Orchid Identification and care

Asked February 28, 2014, 5:38 PM EST

We obtained this from a neighbor's house (deceased).See pictures attached1) What kind of orchid is this?2) There is a little bit of removable black stuff on the leaves. How should we treat it?3) Should we take the dry brown stuff off the stems?4) General tips on care of this orchid plant

Pinellas County Florida

1 Response

The first and third pictures are Cattleya orchids. These orchids require good strong light for them to flower. I can see from the pictures these have not flowered recently. To make these Cattleya orchids flower, repot soon and pot in larger pots, about 1 inch larger. Use orchid potting material which you can purchase at any garden center that sales orchids. Grow the Catleya orchids outdoors for the summer. In fact, you may be able to leave thees orchids out all year round. These orchids do not like the temperature to drop below 50 degrees. Fertilize the orchids with 1/4 strength fertilizer during the growing season, mainly summer. Orchids flower on new growth but these may flower on the growths that have not flower yet also.

The second picture is a Phalaenopsis orchid. Phalaenopsis like shade and can be grown outdoors during the summer. These orchids do not like the temperature to drop below 60 degrees. This orchid grows 2 new leaves every year if there is enough light. This particular Phalaenopsis has lost its crown either from rot or the crown has been knocked off. This is ok since I do not see the rot or damage spreading.

Visit the American Orchid Society web site at http://www.aos.org there is a wealth of information on this site about growing orchids. The other best source for information is your local orchid society. Find this contact on the AOS web site. Also Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, 941-366-5731, is a good resource. I know Sarasota has an orchid society.

If you need repotting instruction email me at d-woodson@tamu.edu