Orchid Show in Washington D.C. on Columbus Day Weekend

Paph. Hsinying Citron X Pat Rowlands purchased at last year

Enjoy a dazzling display of orchids in Washington D.C this Columbus Day weekend. This fall tradition brings thousands of orchids in bloom, and visitors, to the U.S National Arboretum. There is a also a sales tent where vendors from around the nation offer many orchids that you won’t find in your local grocery store.

Members of the National Capital Orchid Society (NCOS) are also on had to give tours and answer any questions you many have on orchids. Better still, attend one of the many free orchid growing workshops offered and and then select some orchids to take home with you from our sales tent. I’ll be giving a talk on Saturday at 1.45pm on ‘5 Secrets to Great Orchid Growing;’ come find out what they are!

Admission to the show, classes, and sales tent is free! Show hours are:
Saturday 10 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday 10 am – 5:00 pm
Monday 10 am – 3:00 pm
The entrance to the Arboretum is at 24th and R Street, NE, not the New York Avenue address. For more information visit the NCOS website.

If you’re an orchid nut, and looking to to add plants to your collection, get there early on Saturday.  However, there are enough orchids to suit everyone’s taste, so even if you get there later in the day, you’ll still find something you like. I found the slipper orchid pictured above left well into Saturday afternoon after the best stuff had supposedly been ‘picked over.’ Read my orchid website post on how to buy orchids so you can make your way through the sales tent like a pro. If you want to enjoy the displays, then Monday is usually the quietest day ..

New this year are special photo sessions before the show opens to the public:
Saturday, October 8, 9:00 – 10:00 am
Sunday, October 9, 9:00 – 10:00 am
Monday, October 10, 9:00 – 10:00 am

Photograph rare and exotic blooming orchids set in spectacular museum-quality displays without the worry of crowds or space to set up your tripod. The fee per session is $12 (Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) $10). You can register on the NCOS website.

You can also sign up to become a member of the National Capital Orchid Society at the show. Meetings are held monthly at the arboretum and feature a guest speaker as well as a show table with hundreds of orchids in bloom. Here are some photos from last year’s NCOS Show to whet your appetite.

Here is an exhibit I designed for Orchid Enterprise at last year's show

Summer blooming spiders (orchids that is)

brassia orchid
spider orchid


While even the campiest of orchids take a break in the summer, not so the brassias orchids. These spidery giants of the orchid world that hail from central and south America seem to revel in the summer heat. Here are some photos of our brassia orchids on bloom. These photos are from last summer. The flowers were about 18″ from top to bottom! They also have a light spicy fragrance that adds to their allure. Learn how to grow brassia orchids.

spider orchids

Is that an orchid in your pocket?

pocket orchid (see the quarter?)
pocket orchid (see the quarter?)

I stopped by Whole Foods on the way home and found that they had a whole bunch of ultra-miniature phalaenopsis orchids all vying for attention.  Now these things were tiny. They were in 2.5″ pots and you could have five of them easily fit in the footprint of a standard phal. Needless to say I had to have one, and since my bag was full of groceries I stuck the tiny tot in my coat pocket and hurtled home on my bike so my latest orchid adoptee would not get too cold. We made it home intact and Phal. Timothy Christopher  ‘M-P0764’ is now happily ensconced among my other plants.

Now this is a cross of Cassandra X amabilis, so it has equestris in the background which brings down the flower size.  Other species in the background, stuartiana and  amabilis should result in lots of blooms on branched spikes. In essence, these look like a miniature amabilis.

However do note: these Lilliputian marbles will grow up. Ideally, you could have a specimen size plant covered  with loads of lowers in a 4″ pot. its a testament to phalaenopsis  breeders that you can have  a hybrid that flowers so vigorously when still quite small.

Photos from the 2010 Orchid Show

orchids for sale!
orchids for sale!

The 2010 National Capital Orchid Show and Sale in Washington D.C. was held on a glorious sunny October weekend. There were hundreds of amazing orchids in bloom and we caught a few on camera. This year, the show was held in the Bonsai Pavilion which has lots of natural light–the displays were enjoyed by thousands people over the course of the weekend. The show is always held on Columbus Day weekend and admission is free.

fringe-lipped cattleya orchid
fringe-lipped cattleya orchid
jewel orchids-grown for their foliage
jewel orchids-grown for their foliage

Dtps Yu Pin 'Fireworks' has an unusual lip
Dtps Yu Pin 'Fireworks' has an unusual lip

part of  the display I designed
part of the display I designed
a stunning display of slipper orchids
a stunning display of slipper orchids

See more photos from the NCOS 2010 Orchid Show!

2010 Orchid Show & Sale in Washington D.C.

Laelia Orchid in bloom at 2009 Orchid show
Laelia Orchid in bloom at 2009 Orchid show

The 63d Annual Orchid Show and Sale will be held October 9-11 at the US National Arboretum in Washington D.C. Admittance to the show and sale is free. This is a wonderful opportunity to see hundreds of orchids in bloom, many rare and exotic, displayed by some of the best orchid growers in the country!

After you view the orchids on display, take a free class or workshop on how to grow orchids, and then head over to the sales tent for a selection of orchids you won’t find at the grocery store.

I’ll be presenting a talk on ‘Foundations of Orchid Care’ at 1pm Saturday so please join me for that!

See some photos from last year’s orchid show.

Compact Cattleyas make great house plants

Potinara Lisa Taylor Gallis "Nora'

Compact cattleya orchids, have all the appeal of standard cattleya, they’re just smaller and more manageable. They can bloom in a 3.5″ pot and generally stay under a foot tall. Plants can get large as they put out new growths, but can be kept manageable by dividing every two to three years.

Many, like the Potinara Lisa Taylor Gallis ‘Nora’ pictured here will also bloom twice a year. This plant bloomed in spring and now has two flowers an a bud(on another growth) six months later! These plants can be grown on a sunny window sill with southern exposure, or under lights.

Potinara Lisa Taylor Gallis "Nora'

Potinara Kat E-Sun ‘Caribbean’ lives up to its name

Feb27, 2011 update to this post. The orchid is now blooming with 11 flowers, in a 4″ pot! One of the growths has 5 blooms that shows you what this clone is capable of. It matured several growths without flowers, since my last post. The sheaths all dried up but then early this spring, buds appeared from almost all the dried sheaths! So the message here is never remove the sheaths, even if they appear dry. The flowers have a lovely fragrance to boot. This is definitely a keeper. And, by the way, I’m growing this orchid in a mud(peat-based) mix(pro-mix HP with added perlite).

Potinara Kat E-Sun ‘Caribbean’
Potinara Kat E-Sun ‘Caribbean’

 Pot. Kat E-Sun 'Caribbean' (Sc. Beaufort 'Elmwood' AM/AOS 4N x Blc. Sunset Bay ' Miyamoto')
Pot. Kat E-Sun 'Caribbean' (Sc. Beaufort 'Elmwood' AM/AOS 4N x Blc. Sunset Bay ' Miyamoto')

Pot. Kat E-Sun ‘Caribbean’ (Sc. Beaufort ‘Elmwood’ AM/AOS 4N x Blc. Sunset Bay ‘ Miyamoto’) is a stunning orchid as you can see. Its in the Cattleya alliance. The Beaufort parent is a classic and brings plant size downs considerably–this is obviously a happy marriage with the Blc. Sunset Bay.

I grow this plant in a sunny south facing window year ’round. It is blooming in 3.5″ pot and has several strong growths and leads so will need repotting soon. It took about a year to bloom although it matured at least one or two growths in this period.

Often I find that many orchids with cyclical growth patterns take a while to adjust to your growing environment, especially if quite different from the one they were growing in before purchase. However, once they’ve settled in, they should have a more regular blooming cycle. This hybrid apparently blooms several times a year–something to look forward too!

Brassavola David Sander

Brassavola David Sander 'Carney'
Brassavola David Sander 'Carney'


This is one of my favorite orchids. It is now known as a Rhyncovola but I prefer the more commonly used older name. I remember seeing a photo of it in one of the first beginner orchid books I bought and being immediately captivated by the flower. This orchid, in the cattleya alliance, has a large elegant, almost ghostly flower, with a striking fimbriated lip. The flower is white, but the back of the sepals have a dark pink pigment so when the light shines through them they can appear pinkish.

I purchased this division several years ago and it took about 3 years before it bloomed! Since then it has bloomed regularly putting out more flowers every year so it was well worth the wait.So if you have one, it may need to put on a good number of growths in order to bloom.

The plant blooms in the summer, and thrives in bright light and humidity. Learn more about how to grow Brassavola David Sanders.

Orchids shine at 2010 Chelsea Flower Show

Eric Young Orchid Foundation Exhibit, photo: BBC
Eric Young Orchid Foundation Exhibit, photo: BBC



The Eric Young Orchid Foundation
was back at Chelsea this year winning a gold medal with a stunning display of Miltonia (pansy) orchids. Located on the isle of Jersey, the foundation is well known among orchid growing circles for their first-rate collection of award-winning Phragmipedium slipper orchids. Like most of the phragmipediums that the foundation grows, miltonias appreciate milder temperatures with cooler nights. Miltonias have been bred with their near relatives such as brassias and odontgolossums to produce hybrids which are widely available and easier to grow.

See photos of individual miltonias in display at Chelsea

Orchids on the National Mall–USBG 2010 Show

” …go on a journey with the U.S. Botanic Garden as we explore the ways orchids have permeated the lives of people around the world. Discover orchids in arts, literature, exploration, jewelry, trade, and business. Travel the world within our Conservatory and discover how influential and magnificent orchids have been in our lives!” [from the USBG website]

Ever year, the U.S. Botanic Garden and the Smithsonian Institution Horticultural Services Division put on an great display of orchids, and this year is no exception. Many stunning specimens from the collections are on view, including ‘vintage’ orchid cultivars, some dating back to the turn of the last century. The show is free and runs through April 11 2010 at the US Botanic Gardens on the National Mall in Washington D.C.

Here are a few photos to whet your appetite!

orchid dragon
orchid dragon

Dendrobium Merlin
Dendrobium Merlin

Dendrbioum species
Dendrbioum species
The dendrobiums pictured are mostly spring bloomers requiring a bright, cool and drier winter rest in order to produce their abundant blooms. Many beginner growers have a hard time withholding water for one to two months in order to stimulate flowering. Many of these types of dendrobiums are deciduous-they’ll drop their leaves which also prevents water loss during this ‘rest’ period. The cooler temperatures required during this rest period, about 50 F, also reduces plant growth and hence, water requirement. In fact, they will not produce any new leafy growth until warmer weather, after flowering. Remember also that ambient humidity also tends to be high enough to keep the plant pseudobulbs(long canes) from drying out

Dendrobium farmeri
Dendrobium farmeri
Lc. Gold Digger 'Buttercup'
Lc. Gold Digger 'Buttercup'
Oncidium Irene 'Mamau'
Oncidium Irene 'Mamau'
Cymbidium insigne
Cymbidium insigne