April 2013 - Harry Phillips

Harry PhillipsHarry PhillipsPerceptions and Realities of Growing Orchids

We are excited to welcome back Harry Phillips, of Andy’s Orchids fame, to speak to us on ‘Perceptions and Realities of Growing Orchids’. This is a very new presentation from Harry that will address the perceptions that hobbyists have about numerous aspects of orchid growing and the actual realities of experiences that he and his brother, Andy, have had in their many years of growing orchids.  This talk should be very informative and of value to novice and advanced orchidists alike.  Harry also will provide for the opportunity table their ever popular plants from Andy’s Orchids (

Harry Phillips is a native San Diegian, whose father taught him to appreciate plants at an early age. In January of 1963, Harry's younger brother, Andy (of Andy's Orchids fame), was born and six years later is when it all started. They were both exposed to exotic plants and flowers at an early age, but when Andy became interested and, later, obsessed with orchids, Harry somehow resisted becoming involved with them for as long as he could. He assisted Andy in his passion by building his first two greenhouses and Andy would reward him with a hybrid that was in bloom, tell him to bring it back when it goes out of bloom, and exchange it for one in bloom. Well, this would only last about a year until Harry decided that he wanted to keep one and get it to re-bloom, the beginning of the end.    Read more »

Wed, 04/03/2013 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

April To Do List


  • Review and continue to follow recommendations for March since continued cool temperatures throughout March, particularly on the coast, has delayed Spring flowering and onset of growth for some species and hybrids.
  • Fine tune the shading of orchids as heat and light continue to increase.
  • If not done yet, spray benches and growing areas with Physan to decrease possibility of bacterial and fungal diseases.
  • April brings on new growth for many orchids and the opportunity to repot and divide those orchids that initiate new root growth at this time. Try to repot when roots are small and just beginning to emerge in order to minimize damage to soft tissues and avoid transplant shock, giving plants a head start for the upcoming growing season.
  • Repot when orchids have begun to over grow their pots and/or when media has started to break down.  Also consider repotting plants that have been in pots for 2 or more years and are existing, but not thriving. Repotting can revitalize and provide new vigor to such plants.
  • It is desirable to thoroughly rinse and soak all media prior to potting. Dry media tends to wick moisture away from plants.  Then keep plants relatively dry to encourage root growth.  If you prefer to repot using dry bark mixes, water newly potted plants thoroughly (2-3x), then keep on dry side to stimulate root growth.

March 2013 - Expert Grower Panel

 Potting Mixes: A variety of different potting media and mixes can be used to successfully grow orchids.
Potting Mixes: A variety of different potting media and mixes can be used to successfully grow orchids.
Everything You Need to Know About Basic Orchid Culture and More   Read more »

Wed, 03/06/2013 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

March To Do List


  • Continue to follow recommendations for February as low night temperatures throughout February and early March will likely delay onset of the initiation of spring growth.
  • Prepare for a busy spring cleaning period. Purchase orchid supplies in anticipation of the spring potting season.
  • Avoid reusing pots as they carry potential for viral and bacterial infections. If you must reuse pots, disinfect plastic pots by soaking in a bleach/soap solution overnight.  Clay pots can be reused by cleaning, followed by sterilizing in an oven at 425°F for 2-3 hrs.
  • As temperatures and light intensity increases during the month, consider re-positioning shade cloth or moving orchids to avoid damaging effects due to increased light and heat as appropriate.
  • To facilitate new growth consider positioning the emerging growths in the direction of the sun. 
  • More details on specific genera can be found on the AOS website

Indoors and Greenhouse   Read more »

February 2013 - Peter Lin

 Peter T. LinPeter T. LinWe are pleased to welcome back Peter Lin as our speaker for February.  Peter will present the topic Neofinetia falcata and its Hybrids’, which will feature this Japanese native orchid species, a bit of history, the many forms and varieties, and a selection of its hybrids within the Vanda alliance.  He also will describe how to grow these marvelous temperature tolerant orchids.

Neofinetia falcata is native to Japan and has been grown there for centuries.  They are highly treasured and come in many flower forms and leaf forms.  It has been used with other vandaceous genera to produce charming compact hybrids.

Peter started growing orchids over 25 years ago, but then stopped due to school and starting a career.  It wasn't until about 9 years ago that the orchid "bug" came back and he is now heavily involved once again.  He is an accredited judge with the American Orchid Society and a hybridizer of mini-catts.  He enjoys meeting with other orchid enthusiasts, and can often be found at various orchid shows and societies around the country.  He also has thousands of photos of his orchids that he maintains on Flickr.   Read more »

Wed, 02/06/2013 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

February To Do List


  • In general, most orchids should still be kept fairly dry in winter even during warm periods.  If you grow on the coast near the ocean, humidity is usually higher so occasional misting (with pure water, if available) or light watering in extended periods of warm or Santa Ana conditions may be warranted. If you grow further from the ocean, where orchids experience even warmer temps and low humidity and are openly exposed to Santa Ana winds, then you may need to mist and water more often to avoid dehydration, but avoid watering excessively.  Too much water will encourage plants to send out new growths, which will not fare well when the weather turns cold again.  
  • When you do water, do so in the morning and avoid wetting buds and flowers to minimize botrytis (fungal) spotting.  Also keep tabs on the ten day weather forecasts and avoid watering if cooler and/or wet weather is predicted. One wants to make sure orchids are kept on the dry side to allow them to tolerate the cold winter nights we tend to experience in Southern California.  If February brings more normal, cooler weather than January, cut back on water and avoid fertilizing as cooler days and nights prevail.
  • Maintain cold-sensitive, warm growing orchids (phals, paphs, tolumnias, most vandas and warm growing dendrobiums and cattleyas such as violacea, dowiana and their hybrids) inside or in a greenhouse to protect them from night temperatures below 50o; however, watch under leaves for spider mites and other pests that flourish under dry, less humid conditions.  An excellent article on ‘Cold Tolerance of Orchids’ by Sue Bottom of the St. Augustine Orchid Society can be found on their website.

January 2013 - Alan Koch

Alan KochAlan KochWe are delighted to welcome as our first speaker for the 2013 season Alan Koch of Gold Country Orchids in Lincoln, CA.  Alan will talk on “Species Habitat and Hybrid Culture”and will teach both novice and advanced growers how to link the way a species grows in the wild with how to grow the species and it’s associated hybrids in your collection. This program is strong on orchid culture and will help us improve the ability to grow and successfully bloom our own orchids.  Alan will provide the plant table as well as offer additional plants for sale at the meeting.  

Alan owns and operates Gold Country Orchids (, where he specializes in miniature and compact Cattleyas. Alan started growing orchids in 1969 with 3 Cymbidiums given to him by an aunt.  While in college he became interested in other orchids and discovered many would grow outdoors in Southern California.  He has moved five times as his orchid obsession has led to the need for more growing space.  With the last move, he purchased 10 acres of land in Lincoln, California for his 250,000 orchids.     Read more »

Wed, 01/02/2013 - 6:30pm - 8:30pm

November 2012 - Gil Ho

Gilbert J. HoGilbert J. HoStanhopeas are the upside-down jewels of the orchid world. They are not often cultivated but fairly easy to grow in our Southern California climate with a few basic rules. These plants are highly fascinating as their pendant flowers are among the most highly evolved and specialized of all orchid flowers. The flower spikes emerge through the bottom of the growing basket to hang freely like birds in flight.  With an emphasis on the roughly 70 species currently recognized, Gil's talk will cover basic information about different Stanhopea growing conditions in nature and the origins of Stanhopea collecting and identification. Hybridizing stanhopeas will be mentioned briefly and the talk will conclude with an overview of cutlure conditions for growing Stanhopeas in our Southern California area. This section will serve as this month's culture class.   Read more »

Wed, 11/07/2012 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm

Member of the Year 2012

Who do you think has made an outstanding contribution to the club this year?  Nominate him/her for Member of the Year.  Send the name of the individual, along with a description of their contribution, to Debra Funakoshi by Friday, October 26.  Her email address is

All current members are eligible except last year’s honoree, which was Debra.  

We will vote at the next meeting to determine who will receive the honor and the name of the honoree will be revealed at the holiday dinner in December.

October 2012 - Alex Nadzan

An Amateur’s Attempt at Orchid Hybridizing

Alex NadzanAlex NadzanOctober’s speaker will be our own Alex Nadzan who has been collecting and growing orchids for over 20 years with emphasis on Cattleya, Oncidium and Cymbidium species and hybrids. Alex was first bitten by the orchid bug in the late 1980’s when he attended an orchid show at the Chicago Botanic Garden and purchased from Orchids by Hausermann, Inc. two orchids, a Cattleya and Oncidium, both of which he still owns and manages to bloom on a yearly basis.  His orchid collection, which now consists of a few thousand orchids, expanded after he and his family relocated to San Diego where conditions are favorable for growing outdoors compared to the Chicago area.  

Over the last 7 years, Alex has embarked on an orchid hybridizing program devoted primarily to creating novel, compact and cold-tolerant Cattleya hybrids.  He will discuss his attempts at producing new hybrids, providing an overview of orchid hybridization basics including pollination, seed production and germination, deflasking and raising orchid seedlings to blooming size. He also will show blooms of some of his first hybrids and share some of the novel hybrids in progress.

As part of his talk and in place of the culture class, Alex will demonstrate how to deflask and start out orchid seedlings for those members who may what to try their hand at it.   Read more »

Wed, 10/03/2012 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm