October To Do List


  • Shorter days and cooler nights in October will be the signal for orchids to slow down and prepare for winter’s rest.  Watch them carefully and cut back on water and fertilizer as cooler days and nights prevail. Protect outdoor orchids from the first fall and winter rains.
  • Fall blooming cattlyeas and cymbidiums are beginning their blooming season. Provide adequate water and fertilizer but do so in the mornings so plants dry out before nightfall.
  • Maintain good hygiene practices to minimize transmission of pests and viruses. Watch for fungus and bacterial rot as weather cools and wetter conditions prevail.
  • More details on specific genera can be found on the AOS website

Indoors and Greenhouse

  • Carefully monitor greenhouse temperatures and check that fans, automatic vents and heaters are in good working order. 
  • Continue to provide good air circulation for indoor plants to discourage diseases and pests such as mealy bugs and scale. Treat early to avoid spreading to other plants. More info on pests and diseases can be found at the AOS website.
  • Start to cut back on watering and frequency of fertilizing as the days shorten and nights cool. Avoid over fertilizing to minimize root damage and soft growths. Keep to one half to one fourth the recommended amount on the package.


  • ontinue to monitor and control snails, slugs and pests as cooler and wet weather will bring them out. They can do considerable damage to plants in short order.
  • Cattleyas should be in their fall blooming season as well as hardening off of growth produced in the spring and summer.  Cut back on watering and frequency of fertilizing as plants slow down their growth rates. 
  • Cymbidiums should be developing spikes so switch from high nitrogen fertilizer to one with higher phosphorus and potassium (Hi Bloom such as 10-30-20) to initiate and stimulate spike production.  Stake spikes early to train them to grow upright while spikes are flexible. See also the AOS website for more information.
  • Although the best time to repot cymbidiums is in the early spring following blooming, plants can be repotted at this time if roots are deteriorating and media is decomposed in order to avoid loss of plants over the winter period. 
  • Catasetums/cycnoches are in their fall blooming period.  Continue to give them warm temperatures, high light and fertilize well at each watering until you see them begin their dormant period by the yellowing and dropping of leaves. Cut back on water and fertilizer as suggested by Fred Clarke on his website.
  • To induce your phalaenopsis to re-bloom, subject them to 1-2 weeks of night temps of around 50°, but bring them in when night temps go below 50° as they are quite sensitive to cold.  If you grow them in the house, put them in a cool room or near a window to obtain the lower night temps for spike initiation.


The monthly To Do list is a collaboration of several POS members. We appreciate any and all comments, suggestions, and feedback on our new feature. Please send them to newsletter@palomarorchid.org!