Historic note
 Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 Fig. 2
 Vegetative structure of orchid...
 General culture
 Special culture of important...
 Hybridization and the handling...
 Obtaining plants
 Pests and their control
 Glossary of terms used by...
 Key to the genera of Florida epiphytic...
 List of epiphytic orchids that...

Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida. Agricultural Extension Service ; no. 116
Title: Orchids in Florida
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026134/00001
 Material Information
Title: Orchids in Florida
Series Title: Bulletin
Physical Description: 47 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Watkins, John V ( John Vertrees )
Publisher: Cooperative Extension Service
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: <1942>
Subject: Orchids -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by John V. Watkins.
General Note: "November, 1942."
Funding: Bulletin (University of Florida. Agricultural Extension Division)
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026134
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002571121
oclc - 1804379
notis - AMT7436

Table of Contents
    Historic note
        Historic note
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
    Fig. 2
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Vegetative structure of orchids
        Page 8
    General culture
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
    Special culture of important genera
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
    Hybridization and the handling of small plants
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
    Obtaining plants
        Page 41
    Pests and their control
        Page 42
    Glossary of terms used by orchidists
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
    Key to the genera of Florida epiphytic orchids
        Page 46
    List of epiphytic orchids that are native to Florida
        Page 47
Full Text


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida

Bulletin 116

November, 1942

.L...,TA BP '
Assistant Professor, Horticulture, University of Florida
( \ fi r r-" -

Fig. 1.-This beautiful orchid, Fabia, was derived from a cross between
Cattleya dowiana and C. labiata. (Photograph by O. R. Evers.)

Bulletins will be sent free to Florida residents upon request to

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)


H. P. ADAIR, Chairman, Jacksonville N. B. JORDAN, Quincy
T. T. SCOTT, Live Oak THOSE. W. BRYANT, Lakeland
R. H. GORE, Fort Lauderdale J. T. DIAMOND, Secretary, Tallahassee


JOHN J. TIGERT, M.A., LL.D., President of the University
WILMON NEWELL, D.Sc., Director of Extension'
A. P. SPENCER, M.S., Vice-Director
CLYDE BEALE, A.B.J., Assistant Editor'
JEFFERSON THOMAS, Assistant Editor'
F. E. DENNIS, Supervisor, Egg-Laying Test
RUBY NEWHALL, Administrative Manager'

Cooperative Agricultural Demonstration Work
W. T. NETTLES, B.S., District Agent
H. G. CLAYTON, M.S.A., Coordinator with AAA
J. LEE SMITH, District Agent and Agronomist
E. F. DEBUSK, B.S., Citriculturist and District Agent
R. S. DENNIS, B.S.A., Assistant Coordinator with AAA
R. W. BLACKLOCK, A.B., Boys' Club Agent
N. H. McQUEEN, B.S.A., Assistant Boys' Club Agent
A. L. SHEALY, D.V.M., Animal Industrialist'
HAMLIN L. BROWN, B.S., Dairyman
N. R. MEHRHOF, M.AGR., Poultryman'
A. W. O'STEEN, B.S.A., Assistant Poultryman
WALTER J. SHEELY, B.S., Animal Husbandman
L. T. NIELAND, Farm Forester
C. V. NOBLE, PH.D., Agricultural Economist'
CHARLES M. HAMPSON, M.S., Agricultural Economist, Farm Management
R. H. HOWARD, M.S.A., Agricultural Economist, Farm Management
V. V. BOWMAN, M.S.A., Economist in Marketing
R. V. ALLISON, PH.D., Soil Conservationist'
K. S. MCMULLEN, B.S.A., Soil Conservationist

Cooperative Home Demonstration Work
MARY E. KEOWN, M.S., State Agent
LUCY BELLE SETTLE, M.A., District Agent
RUBY McDAVID, District Agent
ETHYL HOLLOWAY, B.S.H.E., District Agent
ANNA MAE SIKES, M.S., Nutritionist
VIRGINIA P. MOORE, Home Improvement Specialist
ISABELLE S. THURSBY, Economist in Food Conservation
CLARINE BELCHER, M.S., Clothing Specialist

Negro Extension Work
A. A. TURNER, Local District Agent
BEULAH SHUTE, Local District Agent

1 Part-time.

INTRODUCTION .................... .............. ...~.... 5
The flower parts of the orchid .-- -----................ ........ ............... 6
Vegetative structure of orchids -- --- -----.......... ............ .............. 8
GENERAL CULTURE ....... ..................... ....... ---............--- 9
Potting ....- ....... ..... ....... -- .... ..............- -- .......... 9
M materials used in pottin ........- --- -----...................................... 11
Vegetative propagation i......................... ............... 12
Orchid houses and their management .-----.......... .... .................. ... 14
Cutting and packing orchids .................... ..............--..........--- ... 17
SPECIAL CULTURE OF IMPORTANT GENERA .--..-...............----......-- .... ........ 18
HYBRIDIZATION AND THE HANDLING OF SMALL PLANTS -.............................-... 33
Aims of the orchid breeder .-... ----...............-.............-.-- .. 33
Storage of orchid pollen ............--..........--.---- ..... --- ................. 34
The mechanics of orchid pollination .............-.--..... ..-.................. 34
Sow ing the seeds .................................... .... ......... ........--- ..-- 36
Handling of young seedlings .........--..---.------....-...--.------......-. 38
OBTAINING PLANTS .............--.. ...----- --.....--.-...-- .-- ...--- ......- ..... 41
PESTS AND THEIR CONTROL ...........-..... ...--- ---- ................... 42
GLOSSARY OF TERMS USED BY ORCHIDISTS ...............-------- .....- ..-..----........... 43
FLOW ERING CHART ................ ........ ......................................... 45
KEY TO FLORIDA GENERA ......-............ ................................. 46

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ti: adl.lld rat any time. I C., i.-U I- t t ZH
L'.i, .l;n B inih 'aln C("Al[-arliy.i

Fil. 2 -A de-irable type orchid house. The plan
Sat the left I -shi. h.:iw practical the laIyut is m ith
22'1 .ji ati re f,:t t ..- f bren:h ar>.:a f..r gr.'w in g, a c n ':r'enf nt
rportiiie ber.nch. aia 2.'. .:]iuare feet, arnd liL.eral ;ize
,.alk'. TIhe cinl -keth. t,:.p left. ,h..\ws three benrl'e-:
i' 2 t:r-t %id- .1,n rhe ide and ,:.ie 4'. feet ile
ri the centerer.

-a-- a:


That Florida is richly endowed by nature with orchids is
attested by the fact that botanical authorities list 84 different
species as indigenous to this state. Some of these are colorful
terrestrial forms that grow in the rich organic soils of ham-
mocks and flatwoods, while others are epiphytes, inhabiting
certain trees that grow abundantly in the great swamps and
hammocks of the southern part of the Florida peninsula. Sev-
eral of these arboreal species are extremely popular with orchid-
ists and specimens of Oncidium luridum, Cyrtopodium puncta-
tum, Epidendrum cochleatum, and other indigenes are to be
found as cherished members of most large collections.
Florida's climate, which is so congenial to the 84 indigenous
species, is also very favorable for the production of the large-
flowered Cattleyas that have long held first place as flowers for
personal adornment. Several commercial growers have moved
their establishments to Florida because they have found that
the unusually large number of sunny days, the high humidity,
mild climate and the reasonable costs of land and labor have
made it possible to produce first-rate flowers at a comparatively
low cost. Many amateur growers have discovered that these
factors enable them to grow hobby collections with a minimum
of effort and equipment. Seedlings grow well in Florida's sunny
climate; the older flowering plants produce new growths that
are robust and heavily flowered.
Through the efforts of scientific investigators at agricultural
colleges and expert private growers in amateur and commercial
ranges, more and more facts are being made known to the end
that orchid culture has lost much of its mystery and it is con-
ceded that the requirements of many of the most spectacular
species are no more exacting than are those of roses, gardenias
and lilies. Orchid growing has received a tremendous impetus
lately, thanks to greater garden consciousness in America, the
activities and publications of the American Orchid Society, and
phenomenal success in growing seedlings in nutrient cultures.
Steadily and surely the growing of orchids is passing from the
conservatories of wealthy fanciers to smaller commercial ranges
and to the many amateur growers of moderate means.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Large crowds of intensely interested spectators are seen at
the orchid displays in flower shows and the questions directed
at persons in charge indicate widespread interest in this great
group of tropical
plants. At agri-
cultural colleges
the instructors
note mounting
student interest
and growing
numbers of let-
ters of inquiry
each year.

The parts of
flowers and their
arrangement de-
termine the plant
families to which
these flowers be-
long. All orchids,
then, belong to
the family Or-
chidaceae, a n d
Fig. 3.-One of the most dainty of the Florida have flowers that
epiphytes is lonopsis utricularioides.
are essentially the
same in structure, although very often one or more of the peri-
anth segments may be greatly modified in form-may, in fact, be
fused with another segment so that the flower may be almost
unrecognizable as an orchid. For the parts of the flower, see
Figure 4.
The outer segments of the floral envelope, those which protect
the unopened bud, are the sepals. There are, in typical orchid
blossoms, three sepals. The other appendages which resemble
the sepals are the petals. Two of these often stand up between
the sepals, while the third is the spectacular and highly colored
labellum or lip which surrounds the column.
The column is that fleshy body that is formed by the fusion
of the stamens and the pistil. Highly specialized in character,

Orchids in Florida

its function is to assure cross-pollination. Ordinarily in those
genera that have a showy labellum it is fused to the base of the
column, but in others it may be separate.
,, ll l li ln l j lln l i I II nI I i]l l ll, l l l lll l l ln ,ll ji|. l li |II 111
4. S 7 I


Se position of pollinia
S e plstigmatic surface

e t labellum (removed)

Fig. 4.-The parts of a typical orchid flower, as illustrated by
Phaius grandifolius.

The pollinia (masses of pollen) are borne by the anthers,
which are in a cavity at the end of the column. The viscid char-
acter of the pollen precludes wind pollination and necessitates
the transport of the pollen by an animal agency.
Just back of the anthers is a dike of plant tissue that is cleverly
designed to prevent self-pollination. This important mechanism
is known as the rostellum.
Next in order comes the stigmatic surface, that viscid area
whose function is to receive and hold the pollen that may be
deposited by insects or the hand of man. The stigmatic surface
may be of different types, but typically it is sunken into the
column in a saucer-like depression. This area may be receptive
to pollen after a flower has been open for a day or two and
remains so until after the flower fades. Many orchids are self-
sterile, i.e., they will not set seeds to their own pollen, so that
cross-pollination is essential for the formation of a capsule of
viable seeds.
The ovary lies just below the column and it is here that the
sperms from the pollen fertilize the egg cells. After pollination
has been effected the flower wilts and the ovary soon begins
to enlarge.

Florida Cooperative Extension

The orchid family is one of the largest and most complex in
the plant kingdom. The flowers of the 15,000 species and end-
less hybrids display a magnificence in color, size and form that
is not surpassed by any other group of plants.
Most typical orchids are characterized by unusually thick and
waxy leaves which greatly aid in reducing transpiration, and
pseudobulbs which are storehouses for water and nutrients.
These specialized
organs enable or-
chids to pass
through periods
of drought that
would prove fatal
to many peren-
nials. Orchid
pseudobulbs vary
greatly in size
A and form, as indi-
cated by the long,
narrow finger-like
organs that are
characteristic of
some of the Catt-
leya hybrids in
contrast to the
much appressed
Fig. 5.-Maggie Raphael is a popular hybrid pseudobulbs of
that was derived by crossing Cattleya dowiana with
C. trianae. some of the Onci-
diums. In some
of the terrestrial species, the pseudobulbs are, in truth, subter-
ranean organs much like corms.
According to the type of root system, orchids are divided into
four general classes:
1. Epiphytic.-Those orchids in which the functional roots
are all aerial. The roots in the substratum merely hold the
plants firmly in position. These plants have adapted themselves
to an arboreal life and find the branches of trees congenial hold-
fasts. The tree dwellers are not parasitic, but obtain their
nutrients from the air and from decaying leaves and bits of
bark which the rains deposit about the plants. The roots of

Orchids in Florida

these aerial plants are surrounded by thick, spongy tissues that
are capable of absorbing great quantities of moisture as well
as minute quantities of nutrients from the air. Osmundine with
perfect drainage is the best growing medium for many members
of this group, of which Phalaenopsis is a typical example.
2. Semi-epiphytic.-Most orchids of commerce are listed here
but there is no distinct line of demarcation between semi-
epiphytes and epiphytes. A part of the active root system
grows within the potting medium of brown osmundine while
some of the active roots are aerial. Cattleya, Coelogyne, and
Oncidium are classed as semi-epiphytes.
3. Semi-terrestrial.-Orchids that are found in nature with
their fleshy roots growing in light, porous leaf mold are arbi-
trarily put into this group by horticulturists. Cypripedium,
Cymbidium, and Phaius are usually classed as semi-terrestrials
and may be grown in a friable potting mixture of dry, rotted
cow manure, peat moss, leaf mold, osmunda fibre, and sand.
Semi-monthly applications of weak liquid manure are recom-
mended when the flower spikes show at the bases of the pseu-
dobulbs or leaf rosettes.
4. Terrestrial.-The true earth dwellers with wiry roots like
garden plants are in this category. Calanthe is a representative
of this class and is grown in a soil that is suitable for garden
flowers. A mixture of loam, leaf mold, peat moss, coarse sand,
and cow manure is suitable to Bletia, Calanthe, Habenaria,
Pogonia, and other members of this group.
The grower who wishes to succeed with these plants will vary
his soil mixture, his watering, and his shading to meet the
needs of the species growing under his care. A considerable
amount of close attention is needed, followed by trials with
different combinations of treatments.

Potting is one of the most important operations in orchid
culture. Good judgement, experience, painstaking care and "a
love for the work" will result in firm potting and this means a
healthy orchid plant that produces plump pseudobulbs, large
dark green leaves and good flowers. Careless, slipshod, loose
potting is bound to yield unsatisfactory results in small shrunken
growths and a few pale, misshapen blooms.

Florida Cooperative Extension

The time to repot orchids varies greatly and is dependent
upon many factors. Experience is essential in making correct
decisions. Most orchids may be shifted with complete success
just as flowering is over. In general, it is important not to pot
too frequently, nor to divide the plant too closely, nor to use
containers that are too large.
A new clay pot should be selected that will accommodate at
least two years' growth because most orchids thrive best when
not disturbed.
The drainage hole in the bottom of the pot should be enlarged
to about one and one-half inches by tapping with a hammer.
Small fragments
of broken flower
pots (crocks) are
then mixed with
four or five bits
of charcoal and
used to fill the pot
to about one-third
of its volume and
a little black os-
mundine is spread
upon the crocks.
The plant is held
in the left hand
so that it is at
the correct level,
with the backbulb
against one rim
of the pot and
the new growth
pointing directly
Fig. 6.-A colony of the royal fern, Osmunda toward the far
regalis. The aerial root masses are used to pot most
types of orchids. The trade name is osmundine or side. The right
orchid peat. hand is used to
pack blocks of osmunda fibre about the root system. It is con-
sidered good practice to insure good drainage by having the
strands of fibre running vertically.
After enough fibre has been added to hold the plant, use a
pointed hardwood stick in the right hand to force wedges of
osmundine around the inside of the pot, always working around,
forcing the compost toward the plant. It is important that con-

Orchids in Florida

siderable pressure be used to assure a very firm condition at the
end of the operation. Any good orchidist can turn his potted
plants upside down and shake them vigorously to demonstrate
the extremely firm potting that he gives to epiphytic orchids.
Usually the osmundine is allowed to stand slightly above the
rim of the pot so that it may be sheared to a symmetrical, con-
vex mound. As the final operation in potting, a heavy wire
stake is cut to the correct length and driven between the pseu-
dobulbs down into the crocks. Green linen florist's thread is
employed to tie each pseudobulb separately to this wire stake.
Great care must be observed in keeping freshly potted plants
on the dry side until root action starts.

Osmundine or orchid peat is the horticultural name for the
fibrous aerial roots of the large woods fern, Osmunda regalis.
There seems to be a considerable difference of opinion among
orchidists as to what is the best type of osmundine to use for
potting. Some experts insist that the black, wiry sort must be
used after it has been shredded, torn and washed; other equally
good growers pot their orchids by packing blocks of the light
brown, fuzzy material about the roots without tearing or shred-
ding. The writer has used both types of osmundine with good
In years past orchids were grown in baskets of wood or clay,
but these open-work containers have been largely replaced with
ordinary clay flower pots which are now standard equipment in
most orchid houses. Sometimes Coelogyne and Epidendrum are
grown in wire baskets as conservatory specimens and Phalaenop-
sis is occasionally seen in old fashioned baskets of clay or wood.
Amateur growers often use cypress boards, baskets, logs or
hollow cypress knees as orchid containers, either as a matter
of convenience or to gain an artistic effect.
Charcoal is indispensable in successful orchid culture, small
bits being mixed with the crocks and potting material to keep
the medium sweet and contribute toward better aeration within
the pots.
Crocks is the horticulturist's name for small pieces of flower
pots. These are essential in the growing of all plants in pots
and they are especially necessary in orchid culture. For most
varieties, the pots should be filled one-third full with fine crocks
to which have been added bits of charcoal.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Sphagnum moss is native to Florida's flatwoods and it may be
collected as needed or bought from specialists. Many orchidists
feel that bits of live sphagnum worked about the bases of the
freshly potted plants make for a healthy, thrifty condition.
Vandas are potted in fresh sphagnum with charcoal and this
moss is also widely employed in the media for Cypripediums
and Oncidiums.
Leaf mold may be collected from the floor of hardwood forests
or it may be made by piling leaves and keeping them for a year
or so. Leaf mold in an advanced stage of decomposition is used
in the growing compost of terrestrial and semi-terrestrial
Cow manure, also used for these classes of orchids, must be
dry and thoroughly rotted before it is mixed into the potting
Wire hangers may be bought from orchid supply houses or
can be made as needed.

The two methods of vegetative or asexual propagation in use
today among orchid growers are division and offsets.
In division the pseudobulbs or growths are separated and
potted up in smaller units. These separations, consisting of
three or four pseudobulbs with the accompanying new growth,
are handled after the manner described on page 10. Care must
be observed not to divide the plants too closely, as this practice
is devitalizing in the extreme and can do a great deal of harm.
Careful amateur growers who are accustomed to separating
garden perennials to single divisions are most often guilty of
this overzealous dividing of robust orchid plants. To them
this warning is directed.
When the rhizome of a sympodial orchid is cut in division,
a new growth will usually arise from the pseudobulb just behind
the cut. Ordinarily, it is considered good horticulture to pot
this back portion as soon as the new growth commences.
A modification of this method is sometimes used. When the
new growth reaches the edge of the pot, a generous block of
fresh brown osmundine is wired firmly under the growing point.
The rhizome is cut half way through behind the fourth pseu-
dobulb in order to force one of the dormant buds. When the
leading section is firmly established in the fresh osmundine, the
rhizome is severed at the point of injury. As the dormant bud

Orchids in Florida

shows activity, the back section may be potted in fresh compost.
With Vanda and other monopodial genera marcottage or air
layering is effectively used. A cut is made partially through
the stem and moist sphagnum moss is wrapped around it at this
point until the mass is perhaps the size of an egg. Linen or
waxed thread is used to bind the moss in place. This should
be done during the spring and summer when root growth is most
active, and the ball of moss should be carefully syringed so that
it stays moist at all times. When inspection shows that the roots
are growing out through the ball the upper section is cut off and
potted up as a new individual. An axillary bud will arise and
become the new terminal growing point.
There are various other methods of vegetative propagation,
one of which was first described for this family by the writer
on page 46 of American Orchid Culture. Briefly, it may be em-
ployed with Phaius as follows:
The flower scapes are severed from the plants after the blos-
soms have faded. The apical ends (old inflorescences) are
discarded, while the basal ends are retained for propagating
material. One familiar with the genus will recall that there

Fig. 7.-Small plants arising from scapes of Phaius grandifolius which had
been inserted in a cutting bench after the manner described on pages 13-14.


Florida Cooperative Extension

are several inactive, bract-protected buds at intervals along the
lower two-thirds of the flower stem of Phaius.
Following the practice of laying Dracaena canes horizontally
in a congenial medium, the orchid stems are partially buried
in the peat-sand cutting bench. Syringing and wetting the
walks are practiced in the usual way.
Figure 7 shows the small plants that arose from the axillary
buds after the stems have been standing in a congenial medium
for about three months. The scapes are cut on either side of
each small plant so that it may be potted up in the medium best
suited to its needs. A moist-chamber technic, already described,
is used to increase Phalaenopsis and it is hoped that trials will
reveal that the method may be employed in the vegetative propa-
gation of additional genera.

Florida's geographical position, the large number of bright,
sunny days, the heavy annual rainfall with the resultant high
humidity, and comparative freedom from sub-freezing tempera-
tures combine to make the Peninsula State very suitable for the
culture of orchids.
Even in this mild climate, glasshouses cannot be dispensed
with entirely. In extreme southern Florida some 25 epiphytic
orchids are indigenous and these, together with many other
sorts, may be grown in mango or custard-apple trees or in half-
shade lath houses. On winter nights when extremely low tem-
peratures are forecast, heaters may be successfully employed
to protect these "jungle orchids."
Small lath houses may be fitted with canvas curtains which
can be stretched over the roof and walls to hold heat released
by lanterns, oil heaters, or charcoal pots. If there are compara-
tively few plants, they may be carried into the house for the
duration of the cold spell.
Glasshouses are essential even in tropical Florida to protect
seedlings and hybrid Cattleyas from heavy rains, strong winds
and rodents. Good greenhouses in many sizes constructed by
several well known manufacturers are doing excellent service in
Florida. These structures will be designed and built to one's
specifications, and will vary in price with the size, quality of
materials, and type of heating equipment. Manufacturers will
be pleased to furnish lists of knock-down materials in the event
that a simple home-made house is preferred.

Orchids in Florida

Ordinarily, it is considered best to use rather small green-
houses for growing orchids so that the environment can be easily
controlled. It is thought that houses which run north and south
give a more nearly ideal exposure to the plants than do those
facing in other directions.
The ridge and the side-ventilating apparatus vary consider-
ably, and all possible combinations are seen. Often no side-
ventilators are installed on the side of prevailing winds. If
side-ventilators are installed at all, they should be under the
benches so that air does not blow directly over the plants. Low
ventilators must always be screened to prevent the entry of
small animals.
A 15-foot house is a very practical size, as it will accommodate
a center bench of five feet, walks of two feet and two side
benches, each three feet in width. The arrangements of bench-
ing, staging and substrata for the pots to stand upon will vary
with the ideas of the grower, of course. All kinds of supports
for the potted plants are seen and it remains for the orchidist
to choose the system he prefers to use. Gravel, coke, charcoal,
inverted pots, wire hangers, concrete benches, cypress lath stag-
ing and hardware cloth are all used successfully for all classes
of orchids. Figure 2 illustrates an ideal orchid house of the
smaller type.
As orchids must have a consistently high humidity, some
growers have sprinklers installed under the benches to furnish
a continuous mist. Others rely upon frequent dampening of
the walks to maintain a high moisture content in the air of
the greenhouse.
Watering is possibly the most important practice in orchid
culture. Certain sections of Florida have water supplies that
are distinctly alkaline in reaction. Water that has a reading
above pH 7.3 should never be used for orchids. Very often the
best growers will use nothing but rain water on their plants,
saving the city water for dampening the walks only. There is
no doubt that hard water is injurious and that the water should
be tested before it is used to syringe orchids.
In northern Florida during mid-winter, water that is con-
ducted by pipes that are not far underground is quite likely to
be too cold to spray on orchid plants, and for this reason it
should be tempered by being held at house temperature for some

Florida Cooperative Extension

time. Water from deep or flowing wells is constantly warm
enough to be used with perfect safety. Ordinarily, all water in
southern Florida is sufficiently warm to be employed without
injurious effect.
Watering, possibly the most exacting of operations in orchid
culture, can never be done by rule of thumb. Experience is the
best tutor in the art of watering these tropical plants. Freshly
potted individuals should have little water applied to the pots,
but the leaves should be syringed once or twice each bright day
with a fine, gentle spray. When new growths are expanding,
the plants will welcome daily water on their roots in addition
to syringing and wetting of the walks.
When the sky is overcast during winter days, care must be
observed not to overwater.
By reading, information may be acquired as to the natural
conditions under which orchids grow. It is always a good plan
to approach these conditions in the artificial conditions of the
orchid house, supplying heat, moisture and shade that most
nearly meet the needs of each particular genus.
Shading of the glass is essential during the summer, and for
this purpose an inside coat of cold-water paint may be applied
with brush or spray gun. The writer uses a proprietary casein
wall paint and is well pleased with the protection that it gives.
Green, buff or white may be chosen by the operator to suit his
particular needs.
If painting the glass on the inside is objectionable for any
reason, an outside formula of white lead and gasoline may be
made up and applied with a sprayer.
Some orchidists suspend sheeting over the plants during the
middle of the summer while others use screens of cypress laths
outside the glass to break the direct rays of the sun. Where
artesian water is available, an irrigating pipe may be installed
along the ridge so that a spray will constantly fall on the house.
This device aids Southern growers in reducing the temperature
during the summer months.
In southern Florida growers consider it unnecessary to install
standard heating systems. On rare occasions when freezing tem-
peratures are forecast, the house may be kept sufficiently warm
by electric or oil heaters.
Ventilation must be carefully attended to if the plants are

Orchids in Florida

to succeed and produce good crops of flowers. An abundance
of fresh, free air, without drafts, is essential and the good
grower will continually adjust his ventilators through the day
to allow for changes in temperature and the direction and veloc-
ity of the wind. It goes without saying that a ventilator must
never be wide open on the side of a strong wind.

The same precautions that are observed in the preparation
of garden flowers for arrangement or for sale must prevail in
making orchids ready for use.
After the flowers have been open long enough to become fully
expanded; for the colors to become deep and rich, they should
be ready to cut. A sharp knife should
be used to sever the stem as low as
possible. The blossoms should be gath-
ered early in the morning while the
plant tissues are turgid. In a room
which is held at a temperature as near
60 F. as possible, the orchids are kept
for a few hours in vessels of cold, fresh
water. The containers must have hard-
ware cloth or grille tops so that there Fig. 8.-Cattleya labiata
is no chance for the petals to droop into is a dependable corsage
orchid for autumn use.
the water. It is imperative that the orchid for autumn use.
containers be scrupulously clean at all times so that bacterial
action may be kept at a minimum.
Orchids are devitalized by storage in refrigerators at the

Fig. 9.-Shipping tubes of glass or metal fitted with tight
rubber caps can be bought at horticultural supply houses.

usual temperatures and if boxes are used
for these flowers, the temperature should
not fall below 55 F.
After two or three hours in cold water
the flowers should be turgid and ready for
packing, at which time shipping tubes may
be secured on the stems. These little glass
appliances, that resemble test tubes with
rubber stoppers, may be purchased from
any large horticultural supply house or
through a wholesale florist.
The shipping box is lined with news-
papers and then a layer of shredded waxed
paper or cellophane, called "slither-trim," is
put in the bottom. The flowers, with their
tubes, are sewed gently, but firmly, against
this mattress of waxed packing so they can-
not move. Bits of waxed paper are put
between the petals so that they will not be
Fig. 10.-The hybrid Catt- bruised in transit. Sheets of florists' paper
leya orchid, Fabia, blooms in are folded over the blossoms before the lid
early autumn. (Photograph
by O. R. Evers.) is put into place.
Many thicknesses of newspaper are used
as insulation throughout the year; in winter as a protection
against cold; in summer against heat.
Finally, heavy kraft paper is wrapped and tied securely around
the well insulated package.
For local delivery, of course, the freshly cut blossoms are
simply placed in boxes on layers of "slither-trim."

Of the 500 genera of orchids known to science only a few are
grown in most Florida collections. Hence, this work will de-
scribe only those which are most popular with growers in the
Peninsula State.
Cattleya, without doubt the queen among orchids, is a native
of Central America that succeeds well in Florida. This is the
genus from which most of the corsage types are derived, the
one that the word "orchid" connotes to most people. Plants
of the original species have been imported into the United States
since the dawn of American orchid culture in the middle of the
last century. Since the Knudson method of growing seedlings

Orchids in Florida

has been adopted commercially, literally hundreds of thousands
of hybrid Cattleya seedlings are produced each year. The lineage
has become exceedingly complex as the hybridists make every
conceivable cross-pollination. The flowers of these complex
Cattleya hybrids, particularly the white ones, are the most
highly prized of corsage orchids, the ones that command the
highest prices in commerce.
Botanists list about 40 species of Cattleya as native to tropi-
cal America and among the most important in the American
trade are:
C. bowringiana,* 5-12 flowers, 21/2 inches across, flowering
season autumn.
C. dowiana, 2-6 flowers, to 7 inches across, flowering season
C. gaskelliana, to 7 inches across, flowering season early au-
C. gigas, properly C. warscewoiczii, is the largest flowered
species, 2-3 flowers are borne in early summer.
C. harrisoniae, 2-5 flowers 41/2 inches across are produced
in the autumn.
C. labiata,* 3-5 flowers 6 inches across are borne in the fall.
C. mendelii, 3-5 flowers to 7 inches in diameter are produced
in late spring.
C. mossiae, 3-5 flowers to 7 inches broad appear in late spring.

Of easiest culture for amateurs.

Fig. 11.-Mag-
gie Raphael
blooms quite I
dependably in
most amateur _
collections. i

Florida Cooperative Extension

C. percivaliana,* 2-4 flowers about 5 inches across are pro-
duced at Christmas time.
C. shroederae, blossoms about 6 inches across are ready for
C. skinneri,* 5-10 flowers 5 inches broad may be counted on
for Easter sales.
C. trianae,* 2-3 blooms, some to 6 inches in diameter, are
usually produced in January.

The orchid family is singular in that two, and even three,
genera will inter-cross. Thus, we have Brasso-cattleya, a bi-
generic cross, Brasso-laelio-cattleya, a tri-generic cross. Some
of the most highly prized orchids of today belong to this latter
group, which represents complicated hybridization between three
distinct genera within this large family.
Brown osmunda fibre is widely used as the growing medium
for Cattleyas and their hybrids. After flowering or just as new
root action begins, the plants should be firmly packed into new
pots with fresh osmundine as described on page 10. Judgement
should be used in selecting a pot of just the size to accommodate
the growth for two years. It is important that the plants are
not set in containers that are too large, as this contributes
toward an unhealthy, waterlogged condition of the growing
The leaves should be syringed with a fine spray until new
growth starts, when liberal amounts of water may be applied
to the root systems. Since high humidity is necessary for satis-
factory growth, the greenhouse walks must be soaked twice each
sunny day.
Cattleyas and their hybrids revel in a bright house, so the
pots should be set where the plants will have an abundance
of light. The direct rays of the sun, however, should be broken
as described on page 16.
When the flower buds begin to open the plants should be
moved to a screened room to prevent cross-pollination by insects.
This room must be cool, yet at the same time have plenty of
light so that the flowers may mature properly. Chewing insects
and slugs may cause serious injury to the unfurling petals, so
it is essential that these pests be excluded from the flowering
Of easiest culture for amateurs.

Orchids in Florida 21

After the blossoms are cut, if potting is not seen to be neces-
sary, the plants are put back in their regular positions on the
greenhouse benches and handled in the usual manner.
Periodically all orchids must be closely inspected for infesta-
tions of scale insects. A weak oil emulsion spray, made according
to directions on the container, should be carefully painted on
with a soft brush. Excess solution must not be allowed to run
down on the root system.
Cattleyas, in common with all orchids, should never be chilled
by drafts of cold air; neither should they be subjected to low
night temperatures. Some adequate heating appliance must be
provided so that the temperature in the Cattleya house does not
fall below 550 F., and usually stands at about 650 F.
Calanthe is a genus of fibrous-rooted, deciduous, terrestrial
orchids to which the botanists ascribe 50 species. The tall spikes
bear many flowers that are notable for their beauty and excep-
tional keeping quality. Amateur orchidists usually grow some
representatives of this genus, since they are easily handled as
pot plants.
When the leaves begin to turn yellow in the autumn water
is withheld, gradually, until the flower bud shows at the base
of the silvery-green pseudobulb. Little water is given to the
roots during flowering, but the pseudobulbs and the walks must
be syringed about twice a day. After the flowers fade, the pots
may be laid on their sides for a complete rest until growth is
resumed. In the spring when the root initials are observed, the
bulbs should be carefully repotted in a composted mixture of
one-third chopped sod and loam, one-third rotted cow manure,
and one-third sharp sand. It is well to work in a small quantity
of charcoal and sphagnum moss, and to apply weak manure
twice each month during the growing season. As with other
orchids, a liberal quantity of crocks and charcoal must be used
in the pot to assure adequate drainage.
Coelogyne is made up of more than 100 species of epiphytes
from the old world. Members of this genus bear many small
flowers in sprays and they are all highly decorative when grown
in baskets as conservatory subjects. Although the blossoms are
small they are well adapted to use in corsages, bridal bouquets
and flower arrangements. When set in baskets of fresh osmun-
dine hung on rafters near the glass, the Coelogynes can be
depended upon to furnish interesting sprays during the winter

Florida Cooperative Extension

Experience has shown that Coelogynes resent repotting, so
several divisions should be set about five inches apart in wire
baskets that will accommodate about five years' growth. Blocks
of new osmundine may be added to the baskets if pieces are
carried away by watering.
Coelogynes grow rather rapidly in the spring, at which time
they can assimilate large amounts of water. The old pseu-
dobulbs will stay round and plump, while the new growth will
mature into large, healthy bulbs.

Fig. 12.-Coelogyne lactea is well adapted to basket culture.

During the autumn and early winter water should be cur-
tailed, just enough being used to keep the pseudobulbs from
wrinkling. The operator should be certain that the osmundine
in the center of the basket does not become too wet for healthy
passing of the plants through the autumn dormancy. In com-
mon with all orchids, the Coelogynes require a growing medium
that drains readily and quickly.

A minimum of 550-650 F. at
night should be satisfactory for
this group of spray orchids.
Cymbidiums, in about 30 spe-
cies, are native to warm coun-
tries of the Eastern Hemi-
sphere. This genus has long
held the attention of British
orchidists with the result that
there are scores of horticultural
varieties in the lists. Growers
should be careful to approach
the natural conditions under
which these large plants grow
in the highland forests of sub- Fig. 13.-Cymbidiums flowered in i
tropical Asia.
It is well known that few flowers can match the Cymbidium
in keeping quality. If the sprays are properly hardened, the
blossoms should last for two or three weeks.
Large pots or tubs that will accommodate growth for three
years are suggested as good containers and these should stand
in shady positions in the greenhouse. No distinct rest period
is essential to this genus of evergreen orchids in which root
action is uninterrupted, but it is suggested that watering be cut
down in the autumn. Bi-weekly feedings of weak liquid manure
are recommended when the flower spikes appear at the bases
of the pseudobulbs.
There is a lack of agreement among growers as to the best
medium for Cymbidiums and it remains with the individual to
work out this matter for his particular conditions. Florida
and California orchidists occasionally grow these plants in a
good grade of garden soil di-
rectly under a lath-house. Fig. 14.-Cypripediums in vari
Cypripedium, the lady-slipper
orchid, has long held a place of
first importance in collections,
especially in England and in
the East. The plants are of
easy culture and produce their
distinctive blossoms during the
winter months when sales are
at a peak.



Fig. 15.-C:e'topodii i
pIicLrattrIrt, i' coImmonly called
t.he cow-horn orchid or cigar
orchid. The flower spikes
arise from thP bases of the
new pseudobulbs as they are
formed in the early spring.

In nature the lady-
slippers are terrestrial,
finding a congenial en-
vironment in soils largely
derived from rotting wood and leaves. In greenhouses they are
usually grown in brown osmundine which has been top-dressed
with live sphagnum moss.
The Cypripediums do not have pseudobulbs nor do they have
a definite rest period, hence water should never be withheld.
A high humidity, warm temperature and complete shading of
the glass, with a minimum night temperature of 450 to 500 F.
should suit the lady-slippers very well.
Cyrtopodium, the cow-horn orchid, is a cherished member of
many collections. The long arching leaves drop in early winter
when the flower spikes begin to show at the bases of the huge
cylindrical pseudobulbs. The sturdy scapes, which are often
three feet long in good specimens, produce myriads of yellow
and brown mottled flowers that are colorful and interesting.
Culture is extremely easy and, given protection from severe
winds and low temperatures, the great Cyrtopodium is almost
sure to be a success. A minimum night temperature of 500 F.
suits this Florida indigene very well. Either pot culture with
brown osmundine or securing the plants to blankets of osmun-
dine on pecky cypress boards seems to be entirely satisfactory.
Like several other native Florida species, the cow-horn orchid
blossoms in the very early spring when orchidists are anxious
to have their greenhouses look their best.

Under glasshouse culture
with a miscellaneous collection
of plants this orchid is rather
subject to attacks of scale.
Careful applications of an oil
emulsion should be made with
a small brush to control this
troublesome pest.
Dendrobium is a genus of
orchids that have long been
popular as decorative conserva-
tory plants, both in this coun-
try and abroad. The long
showy spikes of flowers may
be borne in a terminal or in an
axillary position.
In southern Florida Dendro-
biums may be seen growing in
crotches of lawn trees, con-
tributing splendidly toward the
much sought tropical atmo-
Good brown osmundine
should be used to repot the
plants when they are very
crowded, and then only when
the new growths show root
Hung by wires near the glass,
this genus succeeds well in
strong light, especially when
the growths are hardened off.
As with many orchids, water
should be curtailed after the
growths are mature, yet the
pseudobulbs should never be
allowed to shrivel. When blos-
som buds appear, water is in-
Dendrobiums are readily in-
creased vegetatively by potting
up the plantlets that form on

Fig. 16.- The flowers of Dendrobium
aggregatum variety Jenkinsi are of a de-
lightful clear yellow.

Fig. 17.-One of the most graceful of
the spray orchids is spring-flowering Den-
drobium pierardi.

Florida Cooperative Extension

the tall pseudobulbs. In the humid atmosphere of orchid houses
these growths are usually well furnished with roots and the
propagations grow off quickly. A night temperature no lower
than 550 F. should suit Dendrobiums.
Epidendrum is a genus of spray orchids to which belong 300
species. Of special interest to amateur growers because of their
ease of culture, this group of small-flowered epiphytes has rep-
resentatives in almost every collection of orchids. Both winter
and summer flowering, the numerous species are extremely vari-
able in habit of growth, size and color of flowers and size and
form of pseudobulbs. Collectors usually grow Epidendrum atro-
purpurem, E. aurantiacum, E. radicans, E. fragrans, E. cochlea-
tum, E. nocturnum and E. tampense. Quite often seedpods fol-
low Epidendrum flowers and these organs should be clipped off
as the formation of seeds is devitalizing to plants. Standard pot
culture as described on page 10 for the Cattleyas suits this easily
grown tropical American genus. Wire baskets may be used as
containers for large colonies and they should be packed into
these firmly with blocks of osmundine. In case bits of the fibre
are washed away in watering, additional fresh blocks may be
packed in the basket to keep the
Fig. 18.-Clam-shell or spoon orchid, substratum firm. From central
Epidendrum cochleatum, is native to the
swamplands of southern Florida. Florida southward Epiden-
drums are often grown on lawn
trees as garden plants. The col-
onies to be naturalized should
be tacked to the tree trunks
with small sheets of screen
wire padded inside with thin
slabs of osmundine. As a mini-
mum night temperature of 500
F. is about right for this genus,
some provision must be made
for the protection of natural-
ized plants when low tempera-
tures are anticipated. Hoods
of several thicknesses of burlap
or cotton cloth inside of which
electric lights can be burned
will usually be adequate.
Laelia contains about 30
species that are found in the

Orchids in Florida

tropical Americas. Botanically they are closely akin to Cattleya,
from which genus the scientists separate them because of a dif-
ference in the number of pollen bodies.
Laelias are favorites in all comprehensive collections, respond-
ing well to ordinary care. Growth is very satisfactory for most
fanciers when the pots are suspended near the glass by wire
hangers, using the culture described for the Cattleyas. Night
temperatures should be held between 550 and 650 F. for best
Laelio-cattleya is the great horticultural class of orchids that
has arisen by crossing plants of the genus Laelia with others
belonging to Cattleya, and in this class are found many of the
most expensive orchids of today. The culture to which Catt-
leyas respond is satisfactory for the Laelio-cattleya hybrids.
Growth is more continuous than in parent forms and an intense
period of rest is not advocated by successful operators.
Lycaste is a New World gen-
us of orchids to which has been Fig. 19. Popular with most amateur
orchidists is the West Indian Epidendrum
assigned some 30 species. Al- fragrans.
though these orchids are not
often seen in amateur collec-
tions, observations indicate that
they are quite amenable to cul-
ture and that there are no
particular barriers to the suc-
cessful flowering of Lycaste in
Growing conditions as rec-
ommended for Cattleya with
biennial shifting into larger
pots of new brown osmundine,
and a minimum night tempera-
ture of about 500 F., suit these
"botanicals" very well.
Oncidium is a genus of spray
orchids that contains some 300
species. Although these are
classed as "botanicals" (not of
the first importance for cut
flowers) they are of special in-
terest to American orchidists
because four species are native

Florida Cooperative Extension

in Florida, and
apparently all of
the exotics that
have been tried
here flourish in
this environment.
Among the lead-
ing species in
American collec-
tions will be
splendidum, 0.
vericosum roger-
si, 0. carthagin-
Fig. 20.-A large plant of Oncidium luridum
about four months after it had been collected from Fig. 21.-One of
a Florida hammock. This plant produced the flower the most spectacular
spike seen in Fig. 21 during its first season in cul- of Florida's native
tivation. orchids is Oncidium

Orchids in Florida

Fig. 22.-Oncidium splendidum is found in almost every collection of orchids.

ense, 0. flexuosum, 0. kra-
merianum, 0. sphacelatum,
0. luridum and 0. floridan-
um. Culture similar to that
employed for Cattleyas
seems to be adequate, with
potting in fresh osmundine
every second year after
blooming. Night tempera-
tures should not fall below
500 F.
Like many of the spray
orchids, Oncidiums are
grown on trees in southern
Florida where they are
highly prized for their
splendid decorative effects.
Phaius thrives unusually
well in Florida, as experi-
enced gardeners have long
grown it as a cherished pot

Fig. 23.-One of the most beautiful
of the Oncidiums is Oncidium varicosum
variety Rogersi.

Florida Cooperative Extension

plant. When handled like hybrid amaryllis these robust terres-
trial orchids from China produce tall, many-flowered scapes year
after year. Ordinarily the plants are divided every second or
third year after blooming. Large clay pots are used with plenty
of crocks and charcoal for drainage. The potting mixture is
made up of well rotted cow manure, sandy loam soil, peat moss
and shredded os-
munda fibre in
equal parts. A
mulch of peat
moss or cow ma-
nure is kept on
the surface of the
soil at all times.
A bi-weekly feed-
ing of weak liquid
manure is given
when the flower
a spikes show. Wa-
ter need not be
withheld, since
growth is contin-
uous, and it is
strongly suggest-
ed that the plants
be placed out of
doors in a lath
house, in a shrub-
bery border or un-
der a tree for the
summer months.
To the ama-
Fig. 24.-Typical flowers on a scape of teur, the veiled-
Phaius grandifolius.
nun orchid, Pha-
ius grandifolius, is strongly recommended as a dependable con-
servatory plant that will thrive under the same care given to
any choice bulbous plant. The night temperature should not
fall below 550 F.
Phalaenopsis, the moth orchid, contains half a hundred species
which are found principally in the tropical lands of Malaysia
and adjacent regions. During recent years this spray orchid
par excellence has attained a place of great prominence and

Orchids in Florida

Fig. 25.-Phalaenopsis are usually grown today in five- or six-inch pots.

it is highly prized and widely grown by hobbyists and com-
mercial growers alike.
The moth orchid is characterized by what is perhaps the most
distinctive foliage of any genus. The leaves usually are deep
purple beneath, beautifully mottled tessellatedd) green above
and thick and leathery in texture. Growth is extremely slow
after the plants have reached an age of two or three years.
Since the Knudson method (page 36) of growing seedlings has
come into com-
mercial usage,
Phalaenopsis is
more and more
widely grown.
The different
forms are being ,
used in breeding
work and new
varieties appear
in the trade lists
A method of
vegetative propa-
Fig. 26.-The beautiful moth orchid, Phalaenopsis,
gation is sug- is seen in most amateur collections.

Florida Cooperative Extension

gested in which exhausted flower scapes are inserted into a bell
jar on the bottom of which rests a saturated sponge. A piece
of glass as a tight lid assures a close atmosphere which en-
courages "breaks" from the axillary buds.
Experts agree that winter temperatures must not fall below
600 F. for best results. The high temperatures and humidity
of the Florida summer coin-
cide with the period of most
active growth and it is the
usual practice to dampen
Sb the greenhouse walks and
staging twice daily.
In Florida's intense sun-
light it is customary to use
paint on the glass and, in
addition, cotton sheeting
during the summer. Care
must be observed to keep
the growth firm by increas-
ing the light and maintain-
ing adequate ventilation
toward the end of the grow-
ing season.
It is the custom to leave
part of the scape when cut-
ting a spray, as it is well
known that second, or even
third, sets of flowers may
arise from dormant buds
low down on the scapes.
For years it was thought
that rafts or baskets of cy-
Fig. 27.-The beautiful blue orchid, press strips were essential
Vanda rothschildiana.
to success with Phalaenop-
sis but it has been clearly demonstrated that excellent results
are gotten with ordinary 6" azalea pots of red clay. Of course
it is necessary to use crocks and charcoal as in potting all or-
A fairly light potting with cleaned and shredded osmundine
is considered best for the popular moth orchids.
Vanda is a genus that is found in the tropics of the Old World
with Phalaenopsis. Like moth orchids, the Vandas are strictly

Orchids in Florida

epiphytic, have aerial root systems, and thrive under similar
conditions of rather high temperatures and great humidity.
Although a score or more of species have been described by
systematic botanists, only four or five are in general cultivation
in the United States. No serious barriers to the culture of
vandas have been observed and there seems to be no good reason
why these distinctive spray orchids should not be easily grown
by most hobbyists.
Most growers use fresh sphagnum moss and charcoal rather
than osmundine for potting vandas. On the coldest nights the
temperature should not be allowed to fall below 550 F.
Vanilla is an interesting member of every collection of orchids
because one species, Vanilla planifolia, produces the vanilla of
commerce and because one other, V. eggerssii, is native to the
hammocks of extreme southern Florida.
Terrestrial in nature, the plants may be grown in fibrous
potting soil or in pots of osmunda fibre like epiphytic orchids.
These rampant tropical vines are of easiest culture, and add
atmosphere and interest to any conservatory group and may be
increased simply by planting of a section of the stem. A low
night temperature of 500 F. is suitable for vanilla.

Contrary to popular belief, pollinating orchids is a simple
process that can be easily accomplished by anyone who is a
successful grower of garden plants. The floral parts, as illus-
trated in Figure 4, are large, conspicuous and easily identified
for the necessary work.
The many thousands of orchid hybrids that are grown on
both continents are of comparatively recent origin because, as
E. A. White* states, up to the year 1860 only four hybrids
had flowered. By 1898 records showed that 800 seedlings of
complex lineage had blossomed.

Some of the factors that every breeder strives for are:
1. Winter flowering; the greatest demand for flowers is dur-
ing the winter and early spring.
American Orchid Culture, A. T. De La Mare Co., 1939.

Florida Cooperative Extension

2. Distinction of form; the modern hybridist strives to pro-
duce seedlings that have huge blossoms of distinctive form and
3. Vigor and floriferousness; essential, as every orchid plant
must pay its way.
4. Good keeping quality; an important factor in a high cost
flower that is worn or displayed in rooms of comparatively high
5. Fragrance; entirely lacking in some orchids, it is a char-
acter which must be considered when pollinations are made.

An orchid flower that is kept in a fairly cool room will last
for two or three weeks and the pollen is usually good until
decomposition sets in. Dr. Knudson reports that if the blossom
is cut and placed in a receptacle without water, the pollen will
remain viable longer.
The best method for storing orchid pollen over a period of
time is to remove the pollinia (pollen bodies) carefully with
forceps and wrap them in tissue paper. These packets, properly
labelled with the variety and date, are placed in glass bottles
or vials which are held at 450-50 F.
Hybridizers have found that pollen from different species
varies greatly in the length of time it can be stored, and it is
impossible to make a statement relative to the keeping quality
of all orchid pollen. Suffice it to say that, when stored as de-
scribed above, pollen of Cattleya hybrids may be viable after
several months.
The column, see Figure 28, contains the organs that are
essential to reproduction by seeds. The pollen masses (pollinia)
are toward the tip on the outside of the column where they may
be easily removed with forceps. The sticky character of these
bodies precludes wind pollination and necessitates the transport
of pollen by insects or by man. In breeding work the flowers
are emasculated by removing the anthers shortly after the
perianth segments expand.
The viscid stigmatic surface lies just behind the anther and
is usually ready to receive pollen after the flower has been open
for a few days. With sharp forceps or a toothpick pollen is
transferred to this sticky area and pollination is complete.

Orchids in Florida

It is very important that the names or numbers of both
parents be recorded on a permanent plastic label and in a breed-
ing book so the lineage of one's seedlings will be known.
Shortly after pollination has been effected the orchid flower
wilts and the ovary will enlarge noticeably within a few weeks.

the forceps have been used to
apply pollen to the stigma


Fig. 28.-The pollinia have been removed from the column just above
the forceps. Pollen has been placed on the stigmatic surface just below
the tips of the forceps which cover the rostellum. See page 34.

It must be remembered that plants bearing flowers to be sold
must be kept in a screened room lest the blossoms wilt as a
result of insect pollination. It goes without saying that flowers
must be kept cool and must never be sprayed with water.
If the cross has been successful, the ovary will grow into a
capsule of considerable size, as illustrated in Figure 29. From
nine to 14 months are required for a seed-pod to mature, at
which time it splits and frees the dust-like seeds. After a
capsule is perhaps eight months old it should be supported by
a light wire stake and protected by a small bag of moisture-
proof cellophane or pliofilm.
Careful determinations have shown that an orchid capsule
may contain from 500,000 to 850,000 seeds!!
Scientific investigations demonstrate that orchid seeds may
be kept in a viable condition for many months or even years by
storing in tissue paper in glass vials which are placed in a desic-
cator. This appliance is kept in a refrigerator which has a
constant temperature of about 45-50 F. For all practical pur-
poses this method is entirely suitable. It must be emphatically

Florida Cooperative Extension

Fig. 29.-A typical Cattleya seedpod (growing from horizontal stalk)
about 10 months after pollination.

stated that orchid seeds rapidly lose their vitality when they
are kept at room temperature.

When a grower is ready to sow orchid seeds today he usually
follows the procedure that was worked out by Cornell's Dr. Lewis
Knudson and described so graphically in the Botanical Gazette,
Volume LXXIX, Number 4, June, 1925. The classic technic is
herewith described with the permission of the originator.
"Unless otherwise indicated, all cultures were made using agar
slopes in culture tubes 180 mm. x 18 mm. The solution used
was made up as follows:
Solution B
Ca(NO ) ...----...........-- .............. .1 gm.
KHPO, .......................- .......... 0.25 gm.
MgSO.7HO ....................... 0.25 gm.
FePO, .............. .................. 0.05 gm.
(N H4)2SO4 ................................. 0.50 gm .
Distilled HzO ...........................1000.00 cc.
Cane sugar ............................. 20.00 gm.
"Solution B was used because Burgeff stated that the orchid
seeds utilized ammonium sulphate to better advantage than the
nitrate salt. My own experience is not in accordance with this.

Orchids in Florida

"Generally 1.50 percent agar was used, and all media and
vessels were autoclaved at 15 pounds pressure for 30 minutes.
To prevent the lodging of spores and micro-organisms on the
cotton stopper of the culture tube, it was capped with a small
vial which, fitting tightly over the cap, was essential because
otherwise, under the moist green-
house conditions, contamination re-
sulted from spores growing down
through the cotton plug or between
the plug and the tube. By using
the vial cap cultures remained pure
even after a year in the green-
"Cultures were all grown under
aseptic conditions. For sterilizing
the seeds the calcium hypochlorite
method of Wilson was used. For
this purpose 10 gm. of calcium
hypochlorite was added to 140 cc.
of distilled water. This was vigor-
ously shaken for a few minutes and
then filtered. The clear filtrate was
used for sterilizing the seeds. The
quantity of seeds desired was
placed in a small test tube and the
clear filtrate added. The tube was
then shaken until each seed became
moistened with the solution. This
was repeated several times, since
the seeds generally float together Fig. 30.- Orchid seedlings
in a mass at the surface of the growing on an agar slant which
was prepared in the manner de-
liquid. The period of exposure was scribed on pages 36 and 37.
about 15 minutes, although in some
preliminary experiments with seeds of Cattleya and Laelia no
injury was noted after a three hours' exposure. The seeds were
transferred from the sterilizing solution, without any previous
rinsing in water, by the use of a platinum needle. With the
small loop used it was possible to pick up about 100 seeds. These
were scattered over the surface of the agar slope. The cultures
were maintained in moist chambers in the greenhouse, shaded
by cheesecloth from direct sunlight, with the temperature be-
tween 20 degrees and 30 degrees C. (68o-82' F.)."

Florida Cooperative Extension

Fig. 31,-A hybrid Cattleya blooms in a Florida seedling house.

When the plantlets have several strong roots from one-quarter
to one-half inch in length they are ready for transplanting from
the agar slants to three-inch community pots. Some seedlings
may reach this stage in three or four months while others may
not be large enough before they are eight or nine months old.
The transplanting operation must be done with great care and
precision, as this
period is probably
the most critical
: t a one in the life his-
-p tory of a green-
house orchid.
If the clay pots
are cleaned and
washed some time
previous to trans-
planting and kept
moist for a few
Fig. 32.-Cattleya seedlings growing in pots of
chopped osmundine. days, molds are

Orchids in Florida

likely to develop. If this growth is removed before the pots
are used, injury to the seedlings is less likely to follow. Some
authorities recommend that the pots and crocks be boiled im-
mediately before use, so that all micro-organisms may be killed.
The pots are half filled with crocks and charcoal to insure
perfect drainage, then topped off with finely cut osmundine which
serves as the growing medium. Some growers let this material
stand a quarter inch below the rim of the pots while others
prefer to have the osmundine domed for good aeration and
Approximately 50 seedlings may be set in a three-inch pot.
The plants are usually graded by size so that the stronger will
not crowd the weaker. Weak seedlings should not be discarded,
for often these develop into vigorous plants in later life and
produce excellent flowers.
The act of moving the seedlings from the flasks to pots is a
painstaking process. The little plants are first loosened from
the nutritive jelly in which they have been growing and are
dropped into a shallow receptacle of water. After a short time
most of the gelatinous material will be dissolved. Using a sharp-

Fig. 33.-Cattleya seedlings in a Florida orchid house.

Florida Cooperative Extension

pointed splinter, prick a hole in the chopped osmundine. Next
lift a plantlet from the tray with forceps in the left hand. While
holding the plant at the proper level in this hole, firm small
particles of fibre around the roots with the pointed splinter until
the plants are well packed in their new positions.
Using a hand atomizer or new insecticide sprayer, give the
finished community pots a fine mist-like spray and place them
in the seedling case. This box should be constructed of heart
cypress and furnished with a hinged glass lid so that the atmo-
sphere can be kept warm and moist. The bottom of the con-
tainer is usually made of cypress strips or hardware cloth under
which a shallow pan of galvanized iron holds water to furnish
a humid atmosphere for the young seedlings. Electric heating
elements may be installed in the case but these should not be
necessary if the structure is placed in a greenhouse where the
temperature can be kept above 60 F.

Fig. 34.-Test tubes with seedlings growing on the nutritive jelly are kept
at a constant temperature in a seedling case inside a greenhouse.

The seedlings are kept in the close atmosphere and are
syringed twice daily until they are ready to be potted separately
and placed on a special bench in the open greenhouse.
Thrips, tiny dark-colored sucking insects, are particularly dif-
ficult to control in the seedling case and are of great concern
to Florida orchidists. Frequent applications of a pyrethrum or
nicotine spray or a rotenone dust during the spring and sum-
mer are essential for success with these tender plants. Some

Orchids in Florida

growers feel that they have derived benefit from naphthalene
flakes used as a supplementary repellent.


It is strongly recommended that novice growers obtain their
beginning collections from one of the old established orchid firms
that specialize in supplying plants to the private trade. These
plants are well established in adequate pots with fresh osmun-
dine and should perform well for two years under good condi-
tions. Later, as the novice growers become proficient in re-
potting, they are well advised to exchange plants that are in
need of shifting and purchase dormant backbulbs from other
South American collectors advertise dormant plants in the
trade journals and species may be imported, but the trouble
involved is usually considerable for the small grower. So it is
suggested that the best source is one of the large American
The native Florida epiphytic orchids are protected under the
statute reprinted herewith and it behooves every right-thinking
citizen to cooperate to the fullest extent of the law lest the
endemic cultures be exhausted. Permission to collect will usually
be granted by the landowner to qualified hobbyists who can
properly care for the plants after they are collected from the
"Chapter 12453, Acts of 1927-AN ACT to provide for the Conservation
and Protection of Certain Wild Trees, Shrubs, and Plants in the State of
Section 1. That any person, firm, or corporation who shall, within the
State of Florida, knowingly, buy, sell, offer or expose for sale any of the
following hollies, trees or plants:
Dahoon (Ilex Cassine and Ilex Myrtifolia), Yaupon or Cassene (Ilex
Vomitoria) and American Holly (Ilex Opaca); Dogwood (Cornus Florida
and Cornus Alternifolia); Jasmine (Gelsemium Sempervirens); and Sweet
Bay (Magnolia Augustifolia); Redbud or Judas tree (Cercis Canadensis);
Mountain Laurel (Kalmia Latifolia); Southern Wild Smilax (of which
there are six different species); the sixteen species of Epiphyte Bromeliads
and the twenty species of Epiphyte Orchids; the Royal Palm (Oreodoxa
Regia); or any part thereof, dug, pulled up or gathered from any public
or private land, unless in the case of the private land owner or person law-
fully occupying such land gives his consent in writing thereto, shall be
deemed guilty of misdemeanor, and shall be punished by a fine of not less
than $10.00 nor more than $100.00 and costs. (As amended by House Bill
No. 234, Act of 1931.)
Section 2. All prosecutions under this shall be commenced within six
months from the time such offense was committed and not afterwards.

Florida Cooperative Extension


When plants are grown in large numbers under artificial con-
ditions they are especially susceptible to the attacks of various
kinds of pests. Prevention of the entry of enemies of his plants
is of great concern to every orchidist, but once they have become
entrenched in his house, no time must be lost in eliminating them
before they cause real damage. Several species of scale insects
are particularly persistent, and eternal vigilance is essential
lest these insects gain the upper hand. They usually congregate
in great numbers in crevices, wrinkles and folds in the plant
tissues and under the dried membranes that surround mature
pseudobulbs. For this reason most growers strip away all of
this dry material as a routine operation. A satisfactory control
of scale may be obtained by the regular application of an oil
emulsion or nicotine sulphate spray with a soft brush or with
spray equipment that will thoroughly atomize the liquid. Oil
emulsion may be used at approximately one-half the strength
recommended for palms in the table printed on the container,
while the nicotine sulphate may be used at normal strength.
The chemical solution must not be allowed to drain down into
the osmundine lest the roots be injured. One of the pyrethrum
sprays can be used as a repellent, but in the experience of the
writer, it is impossible to eliminate well established orchid scale
with a pyrethrum spray at normal strength.
In Florida roaches are very destructive to root tips and to
flowers that are expanding. Unfortunately, roaches are difficult
to exclude from a greenhouse and it is necessary to eliminate
them by using a stomach poison. Proprietary roach traps,
pastes, poison bran mixtures are indicated.
Fumigation with cyanide is not recommended because several
important genera are easily injured by this gas. Nicotine is a
safe fumigant and will usually be helpful in keeping down insects
if it is burned about every tenth night. A proprietary nicotine
fumigant should be employed and must be used exactly accord-
ing to the directions printed on the container. The orchids must
be thoroughly syringed with a fine spray the following morning
before the sun strikes them.
If it is possible to have a small, tightly screened flowering room
into which the plants can be moved while in tight bud, protection
against roaches will be afforded, but it must be kept free of the
insects at all times by careful management.

Orchids in Florida

Red spider mites are almost microscopic creatures that estab-
lish themselves under protective webs during dry periods. They
are rather easily kept under control by frequent syringing, but
in the event that an infestation of red spiders becomes critical,
one of the sprays designed especially to control these pests
should be effective when used according to directions.
Slugs and snails are trying at times because they feed upon
the unfurling petals. A loose roll of cotton around the flower
stem is recommended as a barrier but it is far better to elimi-
nate these mollusks by using a slug poison that is for sale at
orchid supply houses.
Rats will be excluded if houses are carefully built with con-
crete walls and screened ventilators and doors, but occasionally
a rat will enter an orchid range and cause a great deal of dam-
age. Traps and poisons are indicated for the control of these

agar-refined seaweed used in making up nutrient flasks in which orchid
seeds may be sown.
anther-the pollen-bearing body near the end of the column.
bigener-a plant resulting from the cross of two genera; hence, a bigeneric
"botanicals"-slang for those orchids that are not grown primarily for
bulb-properly, pseudobulb, which see.
charcoal-pine charcoal used in potting to keep the osmundine sweet.
column-the body formed by the fusion of the stamens and the pistil.
crocks-small pieces of earthenware flower pots.
division-the separation of a plant into small units.
epiphyte-an air plant; an orchid that grows in a tree.
genus-a closely related group of plants; the first and capitalized word in
a scientific name of a plant or animal. The plural of genus is genera.
humidity-the relative amount of moisture in the air.
hybrid-the result of a cross between two plants not of the same variety;
preferably two plants not of the same species.
labellum-the lip which may be a modified petal. Usually the showiest
perianth segment.
lead-a new terminal bud that will grow into a new pseudobulb.
marcottage-the method of vegetative propagation in which a ball of
sphagnum moss is bound about the stem of a plant to furnish a
congenial medium for the growth of roots.
monopodial-with growth continuous from a terminal upright leader.
nutrient-food material.

Florida Cooperative Extension

osmundine, or orchid peat-the aerial root system of the royal fern,
Osmunda regalis, or the cinnamon fern, 0. cinnamonum used in
potting orchids. Also called osmunda fibre.
parasite-an organism that derives its livelihood from another living thing.
Since an orchid does not feed upon the tree which it uses for support,
it is not a parasite.
peat-another name for osmundine, as used in orchid circles.
perianth-the floral envelope considered as a whole. The flower.
perianth segments-the sepals and the petals.
petal-one of the separate leaves of the corolla, the inner series of perianth
pod-a maturing, or mature, ovary which contains seeds.
pollination-the act of transferring pollen from an anther to a stigma.
pollinia-pollen masses at the end of the column.
pot-to transfer a plant to a larger container using fresh crocks, charcoal,
and osmundine.
pseudobulb-an enlarged, modified leaf-part which serves as a storehouse
for water and nutrients.
raft-a basket made of cypress strips in which orchids were formerly
rhizome-a horizontal stem usually at, or slightly below, the ground level.
rostellum-the dam of tissue between the pollinia and the stigmatic surface.
scale-a form of insect that attacks orchids. Control with an oil emulsion
spray according to directions on the container.
scape-a flower stem, usually leafless, but occasionally furnished with
sepal-one of the leaves of the calyx, the outer series of perianth segments.
species-a kind of plant distinct from other kinds. The second (uncapital-
ized) word in a scientific name.
sphagnum-a genus of moss that is used as a minor ingredient in potting
stigma-the region near the end of the column that receives the pollen.
sympodial-growth that is continued by several lateral shoots.
syringe-the horticultural term that refers to watering lightly with a
mist-like spray.
terrestrial-earth dweller. An orchid that grows in soil.
tessellated-netted, lined or veined.
trigener-a plant resulting from crosses in three genera, hence a trigeneric
viscid-sticky, adhesive.

Orchids in Florida 45

Name Approximate dates in Flower
W 5 4 0I

Cattleya bowringiana .........
Cattleya labiata . .. .
Cattleya skinneri . .
Cattleya trianae . .. . m
Cattleys hybrids ....... .
Coalogyne lectea .. ... * *
Coelogyae mas eaa .ge * am nm
Coleogyne paiturata.. ...... .
Cymbidium in variety * *
Cyripedium in variety. ...... .
Cyrtopodium punotatum . *
Dendrobiul aggregatum . .
Dendrobium nobile. .. * *
Dendrobium pierardi. *. .*. *
Epidendrou anceps. .......... .
Epidendrun coohleatum . .
Epidendrum fragrant. .
Epidendrum nocturnum . . .
Epidendrum tampenaee *. *. .
lonopsis utricularioides . .
Laalia acnminsta ........... *
IAelia anoeps. . . .
Laslia autumnalis . .
Leslia purpurata * *
Laelio-cattlaya varieties . .
Lyoaste species and varieties. .
Onoidium eavendishianum . .
Oncidium cobolleta .... * .
Oncidium flexuosum . . .
Onoidim luridum . . .
Onoidium aphacelatum .. . .
Onoidium splendidum . .
Onoidium vericosum rogersi . ,
Phaius grandifolius . . .
Phalsaenopsis in variety. ....... .
Schomburgkia in variety .... .
Venda tares .............
Venda tricolor . . . .
Vanda in variety .......... .
Vanilla in variety .. .. .. .
Zygopetalum mcnkyi .... . .

Fig. 35.-Flowering table for orchids in Florida.

Florida Cooperative Extension


1. Flower shoot terminal, from a slender or pseudobulbous stem, often
clasped by the sheathing base of the leaf.
2. Lateral sepals never distinctly triangular.
3. Stem slender, always 1-leaved.
4. Leaf more than 5 cm. long; stem-sheaths glabrous
-Pleurothallis gelida Lindl.
4. Leaf usually less than 1 cm. long; stem-sheaths bristly-ciliate
on the margins of the orifice ..---- ---------....-..- ..........
3. Stems pseubulbous or slender, when slender bearing several alter-
nate leaves ......................... Epidendrum spp. (9 species, 1 variety)
2. Lateral sepals triangular, forming a conspicuous mentum or chin
-Polystachya luteola (Sw.) Hook.
1. Flower shoot lateral on the leafy stem or pseudobulb, or from a con-
tracted leafless stem that arises from spreading roots.
5. SYMPODIALES: Main axis composed of annual members of which
each one terminates the year's growth.
6. Leaves convolute, pliable, not coriaceous
-Cyrtopodium punctatum (L.) Lindl.
6. Leaves conduplicate, coriaceous.
7. Pseudobulbs well developed and conspicuous, 1-leaved at the
summit, never with surrounding leaf-bearing sheaths
-Macradenia lutescens R. Br.
7. Pseudobulbs or stems 2 or more leaved, often much abbreviated
and inconspicuous.
8. Column not biauriculate or bialate at or near the summit.
9. Sepals and petals not caudate.
10. Inflorescence very short, 1-flowered; lateral sepals
not concave-saccate at base
-Maxillaria crassifolia (Lindl.) Reichb. f.
10. Inflorescence elongate, racemose or paniculate; lat-
eral sepals concave-saccate at the base
-lonopsis utriculariodies (Sw.) Lindl.
9. Sepals and petals caudate .... Brassia caudata (L.) Lindl.
8. Column biauriculate or bialate at or near the summit
-Oncidium spp. (4 species)
5. MONOPODIALES: Main axis growing on year after year, not pro-
duced into distinct annual members; aphyllous; green roots.
11. Flowers minute; lip entire or obscurely 3-lobed, not bifid at the
12. Raceme laxly few flowered
-Harrisella porrecta (Reichb. f.) Fawc. & Rendle
12. Raceme densely many-flowered
-Campylocentrum pachyrrhizum (Reichb. fl) Rolfe
11. Flowers large and showy; lip deeply bifid at the apex
-Polyrrhiza Lindenii (Lindl.) Cogn.

Prepared especially for this bulletin by Dr. D. S. Correll, Associate
Curator, Botanical Museum of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massa-


International System
Pleurothallis gelida Lindl. .................-.....------- ...-..----
Lepanthopsis melanantha (Reichb. f.) Ames ..................
Epidendrum rigidum Jacq. .... .................................
Epidendrum strobiliferum Reichenb. f. .........................
Epidendrum conopseum Ait. ..... ....................................
Epidendrum anceps Jacq. ........................................ .
Epidendrum diforme Jacq. ............. -
Epidendrum nocturnum L. ................... ............-
Epidendrum tampense Lindl ...................................
Epidendrum boothianum Lindl. ................................
Epidendrum cochleatum L .......... .........-- ..
variety triandrum Ames
Polystachya luteola (Sw.) Hook. ................ .............
Cyrtopodium punctatum (L.) Lindl ..............................
Macradenia lutescens R. Br. ........................-........
Maxillaria crassifolia (Lindl.) Reichb. f. .....................
lonopsis utriculariodies (Sw.) Lindl. .............................
Brassia caudata (L.) Lindl. .........................
Oncidium floridanum Ames .........................-......-.
Oncidium luridum Lindl ...............................---...
Oncidium carthaginense Sw. ............ ...........-.....-.
Oncidium variegatum (Sw.) Willd. ..............................
Harrisella porrecta (Reichb. f.) Fawc. and Rendle. ......
Campylocentrum pachyrrhizum (Reichb. f.) Rolfe ........
Polyrrhiza Lindenii (Lindl.) Cogn. ................................

American System*
.-... .....-..-.....-.- .. Pleurothallis gelida Lindl.
........-...-............ .Lepanthes Harrisii Fawcett and Rendle.
...-..-...................Spathiger rigidus (Jacq.) Small
-.............................Spathiger strobiliferus (Reichb.) Small
-....-........... -...... .Amphiglottis conopsea (Ait.) Small
..............-............- Amphiglottis anceps (Jacq.) Small
.-................. ...... -Amphiglottis difformis (Jacq.) Britton
.............-...-..-.... Amphiglottis nocturna (L.) Britton
............. ........-----.Encyclia tampensis (Lindl.) Small
............. ............- Epicladium boothianum (Lindl.) Small
......... --.............-..Anacheilium cochleatum (L.) Hoffmg.

............................Polystachya minute (Aubl.) Britton
.-............-............. Cyrtopodium punctatum (L.) Lindl.
..................---.....- Macradenia lutescens R. Br.
-..-.........................Maxillaria sessilis (Sw.) Fawcett and Rendle.
. -............--.......--- ... onopsis utriculariodies (Sw.) Lindl.
-.........---....--........ ..Brassia caudata (L.) Lindl.
........................ ----Oncidium floridanum Ames
..........................Oncidium undulatum (Sw.) Salisb.
.........-......... .........Oncidium carthaginense Sw.
.............................Oncidium variegatum (Sw.) Willd.
............................Harrisella porrecta (Reichb. f.) Fawc. and Rendle.
..............................Campylocentrum pachyrrhizum (Reichb. f.) Rolfe
................................Polyrrhiza Lindenii (Lindl.) Cogn.

* Manual of the Southeastern Flora, Small, J. K. 1933.

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