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I often refer to the age of my orchids by guesswork, so today I actually went back to August 2012 when I started writing ‘The Snakeblog’ and checked when I actually received them. I was given the pink orchid nine years ago and it was already a couple of years old I reckon. I bought the original ‘Flare Spots’ seven years ago, the twin miniature phals were a gift three years ago and the other miniature again a gift, three years ago too.
The first keiki which was from ‘Flare Spots’ is also three years old, and the second keiki became independent this year.
On the whole the plants are quite healthy although the ‘twin’ miniatures have struggled somewhat after their re-potting, I do not think they were completely healthy though from day one. However I will persevere to try to bring them up to scratch. I have kept the regime for all these years using the same techniques throughout the seasons and years, just repotting them in fresh potting medium when they show signs of being unhappy.

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Almost into September… where on earth has the year gone?

My miniatures are not flowering and the twins are looking slightly poorly. The keiki from the other miniature is thriving…slowly and has a new leaf.

The old plant (photo on left) has a profusion of new flowers despite just having lost the old ones.

The Flare Spots is still flowering as shown along with the pink – veined one (also shown).

All the rest have healthy new flower spikes and will soon be in bloom again!

For all those new to growing phals  (phalaenopsis orchids) all my plants are several years old Рthe oldest being well over ten years.

Look to previous blogs for growing conditions.


The ‘twin’ miniature phals have been looking a bit tired in recent months, and only one of them has flowered this year, so I thought it was worth re-potting them with fresh bark medium, in larger pots.
Already one of them has a new healthy green leaf and I’m hoping that this strategy will save them. I have also dispensed with the outer ceramic pots and left them just with the clear plastic inner pots, to get maximum light to the roots in this transitional phase.
The other miniature phal with a well-developed keiki has now got three roots and when they are slightly longer it will be time for me to give the plantlet a life of its own by cutting it free and planting it in a new pot.
The other orchids are still flowering and producing healthy foliage, the oldest (pink) will be ten years old next year and has both old flowers and a new flower spike too, at present.
It will soon be time to repot this one, after it has finished flowering this time and it will be necessary to use a nine inch pot, quite a bit of growth and several re-pottings since my wife bought it for me.

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It is June and the keiki on the miniature phal has almost lost its first flowering despite being still attached to the parent plant. (first picture)
Its first root can be clearly seen and when it has a couple more I will detach it from the parent plant and pot it up.
The other picture shows the twin miniature plants, one of which has not flowered for a year. (on right). The other one has recently lost its flowers.
These plants have never had great leaves, but I have  confidence that they will improve, possibly after a re-pot. All the other plants are flowering well and look in good condition.

I have noticed quite a useful fact over the last few years of growing phalaenopsis orchids concerning aerial roots. Whilst these roots are very necessary when the plants are growing from tree limbs in the wild, in the home environment they do not seem to be that useful.
My plants that had aerial roots still have them however and I mist the roots with rainwater once a week.
Plants that did not have aerial roots to start with have never grown them under my growth conditions and the keiki that I removed and is now a mature plant does not have any aerial roots. Nor does the second keiki which is still attached to its parent plant and is flowering at the moment, as is its parent.

Painting in all its forms is a somewhat toxic pastime or job and it pays to have some extra knowledge when using paint or disposing of it. I have built up some methodology over a number of years which I apply to the various media I use on a regular basis. In the main I paint in oils and as the paint I use is oil based ( although there are now water based oil paints) it is a question of finding less toxic paint thinners and brush cleaners, and not using domestic drains as a disposal point.

As a thinner I use Winsor and Newton Liquin Fine Detail, this is less toxic than using turpentine, but still needs some care as it contains some suspect compounds. It needs to be used relatively quickly as it soon darkens in colour, eventually turning into a solid block.

The brush cleaner I use is Weber turpenoid natural which is a fabulous non – toxic brush cleaner and conditioner, which makes the paint miscible with water. If you follow the instructions carefully you can keep all the brush cleanings from producing a 70 X 50 cm canvas in a standard sized jam jar.

When you finish your painting take a cat litter tray and fill it with the granule type of litter Рpour the diluted paint evenly over the litter and leave to dry, preferably outside. When perfectly dry the litter can be scraped into a black bin bag and disposed of by sending to landfill where it will degrade. This is by far a superior alternative to allowing toxic paint and brush cleaner to enter our sewers.


Some flowers are starting to fade now, though there is still a mass of blooms.
The miniature phalaenopsis with the keiki now has a new flower spike along with its group of flowers. There are plenty of healthy green leaves on all of the plants too.
One of the ‘twin’ miniatures now has a well developed flower spike, whilst the other has as yet not shown any signs of flowering, however, this one is often later than the others.

http://www.robinsonart.co.uk