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Saving Sickly Sarcochilus

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Sarcochilus orchids July 25 - 2017

What I love most of Sarcochilus orchids are the pretty, dainty and fragrant flowers. I bought these cool loving Australian native orchid hybrids back in December 2013. Two of them were mature plants with flowers and another two were small without flowers. They did pretty well and re-flowered the next following year, but later on they suffered badly from scale infestation. Last year there were 3 of them left and they never seemed to recover. Now there are only 2 of them left. Though the plants are not completely dead, but they refuse to grow. I have previously washed the leaves and roots and apply white oil to kill the scales, and made sure the bugs did not come back. But they lost more leaves until two leaves left on each plant.

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What Happen to These Orchids?

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Cymbidium Sleepy Sarah ‘Lovely’ x Ruby Eyes ‘Tetra Baron’:

This Cymbidium  is one of my early orchids. and it was repotted into three divisions few years ago. I gave one to a friend. Today it is only one pot of this orchid left and is still struggling to grow mature bulbs.

cymbidium-sleepy-sarah-lovely-x-ruby-eyes-tetra-baron

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Blooming Sarcochilus Orchid

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Sarcochilus Orchids

It seems that this year only one Sarcochilus orchid has flowers (2 spikes). It would be more beautiful if all of them are having flowers now to fill the pretty basket pot. However, I just have to be happy with what I have ūüôā

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Anggrek Sarcochilus

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Bulan Desember tahun lalu, bersama suami, saya¬†pergi ke¬†Langwarrin (kira-kira 40 km dari rumah kami)¬†untuk beli anggrek Sarcochilus. Kami lihat iklannya di Gumtree dan harganya juga tidak terlalu mahal. Sebelumnya saya tidak tahu seperti apa jenis anggrek ini, jadi penasaran juga untuk melihatnya. Ian yang kira-kira seumuran kami amat ramah dan rupanya dia memiliki ‘hobby farm’ tanaman anggrek dihalaman rumahnya. Dari pinggir jalan, rumah dan bangunan untuk menanam anggrek tidak kelihatan karena depannya lebat dengan pohon-pohon Eucalyptus yang tinggi.

Akhirnya kami beli dua jenis anggrek Sarcochilus yaitu S. fitzhart dan S. hartmanii. Keduanya berwarna putih tapi lain warna bibirnya. Walau bunga kecil ukurannya, tapi karena tumbuh menggerombol jadi kelihatan cantik juga dan semerbak mewangi. Ian yang murah hati malah memberikan bonus 2¬†pot Sarcochilus yang¬†masih¬†kecil,¬†yang satu¬†juga S. fitzhart dan satu lagi S. Bernice Klein ‘Pink Blush’¬†dan¬†belum berbunga. Waktu saya tanya¬†seperti apa bunganya,¬†jawabannya adalah¬†misteri jadi harus tunggu sampai berbunga. Moga-moga saja daun bunganya¬†akan pink seperti namanya dan¬†bukan putih lagi. Waktu saya mengagumi bunga anggrek Dendrobium nobile yang¬†berbatang lunak, kami juga diberi anakannya yang masih kecil gratis.

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Sarcochilus Orchids

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Sarcochilus 'Fitzhart'

Sarcochilus ‘Fitzhart’

My husband and I¬†went to Langwarrin to an Orchid Farm and bought Australian native orchids ‘Sarcochilus’. The small and pretty blooms are fragrant. These native orchids species are endemic to¬†Northern, Eastern Australia and Tasmania. These epiphytic (grow on other plants)¬†and lithopythic (grow on rockeries)¬†orchids grow wildly on high altitude ¬†mountain ranges. In Victoria, Sarco orchids can be found in certain areas around Mt. Dandenong. There are also quite a few of hybrid varieties.

As this is the very first time for me to have this species of orchid, I have to learn the growing requirements. These are notes that I have made:

  • Location: To grow Sarco orchids will need¬†cool and airy shaded¬†areas around 60 %¬†– 70%¬†with high humidity. It is common to place Sarcochilus under tables or benches. Never expose the plants to direct sunlight.¬†Keep them in¬†shadier place during summer months.
  • Temperature: The ideal is between 8 deg.C to 28 deg.C. In the summer when the Melbourne temperature can soar well above 30 deg.C, keep the plant in darker¬†place and water down the surrounding area to make the air more humid. When the winter temperature is well under 8 deg.C, keep the plant under cover or if it is outside, the plant can be covered with plastic sheet. Never expose the plant to frost.
  • Potting media: consist of orchid barks or coco bark. A¬† little bit of river pebbles or styrofoam pieces¬†can be added into the barks.
  • Watering: As Sarco orchids have no Pseudobulb, they will not be able to store water. Watering should be done regularly to keep roots moist. Reduce to about once a week during winter time. Rain water is more suitable to use. Do not let the leaf crown wet and keep flowers dry.
  • Fertilizer: During summer and autumn apply weak mix of¬†liquid fertilizer such Aquasol, Fish Emulsion or Seaweed Extract once a week with exception, once a month use water only to flush the¬†fertilizer residue (once a week for three weeks apply weak fertilizer and only water on the fourth week).¬†Apply less often¬†fertilizer in¬†spring.¬† DO NOT apply fertilizer at all during winter time.
  • Propagating: Sarcochilus will form a large clump that can be divided over time.
  • It can grow mounted on a shady tree trunk, on rockeries or just in ordinary pots. The proprietor of the orchid farm said that Sarco orchids¬†will grow many long aerial roots. In older plant, the aerial roots can creep and cling¬†on the wall, on rocks¬†or on tree trunk. If grown in pots, when the clump is bigger, wide squat pot is better to use.

We bought two pots and both are flowering, the one with pink flowers (S. fitzhart)¬†is larger than the white one (S. hartmannii sp.). We were given two extra in smallest pots. One is another flowering¬†S. fitzhart and the other one is Sarco bernice klein ‘Pink Blush’ with no flower. So it will be a mystery how the flowers will look like, but I guess it will be pinkish. We were also given a small pot of soft cane Dendrobium (no flower) for free.

Sarcochilus hartmannii sp.

Sarcochilus hartmannii sp.

Sarcochilus orchids sp.

Australian Native Sarcochilus Orchids