Thursday, May 13, 2010

Plant Find: OKC Orchid Show

The SouthWest Regional Orchid Growers Association (SWROGA) held their annual orchid show and sale in Oklahoma City on April 28-May 2.  This was one of the show and sales that the American Orchid Society supported, making it a big event.  There were probably 10-15 different vendors there selling orchids and a good 30-40 exhibits of orchids.  It was quite overwhelming!  Each exhibit had anywhere from 30-100 orchids on display, I would guess.

The variety of size, colors, growth patterns in the orchid family is just astounding.  Even within a particular genus, I was surprised to see growth habits that were very different.  The particular one that I noted was Dendrobium, which I am familiar with.  Of the 3 orchids I had at home, when I went to this show, 2 of them were Dendrobiums.  But I saw two different growth habits from the ones that I had.  Mine have the more typical tall cane structure.

Anyway, these events are wonderful because you can get right up next to these amazing, award-winning orchids and take tons of pictures.  I was telling Christie I could probably make a good ten years worth of calendars based on my best 120 pictures I took that day!  These events are also great because you can buy some really nice orchids for a reasonable price and talk with the growers about how to keep them alive.  After much debate, I decided on three choice orchids to bring home with me:

Maxillaria tenuifolia

Maxillaria tenuifolia

This is one of the first orchids I saw in the "sale" area.  One of the growers asked if we had ever smelled the coconut orchid.  He held up a really cool looking orchid with bulbs and grass like features and a handful of red and yellow blooms near the base of the plant.  We sniffed and were amazed at the strong scent.  I was surprised to see an affordable price tag on this unusual blooming orchid.  As we walked around, we noticed that two other vendors had the same orchid - each a little smaller than the previous and each a little cheaper, but all three blooming.  Since I wanted to buy multiple orchids, I went home with the smallest and cheapest of these plants.  Since then, my plant has put out a new bud, which is really exciting!

Stanhopea wardii

Stanhopea wardii

While we were looking at the exhibits I would point out specific unusual genera and tell Christie that we needed to look for these genera in the sale area.  While Phalaenopsis, Oncidium and Dendrobiums are beautiful flowers, you can find those pretty easily at Lowe's.  I wanted to buy some more unusual plants at the sale.  Two of the genera on my list were Stanhopea and Gongora.  I found both, but the one that fit my budget best were the Stanhopea.  I bought a full hand full of Stanhopea plants that were taped together for only $5!  These plants weren't blooming and might still have some a couple of seasons before they get to blooming maturity, but I'm willing to wait it out.  Stanhopea blooms hang down below the plant on long peduncles, so they are usually potted in a hanging basket.  I potted my plant in orchid bark mix and stuck the pot in one of my orchid hanging baskets in the top of my greenhouse.  I need to remember to stay on top of watering this plant, since it is in a quick-draining mix and in a warm place in the greenhouse.

Macodes lowii

Macodes lowii

I have admired "jewel orchids" for quite a while.  Most people on first glance don't realize that it is an orchid.  The dark, velvety foliage doesn't look like other orchids.  And the subtle while flowers don't look very showy, like many orchids that people are familiar with.  One vendor had these little jewels available for just $10 and I knew I would be leaving with one.  I chose a Macodes and have placed him on a shaded shelf in my greenhouse.

1 comment:

  1. Hope you have very good luck with your new orchids! I will be looking forward to photos of the new blooms. :-)