Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cats and Catts Visit Vista, California

Here, Oliver stands next to a Den. speciosum-gracilicaule x specio-kingianum. Trixie picked this up on her visit to Ontario Orchids in Vista California.  I visited Ontario Orchids a few days later based on Trixie's positive review.  We were both impressed by the friendly and helpful staff.  We were also knocked over by their collection of gorgeous dendrobiumThey also had cool looking phalaenopsis and a number of mounted species.  Back in the corner, I found a small number of slipper orchids, including a handful of Phrag. Haley Decker.  Unfortunately, they weren't for sale (but it never hurts to ask).  All in all, Cats and Catts gives Ontario Orchids the "kitty approved" seal of quality, so check them out if you find yourself in the North County of San Diego.

I'm not sure if Oliver knows what to do with the dendrobium, except for chew at the leaves, but I think Sidney (the grey kitty) has some solid ideas about its care. First, he notes that dendrobium are one of the largest species of orchids, so it's difficult to give general advice.   

In Vista, with its Mediterranean climate, this kind of orchid can probably stay outdoors in a bright, but shady, spot.  I will look forward to the kitties' reports, but this seems like an easy-to-care for hybrid that likes 1) sunlight, 2) regular watering 3) reasonably heavy fertilizer, and a drastic cutback in water and fertilizer during the winter.  The best advice for caring for these plants is probably this AOS article on the Australian Hard Cane Dendrobium Group.  

Ontario Orchids sell the hybrid featured with the kitties (speciosum-gracilicaule x specio-kingianum) as well as the natural hybrid Den. x specio-kingianum.  Each has a slightly different perfume, but they're both nicely fragrant.

 (above, Trixie and the ladies from Ontario Orchids

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