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

October 2012 President's Message

Dear POS Members and Friends,

It's hard to believe that we are entering into fall, and that the holidays are around the corner.  Just yesterday it was 100 degrees in some parts of San Diego county, but we've now cooled off in many places.  Cymbidiums begin to need some attention going into the end of year and beginning of next year in the peak of their blooming season.  The POS also requires some attention as this time coincides with planning for holiday parties and the election of officers and board members.

Before I talk about this though, I want to thank Debra Funakoshi for her dedication in setting up member and vendor caravans during the entire year.  The caravan to Renate Schmidt and Merle Robboy with a stop at Sunset Valley Orchids was great fun for the members who attended.  Caravan attendance has skyrocketed since Debra began the new format of focusing on members' collections rather than just organizing buying sprees (nothing wrong with orchid buying sprees though).  By combining the two activities, members are hopefully learning something about how others grow orchids and solve common growing problems.

Election time is here again, and the nomination committee consisting of Cher Whelan, Maryanne Kind and Cathy Belt is assembling the slate.  I want to encourage members to talk to them, and if you have a little time to spare each month, consider running for a position.  They will go around the October general meeting talking to members attending the meeting to determine interest and perhaps get some fresh new talent for the board.  Several positions may be vacated this go around.  The slate will be announced at the November meeting for general voting and installation will occur at the holiday party again.   Read more »

September 2012 - Fred Clarke

We are fortunate to have return one of our favorite speakers and long time member and supporter of the Palomar Orchid Society, Fred Clarke of Sunset Valley Orchids, who will speak to us on “Growing the Best Orchids”.

Fred’s talk will cover multiple aspects of growing orchids including general orchid culture, repotting, potting materials, lighting, fertilization, what orchids grow best together, etc. Fred’s power point presentation will review the ‘best practices’ for growing a variety of orchids and include pictures of some of his novel hybrids and species.  The presentation should be of considerable interest to both the novice and advanced orchid hobbyist.  As many of our members know, Fred is an excellent, highly sought after lecturer in the orchid world so his presentation should not be missed.

Fred has been growing orchids for 34 years and has been hybridizing for 26 of those years. With over 26 years as a professional grower and manager in the horticultural industry, Fred applies these skills at his orchid nursery, Sunset Valley Orchids, located in Vista, California, just north of San Diego. His nursery’s website is 

Fred is a passionate orchid grower whose curiosity in orchids is wide and varied. Although developing new Cattleya hybrids has been his sustaining interest, he is also actively creating new Bulbophyllum, Paphiopedilum and Aussie Dendrobium hybrids. Moreover, his pioneering work in Catasetum intergeneric hybrids led to the development of several notable hybrids, most recently the grex, Fredclarkeara After Dark, which produced “the closest flower color to black ever witnessed”. This grex received seven FCC’s and three AM’s on the first flowers shown for judging.    Read more »

Wed, 09/05/2012 - 6:30pm - 9:30pm