bata ukuran 40 cm x 2 m dan jarak antara pembantas dengan yang lain 3 cm. Tiang penahan dibuat 4 buah yang ditancapkan ke dalam tanah dengan ketinggian masing-masing 1,5 m. Antara tiang satu dengan yang lain dihubungkan dengan kayu sehingga keempat tiang tersebut merupakan suatu rangkaian.


Penanaman tanaman anggrek, disesuaikan dengan jenis tanaman berdasarkan habitat dan tempat tumbuhnya anggrek, yaitu:

a) Anggrek adalah anggrek yang menupang pada batang/pohon lain tetapi tidak merusak/merugikan yang ditumpangi atau ditempelin. Alat yang dipakai untuk menempel adalah akarnya, sedangkan akar yang fungsinya untuk mencari makanan adalah akar udara.

b) Anggrek semi Epifit adalah jenis anggrek yang menempel pada pohon/tanaman lain yang tidak merusak yang ditempel, hanya akar lekatnya juga berfungsi seperti akar udara yaitu untuk mencari makanan untuk berkembang.

c) Anggrek tanah/anggrek Terrestris.

Penjarangan dan Penyulaman

Penjarangan dan penyulaman dilakukan pada tempat yang disesuaikan dengan jenis anggrek, yang sifatnya e atau anggrek tanah.

Untuk tanaman anggrek pada penyiangan pada waktu pada kondisi di dalam botol kemudian dipisahkan ke dalam pot-pot yang sudah disediakan sesuai jenis anggrek.

Unsur makro yaitu unsur yang diperlukan dalam jumlah besar yang meliputi: C, H, O, N, S, P, K, Ca, Mg. Untuk unsur mikro yaitu unsur yang dibutuhkan dalam jumlah yang sedikit, antara lain: Cu, Zn, Mo, Mn, V, Sc, B, Si, dst. Unsur makro dan unsur mikro dapat diambil dari udara atau dari tanah, berupa gas atau air dan garam-garam yang terlarut di dalamnya. Pemupukan pada tanaman anggrek dibagi dalam 3 tahapan, yaitu:

1) Pemupukan untuk bibit (seedlings) dengan N, P, K. Perbandingan N:P:K=6:3:1. Unsur N lebih banyak dibutuhkan untuk pembentukan pertumbuhan dan perkembangan tanaman. Unsur N diambil dari pupukZA/urea, untuk P dipakai pupuk ES; DS; TS, dan K dari Kalium Sulfat (K2SO4). Pupuk-pupuk buatan yang mengandung N, P, K terdiri dari urea : 0,6 gram untuk 1 liter air, ES 0,3 gram untuk 1 liter air, dan ZK 0,1 gram untuk 1 liter air.

2) Pemupukan untuk ukuran sedang (mid-size) dengan N, P, K. Perbandingan N:P:K=3:3:3 yang sama banyak disini tidak memerlukan tambahan pupuk, maka dapat dususun sendiri pupuk yang mengandung N, P, K dengan cara misalnya : Urea : 0,3 gram untuk 1 liter air, DS 0,3 gram untuk 1 liter air, K2SO4 0,3 gram untuk 1 liter air

3) Pemupukan untuk ukuran berbunga (flowerings-size) : Tanaman yang sudah berbunga dipupuk dengan perbandingan N:P:K= 1:6:1. Teknik pemberian pupuk buatan adalah:

a. Dalam bentuk padat/powder yang dilakukan dengan menaburkan secara hati-hati, jangan tersangkut pada daun/batangnya yang menyebabkan daun/batang tadi dapat terbakar.

b. Disiramkan, yang mana anggrek dapat menyerap air dan garamgaram yang terlarut di dalamnya. Cara ini banyak dilakukan dimanamana.

c. Penyemprotan, cara ini sangat baik apabila terjadi pembusukan akar didalamnya, maka akarnya ditutup plastik.Pupuk kandang yang sering digunakan adalah kotoran kuda, sapi, kerbau, kambing, ayam danlain-lain. Kebaikan pemakaian pupuk kandang selain mengandung bermacam-macam unsur yang dibutuhkan oleh tanaman juga sangat membantu dalam penyimpanan air, apalagi pada musim kemarau. Keburukan dari pupuk kandang ini adalah di dalam kotoran banyak bateri yang mengandung jamur. Untuk itu dianjurkan disangan lebih dahulu untuk menghilangkan jamur/bakteri di dalamnya. Pemupukantanaman lebih baik dilakukan pada waktu pagi-pagi atau pada sore hari sekitar pukul 5.00 sore.

Pengairan dan Penyiraman

Sumber air untuk penyiraman tanaman anggrek dapat berasal dari:

1. Air Ledeng, baik untuk menyiram karena jernih dan steril, tetapi pHnya tinggi maka perlu diturunkan dengan menambah suatu asam misalnya HCl. PH yang baik sekitar 5,6-6.

2. Air sumur, baik untuk menyiram karena banyak mengandung mineral dari tanah yang sangat dibutuhkan oleh tanaman. Air sumur di daerah kapur harus diperhatikan pHnya.

3. Air hujan, yang ditampung didalam tong-tong/bak sangat baik untuk menyiraman.

4. Air kali/air selokan, tetapi kita tidak tahu pasti apakah air itu mengandung jamur, bakteri/lumut yang bisa mengganggu anggrek/tidak. Kalau dilihat dari sudut isi makanan mungkin cukup baik. Hal perlu diperhatikan bagi petani anggrek adalah mengetahui sifat-sifat dari isian pot supaya bisa mengatur banyaknya air untuk menyiram. Adapun macam isian pot dan sifat diuraikan sebagai berkut:

a. Pecahan genting/pecahan batu merah, yang mana mudah menguapkan air dan sifat anggrek yang tidak begitu senang dengan air sehingga tidak mudah untuk lumutan. Untuk pecahan genting lebih kecil daya serapnya lebih banyak dan untuk siraman lebih sedikit.

b. Potongan sabut kelapa, pemakaian serabut kelapa lebih baik untuk digunakan di daerah panas karena menyimpan air, tetapi kalau penggunaan di daerah dingin tidak menguntungkan karena mudah busuk.

c. Remukan akar pakis yang hitam, keras dan baru tidak mudah untuk menyerap air, setelah beberapa bulan banyak menyerap air. Akar pakis yang coklat dan lunak lebih mudah menyerap dan menahan air.

d. Potongan kulit pakis, dimana media ini sukar sekali untuk penyerapan air, mudah terjadi penguapan. Jika potongannya besar, penyerapan kecil dan jika potongan kecil penyerapan air lebih banyak. Bagi tanaman yang sudah besar pedoman penyiramannya 3-7 hari sekali musim hujan dan 1-3 hari sekali pada musim hujan.

e. Waktu Penyemprotan Pestisida : Obat-obatan sebaiknya disemprotkan pada waktu pagi hari, lebih baik pada sore hari sekitar jam 5.00. Penyemprotan bagi tanaman anggrek sehat, dilakukan rutin kurang lebih 3 bulan sekali. Penyemprotan bagi tanaman anggrek terserang hama perlu dilakukan berulang-ulang 3 kali dengan jangka waktu tertentu (untuk kutu) daun seminggu sekali. Adapun jenis insektisida dan dosis yang digunakan untuk hama antara lain: Orthene 75 SP dosis 5-10 gram/10 liter air untuk ulat pemakan daun; Bayrusil 250 EC dosis 2 cc/liter air untuk ulat pemakan daun; Malathion dosis 3 gram/liter air untuk ulat, kumbang, kutu; Kelthane dosis 2 gram/liter air, untuk kutu; Metadeks dosis dibasahi air, dicampur dedak 6-8 cc/10 liter, untuk keong dan bekicot air; Falidol E.605 dosis dibasahi air, dicampur dedak 6-8 cc/10 liter, untuk keong dan bekicot air. Untuk hama bekicot ada 2 cara pengendaliannya yaitu: Menyebarkan obat sekitar pot anggrek dengan mencampur antara obat Metadeks ke dedak halus di tambah air sedikit; atau membuat larutan 1 cc Dieldrin 50% 25 EP dicampur dengan 1 liter air atau 6–8 cc Folediol E 605 kedalam air 10 liter. Kemudian pot tanaman anggrek direndam dalam larutan tersebut selama beberapa waktu dan diulang satu minggu sekali.


1) Tungau/kutu perisai
Gejala: menempel pada pelepah daun; berwarna kemerahan jumlahnya banyak; bekas serangan berupa bercak hitam dan merusak daun. Pengendalian: digosok dengan kapas dan air sabun; apabila serangan sudah parah, harus disemprot oleh insektisida dengan dosis 2 cc/liter.

2) Semut
Gejala: merusak akar dan tunas muda yang disebabkan oleh cendawan. Pengendalian: pot direndam dalam air dan ciptakan lingkungan bersih di sekitar rak/sebaiknya pot digantung.

3) Belelang
Gejala: pinggiran daun rusak dengan luka bergerigi tak beraturan. Untuk jenis belalang berukuran kecil, perlu pengamatan cermat. Pengendalian: segera semprotkan insektisida yang bersifat racun kontak/yangsistematik; bila jumlahnya sedikit bisa langsung dimusnahkan/dibunuh.

4) Trips
Gejala: menempel pada buku-buku batang dan daun muda; menimbulkan bercak abu-abu dipermukaan daun dan merusak bunga hingga bentuk bunga tidak menarik. Pengendalian: secara periodik dan teratur pot anggrek disemprot insektisida.

5) Kutu babi
Gejala: kerusakan yang ditimbulkan seperti akibat semut; tapi tidak menyerang tunas daun. Pengendalian: perendaman dapat mengusir kutu babi dari pot anggrek.

6) Keong
Gejala: menyerang lembaran daun anggrek. Pengendalian: dalam jumlah sedikit cukup diambil/dibunuh; bila jumlah banyak perlu memakai insektisida/dijebak dengan bubuk prusi.

7) Red Spinder
Gejala: bercak putih di bagian bawah daun; permukaan atas menjadi kuning dan lama kelamaan daun mati. Pengendalian: bila sedikit cukup diambil dengan menggunakan isolatip lalu dibakar/menggosok daun dengan alkohol; apabila banyak maka perlu menggunakan insektisida dengan bahan aktif diazinon, dicofol.

8) Kumbang
Gejala: yang terserang akan berlubang-lubang khusus kumbang penggerek batang kerusakannya berupa lubang di tengah batang dan tidak nampak dari luar; Larvanya yang menetas dari telur merusak daun anggrek. Pengendalian: menyemprotkan tanaman yang diserang dengan menggunakan insektisida sistemik secara rutin; bersihkan pot dari kepompong dan telur kumbang dengan jalan memindahkannya ke pot baru dan media tanam yang baru pula.

9) Ulat daun
Gejala: menyerang daun, kuncup bunga, tunas daun maupun bunga yang sedang mekar. Pengendalian: kalau jumlahnya sedikit (2–5 ekor) dapat dibunuh dengan tangan; bila banyak dapat menggunakan insektisida sistemik; tanaman yang telah diserang sebaiknya dipisahkan dengan tanaman yang masih sehat.

10) Kepik
Gejala: menghisap cairan daun tanaman anggrek, sehingga menyebabkan bintik putih/kuning; tanaman yang diserang lama kelamaan akan gundul dan tidak berhijau daun lagi. Pengendalian: semprotkan insektisida yang sama seperti untuk membasmi serangga lainnya, seperti ulat, kumbang dan trips.

11) Kutu tudung
Gejala: daun menjadi kuning, tidak sehat, lalu berwarna coklat dan mati. Pengendalian: seperti halnya membasmi ulat kumbang dan trips.

a) Penyakit buluk
Sering terdapat di dalam media tanam, kultur spora cendawan ini terbawa oleh biji anggrek karena tutup botol tidak steril. Gejala: biji anggrek tidak mampu berkecambah dan persemaian dalam botol akan gagal; kecambah yang telah tumbuh kalau diserang cendawan ini akan mati/layu. Pengendalian: pada awal serangan media agar dikeluarkan dari botol, lalu botol ditutup kembali, dilakukan dengan steriil; kalau kecambah anggrek terlanjur besar, segera dikeluarkan dari botol dan dicuci dengan fungisida lalukecambah ditanam dalam pot.

b) Penyakit rebah kecambah
Merupakan penyakit anggrek selama masih dalam persemaian. Penyebaran penyakit ini lewat air. Gejala: semula berupa bercak kecil bening pada permukaan daun, lalu melebar, menulari ke atas sampai pada titik tumbuh pada tunas serta ke bawah hingga ujung akar, kecambah anggrek akan membusuk dan mati. Pengendalian: bibit yang sakit sebaiknya segera dibuang, dibakar sampai musnah. Pot dan kumpulan kecambah dikeringkan dan disemprot dengan fungisida.

c) Penyakit bercak coklat
Kecambah jenis Phalae-nopsis sangat peka terhadap bakteri ini, terutama pada cuaca sangat lembab. Infeksi melalui daun basah atau di bekas luka pada daun. Sentuhan daun yang sakit pada daun sehat dapat menularkan penyakit ini. Gejala: bercak kecil bening pada pucuk daun. Dalam beberapa hari dapatmeluas ke seluruh kompot, daun kecambah anggrek menjadi rusak dan mati. Penyakit ini sangat ganas, karena mematikan dan cepat menular. Pengendalian: sangat sulit penyakit ini pada awal serangan. Pada serangan yang parah, tidak ada jalan lain kecuali memusnahkan seluruh kecambah anggrek.

d) Penyakit bercak hitam
Pada tanaman anggrek yang, penyakit ini cepat menular malalui akar dan alat yang tidak sterill. Gejala: timbul warna coklat kehitaman pada bagian tanaman yang terserang. Mulai dari daun ke atas sampai ke tunas dan ke bawah hingga ujung akar. Tanaman terlambat tumbuh, kerdil dan mengakibatkan kematian. Pengendalian: bagian yang terserang dipotong dan dibuang atau disemprotkan fungisida; alat-alat potong disiram alkohol/dibakar sebelum digunakan.

e) Penyakit busuk akar
Penyebab: cendawan Rhizoctonia Solani. Gejala: akar leher membusuk mencapai rhizoma dan umbi batang, daun dan umbi batang menguning, berkeriput, tipis dan bengkok, tanaman kerdil dan tidak sehat. Pengendalian: semua bagian tanaman yang sakit dipotong dan dibuang; bekasnya disemprot dengan fungisida (Benlate).

f) Penyakit layu
Penyebab: cendawan Fusarium Oxyporium. Gejala: mirip serangan penyakit busuk akar, namun pada rhizoma terdapat garis-garis, atau lingkaran berwarna ungu. Pada serangan berat, seluruh rizhoma menjadi ungu, diikuti pembusukan pada umbi batang, tanaman sangat tidak sehat. Pengendalian: bagian yang terserang dibuang lalu bekasnya disemprotkan Benlate. Tanaman segera dipindahkan ke media tanam baru, yang masih segar dan bersih. Usahakan terdapat aliran udara yang lancar di sekitar tanaman.

g) Penyakit busuk
Penyebab: cendawan Sclerotium Rolfsi. Gejala: terdapat bintil-bintil kecil berwarna coklat pada bagian tanaman yang terkena penyakit. Pengendalian: bagian tanaman yang sakit dipotong dan dibuang. Mediatanaman dan seluruh pot didesinfektan dengan larutan formalin 4 % ataupun fungisida/antibiotik Natrippene 0,5 % selama 1 jam.

h) Penyakit bercak coklat
Gejala: bercak coklat pada permukaan daun, lalu menyebar keseluruh bagian tanaman. Pengendalian: membuang semua bagian yang sakit, lalu semprotkan fungisida/ antibiotika Streptomycin atau Physan 20.

i) Penyakit busuk lunak
Penyebab: bakteri Erwinia Cartovora. Gejala: daun dan akar membusuk serta berbau. Penyakit ini cepat sekali meluas namun khusus pada rhizoma dan umbi batang, penyebarannya agak lambat. Penanggulangan: peralatan kebun harus steril, bagian yang sakit dipotong dan dibuang. Semprotkan Physan 20, pot tanaman disemprot dengan formalin 4 %.

j) Penyakit bercak bercincin
Penyebab: virus TMVO (Tobacco Mozaic Virus Odontoglos-sum). Gejala: timbul lingkaran atau garis-garis kekuningan pada permukaan daun. Pengendalian: hanya dengan pencegahan yakni membuang bagian tanaman yang sakit serta menstrerilkan semua alat potong.

k) Penyakit Cymbidium
Penyebab: virus Mozaic Cymbidium. Gejala: semula berupa bercak kekuningan lalu muncul jaringan mati berbintik, bergaris atau lingkaran. Khusus pada Cattleya, bercak tadi berwarna coklat atau hitam cekung. Kadang ada gejala kematian jaringan di tengah daun yang dilingkari jaringan normal. Daun tua banyak sekali menunjukkan adanya bintik jaringan yang mati. Pengendalian: hanya bersifat pencegahan yaitu membuang bagian tanaman yang sakit, serta mensterilkan segala alat yang dipakai.

l) Penyakit busuk hitam
Penyebab: cendawan Phytopytora Omnivora. Gejala: muncul warna kehitaman pada pangkal daun, lalu melunak dan busuk, akhirnya daun mati. Pengendalian: semprotkan fungisida seperti Baycor Dithane M-45, Benlate, Ferban, Physan, Truban atau Banrot. Untuk yang berbentuk tepung gunakan dosis 2 gram/2 liter air.