November 2000

Check out past editions here.

November 7, 2000 - 6:30 PM
Duncan Werth, 2nd Vice President

This month our very own President, Gary Pierwola, will give us some tips on how to grow Reed-Stem Epidendrums. If you would like to trade one of your own Epis with another member, bring one (1) small plant (keiki or similar) that is potted and tagged with at least the color of the flower. We had this in November of last year and had lots of fun.

Don’t forget the keikis!

November 7, 2000 - 7:30 PM - CASA DEL PRADO
ROOM 101 -
(welcome back!)

Please do bring orchids as we will have the big room!


By Ben Machado, Show Chairman

Duncan Werth and I have been very busy putting together all the little details needed to make our annual show a success. Let me assure you, there is not going to be any dramatic change from the show format of last year. This time around we want to meet at least the same successful standards of last year with just the minimum amount of adjustments. With that, we have again secured the Scottish Rite Center for the dates of 15 through 18 March 2001 for our show.

First of all the show theme, there isn’t one for this year. Your board has elected to forgo a theme for this year. Several members have already asked how in the world are the show theme awards going to be awarded without an overall show theme. What this means is all Show Exhibitors have an opportunity to pursue a theme of their own. You pick out the theme, name your display and follow the theme with your display. Show theme awards will be based upon the individual display and the ability to accomplish the portrayal of their theme.

At the next general meeting on November 7th, the general body of the Society will be asked to approve the proposed budget for the Society’s annual show. So far your Board has approved the tentative budget. Only a couple of minor changes have been made.

Copies of the proposed budget will be available at the next general meeting and the floor will be open for comment.

OK for now, enough about the procedural stuff that has to be done. What does the rest of the society get to do to pull this show together? Everyone must know the show is put together in unison with the commercial side and the volunteer membership. The commercial side brings out their best displays and sales product in exchange for a well-planned, well-supported program by the volunteer membership. So stand by there’s going to be a call for volunteer help.

High on the help list is the need to find a new advertising agency. It seems that considering the size of our society, someone should have experience with advertising. We need a good lead; either from someone who has had direct advertising experience and is willing to take on the job. Or we can use a lead to an agency that someone has used in the past. If you have a lead, give me a call, Ben Machado (619)660-9870 or drop E-mail to .

Ideas for a better Newsletter

In looking over several old issues of the SDCOS’s newsletters, I find that at one time there was a section for questions about Orchids, with answers from some of the other members. In a two part question to the members, I would like to know if you would like to see this format return and if there is enough response, would some of the members like to serve to answer the questions via the news letter?

Does anyone have any good websites that they would like to recommend to others? I have found that the website: is an excellent index to many of the Orchid species, having many color pictures as well as other excellent information on where they are from and growing conditions.

Ever hear of a Mokara? Mokara occurs when Arachnis, Ascocentrum, and Vanda are crossed. It generally acts as a Vanda in it’s growth habit as well as it’s cultural requirements.

I have spent numerous hours on this one website. It is an excellent source of information.

David Graham


by Mike Orser

I think many of our problems arise from the simplest things. Overwatering, pests, and a lack of common knowledge will lead us down the wrong path. Once we grasp the requirements for proper care, and have a better understanding of our orchids’ needs, we should be able to better care for them. In this way we can expect our plants to repay us with many fine blooms. As this is David’s and my first complete newsletter, we decided to make this a back to the basics issue! So on with the show and let’s begin with a terminology lesson…


Common Orchid Terms

from the American Orchid Society

aerial root

Any root produced above the growing medium.


The part of the stamen containing the pollen; the end of the column.


An old pseudobulb behind the part of a sympodial orchid that is actively growing. Although there may be no leaves the presence of undamaged "eyes" is a sign that growth is possible.


Having two leaves.


An elongated psuedobulb, usually used when describing Dendrobiums.


Small pieces of broken earthenware or flower pots, placed in the bottom of a pot when repotting to aid in drainage.


An individual plant and its vegetative propagations in cultivation; a horticultural variety.

epiphyte, epiphytic

A plant which naturally grows upon another plant but does
not derive any nourishment from it. Many of the orchids in cultivation are epiphytic.


The bud of a sympodial orchid that will eventually develop into a new lead.

foliar spray

Many minor nutrients and trace elements beneficial to growth are best absorbed through the stomata of an orchids leaves when mixed with water and sprayed on the plant.


(pl. genera) A natural grouping of closely related species.


The offspring of a cross between species or hybrids.


The flowering portion of a plant.

intergeneric hybrid

A hybrid between members of two or more genera.


A Hawaiian word referring to a baby plant produced asexually by an orchid plant, usually used when referring to Dendrobiums or Vandaceous orchids.


An immature vegetative growth on a sympodial orchid that will develop into flower-producing structure.


A modified petal of the orchid flower specialized to aid in pollination and different than the other petals.


An orchid that grows on rocks


The material in which an orchid is container-grown, it may be organic such as fir bark or inorganic such as lava rock.


A plant derived from tissue culture that is identical to its parent.


Orchids which grow upward from a single stem producing leaves and flowers along that stem.


A joint on a stem or pseudobulb from which a leaf or growth originates.


An inflorescence with a main stem and branches, the flowers on the lower branches open earlier than the upper ones.


The process a plant uses to produce carbohydrates and sugar from water and carbon dioxide in the air using chlorophyl-containing cells exposed to light.


A thickened portion of the stem of many orchids functioning as a water and food storage device.


An unbranched inflorescence of stalked flowers.


A root-bearing stem of sympodial orchids that progressively sends up leafy shoots.


An unbranched inflorescence with one flower.


A modified leaf that encloses an emerging inflorescence or leaf.


A kind of plant that is distinct from other plants.


An unbranched inflorescence of unstalked flowers.


A branch that grows horizontally above the medium and produces roots and shoots at the nodes.


The breathing pores on the surface of a plant’s leaves


Orchids which grow laterally and produce leafy growths along a rhizome


Growing on the ground and supported by soil.


Having one leaf.


The thick sponge-like covering of the roots of epiphytic orchids which helps prevent water loss and aids in absorption.


A type of infectious agent, much smaller than common microorganisms, several forms of which affect certain kinds of orchids.

Dates to Remember
November 2000

November 4, 9:00 am
SDCOS Species Group Meeting
First Saturday each month
Paul or Ann Tuskes (858) 274-5829

November 7, 7:30 pm
General Meeting
Room 104, Casa del Prado, Balboa Park
Gary Pierwola (619) 426-9108

November 10, 7:30 pm
Palomar Orchid Society Meeting
Second Friday each month
Vista Community Center
Greg Luetticke (760) 724-4711

November 14, 7:00 pm
SDCOS Board Meeting
Second Tuesday each month
Balboa Park
Siv Garrod (619) 483-8787

November 15
Cymbidium Society Meeting
Third Wednesday each month
Carlsbad Women’s Club
Larry Phillips (619) 746-5518

November 17
Zoo Orchid Greenhouses Open House
Third Friday each month
Janette Gerrity (619) 231-1515 ext. 4306

Orchid Culture

Orchid Culture is best described as those conditions that will allow your plant to grow and bloom. These conditions are made up of ranges of temperatures, humidity, of light, and nutrition.

Lighting requirements for Orchids will vary according to the genera that the plant belongs to, and in some cases, according to the specific species or hybrid within a genera. Altitude also is a factor…direct sun will quickly damage or kill an Orchid, whereas at sea level, many Orchids not only tolerate, but thrive in it. … South facing windows, for windowsill culture, is probably best, though some screening, or sheer curtains, may be necessary. West, East, and North facing windows are acceptable, in that order of decreasing preference, though some Orchids will prefer one over the others.

Humidity and Air Movement: Unlike warm-blooded animals, Orchids, like all plants, have no way to regulate their internal temperature. In an Orchid’s environment, humidity in combination with moving air is one way that nature accomplishes this….Generally, humidity around your Orchids should be in the 40-70% range. Air movement around the plants will also help prevent fungi from the moist air from gaining a foot-hold on your plant. Overall, as the temperature around your plant rises, so should the humidity. If you aren’t growing in a greenhouse, plastic saucers filled with wet gravel will provide humidity to your Orchids. Be certain that no water is coming into the bottom of the pot, as this will cause root-rot, and a swift demise of your expensive plants! Supplemental spraying with water in a spray bottle will also help to cool your plants on hot days. A small fan will facilitate air movement nicely.

Temperature: Orchid culture, from a temperature viewpoint, is generally divided into 3 sections: Cool growing, Intermediate, and Warm. These temperature ranges are at times expressed in terms of minimum night-time temps. Cool growing Orchids easily tolerate temps down into the 50’s, and at times, 40’s. Intermediate growing Orchids generally enjoy temps over a 24 hour period of 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit, while warm growers prefer nighttime temps above 70. …Temperature variation from night-time to day- time should be at least 10 degrees Fahrenheit….

Nutrition: … If there is one thing that an Orchid appreciates, it’s consistency. That doesn’t mean you have to give up your vacations, only that Orchids require a certain level of care to remain at their peak. A calendar is very useful for roughly outlining what you will be doing and when, especially when your collection grows. Changes can be made according to changes in theweather… Generally, the potting mix should not completely dry out. Conversely, it should not stay wet either…

Fertilizers are generally used at a rate of 1/2 [or less] the recommended strength stated on the label. In addition, most readily available fertilizers do not contain micronutrients (mineral elements) that are necessary to an Orchid’s health. While an Orchid will, for a time do fairly well without them, eventually the deficiency will manifest itself in fewer, smaller or no blooms, and a decrease in the overall health of the plant…

Potting, Repotting and Mounting Potting and Repotting:... Looking at how Orchids grow in the wild sheds some light on how they will grow in the home or greenhouse. Orchids tend to fall into 3 major groups. Lithophytes, or rock dwellers, Epiphytes or tree dwellers (sometimes called "Air Plants, though this can also apply to Tillandsias and Bromiliads) and the "Semi-Terrestrials" which grow on the ground, but grow their roots into leaf litter or other ground debris, rather than into the earth itself. … For the most part, potting mixes are of various coarseness, from fine to very coarse, and can have a variety of ingredients, … Some common ingredients are Redwood bark, Firbark, Sphagnum, New Zealand Sphagnum, Osmunda Fiber, Tree Fern, Charcoal, Perlite, Gravel, etc. In theory, you could grow an orchid in marbles. The potting mix should provide at least two things. Something to hold moisture for a certain amount of time, such as redwood bark, and something to provide drainage to avoid root rot... Many growers … add white styrofoam peanuts to the bottom of the pot. It adds drainage, doesn’t decompose, and stays out of the landfill. Charcoal can be added to the mix to regulate acidity from the decomposition of any organic materials used.

Repotting is generally done every two years and serves two purposes. One is to replace partially decomposed bark which holds more water than is wanted and has less drainage capabilities, and the other is to give the Orchid growing room. …

Mounting: … cork slabs, natural cork bark or some piece of driftwood. This is, after all, almost as close to ‘natural’ as is practical to create. … it does take a certain amount of dedication. [In] our greenhouse, where humidity levels are rarely below 60%, … water ‘The Mounts’ every two days. In a home, count on watering every day, and misting perhaps twice per day….

Rod Venger, Venger’s Orchids

Viruses and Disease

As with most plant diseases, virus diseases are recognized by characteristic symptoms. Mosaic patterns of light and dark green in the leaves are common symptoms. Deformed growth, yellowing , ringspots , vein enation, vein clearing , and other symptoms are encountered.


Viruses multiply only in living cells of plants and animals. They are too small to be seen with a light microscope. They are composed of nucleic acid and proteins. The nucleic acid of most plant viruses is ribonucleic acid (RNA); a few plant viruses … are composed of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)…

Insects, especially aphids and leafhoppers, vector (transmit) many viruses, and thrips vector tomato spotted wilt virus. Mites, nematodes, and lower fungi also serve as vectors of some viruses.

A few plant viruses and viroids are spread by contact handling or by tools. Some orchid viruses are spread when healthy plants come in contact with diseased ones. Some viruses are pollenborne ... A few viruses are seedborne ... Many are transmitted by vegetative propagation of plant material from infected plants.

Control of virus diseases is a matter of prevention and the use of virus-free planting stock. Once a plant is infected by a virus it usually remains infected for the life of the plant. Plants vegetatively propagated from such material are usually infected. However, virus-free plants can be obtained from infected plants by a combination of heat treatment and shoot tip culture, and sometimes with the aid of chemical inhibitors of virus multiplication. To prevent spread of the virus, control insect vectors and weeds that may harbor the virus. Sometimes nematode control may reduce spread as well.

From University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Project



Glasshouse Whitefly

Symptom: Clouds of small white insects, 1.5mm long, fly up whenever a plant is brushed against in a greenhouse. The foliage may be sticky and coated with a black sooty mould.

Cause: These are the adult whitefly which proliferate rapidly in warm greenhouse conditions. They and their whitish-green, scale-like nymphs feed on sap from the undersides of the leaves, weakening the plants. Their sugary excrement (honeydew) makes lower foliage sticky and allows the growth of black sooty moulds.

Which plants are affected? Most indoor plants are susceptible and whiteflies can be active in the greenhouse throughout the year. Non-chemical control: Sticky yellow traps hung above the plants help to keep down whitefly numbers.

Because of the rapid reproductive rate and widespread occurrence of pesticide-resistant strains, biological control gives good results during April to October. This involves introducing tiny parasitic wasps, Encarsia formosa, which attack the nymphs. It is important to introduce the parasites before plants are heavily infested as they cannot give instant control. You can monitor the progress of the control as the parasitised nymphs turn black...


Symptoms: Soft succulent growth including seedlings, young tender shoots and leaves are damaged or eaten, particularly in moist conditions. Slime trails may be visible. See also Snails.

Cause: Slugs (various Arion, Milax and Deroceras species) can cause damage throughout the year but are particularly troublesome in the spring. Warmer weather combined with damp conditions greatly increases their activity. They vary in size and colour, which ranges from yellowish grey through shades of brown to black.

Non-chemical control: A biological control specific to slugs, with no adverse effect on other types of animal, is available in the form of a microscopic nematode or eelwom watered into the soil. The nematode enters slugs’ bodies and releases bacteria that cause a fatal disease. A moist soil and soil temperatures of 5-20C are required, and therefore control is most effective during spring to early autumn. Best results are achieved in well-drained soils...

Other preventative measures you can take:

Surround vulnerable plants with coarse grit or gravel; a gravel mulch is a good deterrent.

Transplant sturdy plantlets grown on in pots, rather than young vulnerable seedlings. Protect transplants with bottle cloches.

Lay traps near vulnerable plants, such as scooped out half orange, grapefruit or melon skins, laid cut sidedown, or old jam jars part filled with beer and sunk into the soil. Check and empty these regularly, preferably every morning. There is also a range of proprietary traps and barriers on sale.

Go out at dusk, especially when the weather is damp, and hand-pick slugs into a container. Then, if you can, take them to a field, hedgerow or patch of waste ground well away from gardens. Otherwise destroy them in hot water or a strong salt solution. Encourage natural predators such as toads and hedgehogs...


Symptoms: Young tender shoots and leaves damaged or eaten, not only at ground level but often high up. Slime trails are sometimes seen on hard surfaces in the vicinity. See also Slugs

Cause: Snails and slugs cause similar damage and can climb, often to a considerable height ; because of the protection provided by their shells, snails can move more freely over dry terrain than slugs. They are less common than slugs where acid soil prevails and remain dormant over winter, clustering together under flower pots, stones or other protected places. The snail most commonly encountered in gardens is the common garden snail, Helix aspersa. However other snails, Cepaea species, which are usually smaller and often brightly banded yellow and brown, may also be numerous.

from Royal Horticultural Society,


First experience of re-potting orchids was anything but fun. In fact it was more like a trip through Alice’s looking glass. My trip to the re-potting Wonderland began shortly after I bought some slightly overgrown Cattleya orchids at a garage sale. Well, perhaps "slightly" may not be the right word. Grossly overgrown would be a much better description of these Cattleyas. At the time I was a very green novice—I had only been growing a few orchids for about a month. I had never re-potted orchids, but I was very experienced in re- potting regular house plants. I was told orchids were not your ordinary plants, but they couldn’t be that different could they?

The first thing I did was look in my new orchid book for help. It had just the information I needed in the chapter titled "How To Re-pot Your Orchids"—it even had pictures. I read the chapter and it didn’t seem to be a difficult project. "Great," I thought, "this will be a piece of cake, no problem...." Oh boy, was I ever WRONG!

The next day I assembled the tools just as the book told me to do. Now I was ready to start. The first step was to remove the plant from the pot. "Sounds easy." I thought, but after two hours of tugging, banging, twisting, pulling, and a few cuss words, the orchid was still firmly seated within its pot like it had been glued to it with super glue. It had resisted all my attempts to separate it from its pot like a mother Wild Cat protecting its young! In desperation I called on my hubby, Gary, for his help. He too pulled, tugged, twisted, and banged on the plant with no success. Completely frustrated, he finally said "BREAK the POT!!" Good idea... But the pot was made out of that wonderful poly plastic—you know the kind, it DOESN’T BREAK!

The first thing we had to do was cut some of the roots way from the pot so we could get to it. The roots clung to the pot inside and out.

Hundreds of thick, tough roots. I used my scissors and started to cut the roots away. Finally we were able to see the pot. As Gary stood by watching, I tried and tried to cut the pot away but the scissors nor the shears were working very well. Finally Gary headed for the garage. I turned around just in time to see him returning with his CHAIN SAW! I was horrified to think he would even consider using that mechanical monster on my poor plant—but then, just for a second, I thought it may be the only way to remove it from the clutches of the pot. I came to my senses and started to cut faster and faster.... As Gary’s saw roared into life, the pot finally broke loose from the plant, I made it just in time.

"Now what?" I asked myself. Here sat the plant with no pot and its roots grown tightly together in a huge tangled ball. I knew the roots would have to be loosened before I could place the orchid into a new pot. So, for the next two hours, I untangled, and pulled, and cut until I finally had a very large mass of roots which hung down all the way from the tabletop to the floor. As I was untangling the roots, my thoughts drifted to the Orson Wells horror story about the orchid that strangled it’s keeper with it’s ROOTS. "Gee! I hope that is not an omen." I thought.

As I held up the plant I looked at all the pots I had gathered, I mumbled to myself, "This monster isn’t going to fit in a 12" pot let alone the 6" one that was its former home." The only thing I could do was to divide it. Yes! That was the answer. That is what I would have done with a regular plant. I got my scissors and began to cut. That didn’t last long—I broke the darn scissors. In desperation, I decided to get the pruning shears as well as a large butcher knife. Soon I began attacking this very large plant with perhaps a bit too much glee. The shears would not cut some of the thick growth, so off to the garage I went and came back with my husbands hatchet (Yes, the chain saw did cross my mind). I was now on a quest, and like a fanatic, I was bound and determined that this plant was not going to get the best of me.

Two more hours of cutting, hacking, and pulling the plant apart, I finally ended up with five large Catts each in its own 6" pot. After this battle between me and that orchid was finally done, I looked over at the shelf where the OTHER nine plants I had bought were sitting— they all seemed to be grinning at me! I knew there would be NINE more battles to fight just like this one... I turned off the lights and slowly walked to the house. I will have to face this another day.


Yes, this story is true and it really happened just this way. It took me two weeks to get all nine plants re-potted, and I ended up with 50 individual plants. Spring is coming, it will be time to re-pot again. Here is some advice I strongly hope you will follow. When you are out looking for bargains, BEWARE! You could end up with more than you bargained for....CHECK THE ROOTS!!!

by Linda Fortner,



A warm hello to all of the folks who recently joined as new members. Hope to see all of you at our upcoming meetings!

Our society thrives on membership participation. We hope you will let us all get to know you better by participating at meetings and at the various events throughout the year.

And to our current members, introduce yourselves to our newest members and be sure to make them feel welcome--after all, each of us were new members once upon a time!

SDCOS Board of Directors Meeting

October 10, 2000. Meeting called to order at 19:05

Present: Gary Pierwola, Ben Machado, Duncan Werth, Barbie Mays, Dave Mays, Sam DeMaria, Loren Batchman, Alma Marosz, Bud Close, Peter Tobias, and Siv Garrod.


1. Last meeting’s minutes were read, and approved by motion.

2 Treasurer - Barbie Mays - Report for September was presented. The donation to Eric Christenson will be moved to the Garner fund.

3. Ben Machado will arrange for the next months speaker trip to the Zoo and dinner.

4. Second vice president - Duncan Werth - Gary Pierwola will do a presentation on reed stem eppis followed by a keiki trade.

5. Show chair - Ben Machado - 9 judges are committed to our spring show. Ben asked the chair of the judges, if it would be OK to use a local photographer. He needs to see proof of the quality of the photographers work before giving his OK. A check for $1000 was given to Scottish Rite to secure the place for our show. Ben prepared a proposed budget for the show.



1. Bud Close - Many AOS bulletins have been donated to the society over the years, and it was decided to offer them to society member’s first for $1/each. An ad will be put in our newsletter. Our books in the library are moldy and dusty. Alma Marosz with check with the SDSU librarian on how to have the books cleaned and cared for.


1. Chair of the conservation committee - Peter Tobias - Regarding expenses by the committee for bark, signs and etc. they are reimbursable upon presentation of receipts to the treasurer. For future allocations from the conservation funds, the CC will present the board with their recommendation for donations and, if approved, then presented at the next general meeting for a final vote.

Meeting adjourned 19:45

Submitted by Siv Garrod


The SDCOS offers this service to members who seek cultural information about their orchids. Here are some friendly hobbyists with a great deal of experience about certain types of orchids, and who have kindly volunteered to answer your questions.

Cattleyas, Oncidium/Odontoglossums, Vandaceous, Greenhouse grown, West SD County

Forrest Robinson - (619) 270-6105

Species, all types, Indoor and Outdoor

Ann & Paul Tuskes – (858) 274-5829


Ann Tuskes - (858) 274-5829

Bob Hodges - (619) 461-4915,

Phalaenopsis, Cattleyas and Dendrobiums

Alma Marosz – (619) 583-0334

Vandas, Ascocendas

Edith and Leno Galvan - (619) 441-7503

Encyclias, Epidendrums, Laelias

Tom Osborn - (760) 787-0282


Don van Kekerix - (619) 224-4938


Loren Batchman -

Sam DeMaria - (619) 295-2951

Northeast County, all types

Dave Reid - (760) 728-7996

San Diego West County, all types

Jean Beck - (619) 435-8211

San Diego Central, Outdoor, all types

Jim Wright - (619) 276-5295

Fred Tomaschke - (619) 276-3225

San Diego East County, all types

James Masst – (619) 443-2800

Bud Close – (619) 444-8839

South County all types

Genie Hammond -- (619) 426-6831

Ed Marty – (619) 470-7175




Photography ęGreg Allikas