Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Orchid time in Mumbai

(Den. Erasakul)

If you like orchids, then this is the best time to visit my garden in Mumbai. Almost all my Dendrobium orchids are either in bloom or in bud.

The cooler weather and moisture overdose during the monsoon season probably sets them off. After drooping and wilting through the scorching hot months of March to the beginning of June, they spring back exuberantly once the monsoons cool the air again. Within weeks, all the dendrobiums (or dends, as orchidists familiarly call them) start showing off fat little green spikes which will grow into some of the most mindblowing of Nature's creations.


Those fat little nubbins soon elongate and branch out into buds which soon give their first hint of the beauty to come !
Just look at these... they bring to mind a group of birds in flight, dont they?


Many growers struggle to get the dendrobium orchids to bloom for them but I've found that given plenty of light and a healthy dose of neglect, they're among the easiest plants to grow, especially in the tropics.

I grow all my dendrobiums outdoors, lightly shaded so that they're sheltered from the harsh sunrays between 10.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. but with plenty of light at other times. When I was new to growing dendrobium orchids, I kept them in deep shade and I got lovely dark green leaves but no flowers! Thats the indicator, you know...
Dark green leaves - too little light
Yellowish leaves - too much light
Apple-green leaves - light's just perfect



I had just finished photographing this dendrobium when I noticed that things were not as they should be. Can you spot what it is?



Surprise!
And this little garden spider found a cosy hideout. I bet the dendrobium is as pleased as can be with this arrangement. Goodbye nasty, petal-chomping bugs!

41 comments:

  1. Absolutely wonderful photos of beautiful plants, Sunita.

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  2. Beautiful orchids,Sunita! Do you have potted herbs too? I've been looking for these all over the city with no success. Would you know where I could find them?
    Thanks a tonne!
    -Shaheen

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  3. Thanks, HappyMouffetard! I think they're real soul food, arent they?
    Hi Shaheen. Good to see someone from amchi Mumbai here : )
    Which herbs are you looking for? Mail me, I may be able to help you out.

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  4. Hi Sunita; your Dendrobium is spectacular. I like them too, because they are so easy to grow and don't need to be mollycoddled
    as long they have the right conditions to grow.

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  5. Trudi, you're so right! They're really easy to grow, especially in the tropics. I think "as long as they have the right conditions to grow" is the key phrase.
    Do you have more dendrobiums? I saw one in your blog but considering the dend. biggibums (what a name!) are from your part of the world, they should be easier to buy for you.

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  6. "birds in flight"....great description...yes, I can see that! Your orchids are so pretty!

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  7. Well, Kim, you've got the real thing... jewelled dragonflies with shimmering wings and vibrant colours. I just thought I had to try and keep up ; )

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  8. Beautiful! We are birds of a feather...ha-hah. Thanks for the great tip on securing the orchids. Banana fiber is going to be my new twine! I have plenty of it.

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  9. Yes, birds in flight indeed - the soul of a poet sees it.
    Lovely pictures!

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  10. Eric, this is getting really interesting. Do you know that I too have the Den. Thongchai Gold that you had featured a couple of posts ago?
    Banana fiber is great to tie things with. Can you believe they've even started making saris with the processed banana fiber?

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  11. Thanks, Raji. I think it is more of my jobless mind that keeps looking for and seeing things which are not there.
    Something like seeing forms in clouds. But wait, thats some kind of art-form, isnt it?

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  12. hey,
    Sunita,

    lovely blog on garden stuff....i loved the orchid photos.....i did not know we cld grow orchids in mumbai. i had got some saplings and seeds from sikkim but they did not sprout here!....i blamed it on the mumbai weather...where in mumbai do u have such a lovely garden?

    cheers
    rama

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  13. Hi Rama, thanks for dropping by.
    Well, there are orchids ... and then there are orchids ! Any of the warm-growing ones like Dendrobiums, Phalaenopsis, Spathaglottis, etc. do very well in Mumbai. Give them warmth and humidity and enough light according to their individual needs (Phals need more shade, Dends need more sun, etc.) and you can get an orchid that'll suit your environment. The trick is in deciding which one suits you best.
    If you need more tips, mail me... I'll definitely try to help you :)

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  14. hey sunita,
    Beautiful pics, i too was planning to buy orchid plants, came across ur site while searching those. can u tell me how long to the flowers last, which season they bloom? i m planning to buy a orchid pot wit a bud, do you think it will Grow? I stay in Goa..... I have seen some orchids pot for sale along wit Buds, was wondering if they will grow? Plz guide]

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  15. Hi Siddhi! In ideal conditions the flowers last for a month at least. I said 'ideal' because there are a lot of factors which can cut short their life. Such as, if you bring them indoors and keep them in the same room as ripening fruits, the ethylene gas emitted by the fruits will cause the flowers to droop and die.
    Then, I've had dendrobium orchids with extra-long spikes and from the time since the first bud bloomed till the last one, I was enjoying that flower spike for more than 2 months.
    Orchids should grow beautifully for you in Goa. Just make sure that it isn't subjected to extremes of climate while transporting it ... from a blazing hot day into a chilled air-conditioned room / car ... or the bud may die. Even if it does, dont despair, it'll bloom again. Do you know which orchid you'll be buying?

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  16. Hi Sunita,

    Are you in Bombay or Goa. Do you know anyone who sells orchids in India, or it has to be imported. I stay in Pune. I was happy to see the images of the flowers you have posted.

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  17. Hi Sunita,

    Do you sell orchids? Do you have a nursery? Which part of Mumbai. I am from Pune, too eager to get orchids of different types.

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  18. Darshan, I'm in Mumbai. Do you already grow any orchid or are you totally new to them? About buying orchids, please mail me (you'll find my e-mail on my profile page).

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  19. Hello Sunita, can i cultivate orchids in dry climate i.e. in Hyderabad?---Ammaji

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  20. Our tropical orchids prefer a humidity level of at least 50%. You can grow them provided you're willing to put in some extra work. Are you planning to grow them indoors or outdoors?
    You will need to provide added moisture for spraying/ misting the plants with water or by placing the pots in trays of water (elevate the pots on stones / brick pieces so that there is no direct contact with water). Or if you're growing phalaenopsis orchids, you can keep the pot in the bathroom (it still needs a bright spot).
    So, yes, it is possible but it also means you have to put in more effort into growing them.

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  21. Thanks for the suggestion. I have worked hard and have got the fruit. My first orchid has flowered. Two stems have come up with three flowers each. This is magenta phalenopsis. Its first flower opened on 19th March 2011 & all the flowers are ok till today.

    Regards,

    Darshan

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  22. That's fantastic, Darshan, I'm so excited for you! Getting 2 flower stalks from one plant makes it even better, doesn't it?

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  23. Hi,
    I leave in pune.wanted to know from where can I buy a phal here? Can you help me?

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    Replies
    1. I really wouldn't be able to advise you about Phal sources in Pune, Vineet. Maybe you could check with some of the nurseries there? (I'm so envious that there are so many of them there compared to the few in Mumbai)

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  24. I have learned a new thing. It needs in Pune only. Mubai is Humid any ways so its ok. In pune we need to supply humidity to the plants.Orchid plants should watered and then be enclosed in a glass box and sealed. This way they will grow very fast.

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    Replies
    1. Do you mean you grow them in a terrarium, Darshan? Well, if it works for you, then that's great! Just one word of caution ... keep an eye wide open for fungal diseases since there's no air circulation. But then, all gardeners inevitably keep experimenting and growing their plants in ways that everyone else said wouldn't work.
      And what orchids are you growing? Dendrobiums can grow quite tall (for an orchid) and when they bloom, their spikes can make them even taller.
      If you want to add humidity, just place the pots on a pebble tray with water added to it.

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    2. Also, be extra-careful in summer since the temperature can build up in that closed space.

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  25. this is madhu from navimumbai.
    ive got orchid bulbs from sikkim can u pleasetell me how topot them an grow them in a best way. im vry much excitd about them already. please help me

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  26. How exciting,Madhu! Do you know which orchids you have got? The culture of each type varies a lot. You can go to the American Orchid Society's culture sheets to get help : http://www.aos.org/Default.aspx?id=75 (see under Novice Culture sheets).

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  27. Hello Sunita,
    It was exciting reading all the posts here. I am from Navi Mumbai and would like to grow orchids but first I would like to meet someone who is growing it. Which part of Bombay are you in ? Are there any nurseries selling orchids in Navi Mumbai ?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, of course, orchids will grow very well in Navi Mumbai. Especially the warm-climate ones like Dendrobiums, Vanda, etc.
      I'm sorry but I don't know of any nurseries selling orchids in Navi Mumbai.

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  28. Hi Sunita,
    Stumbled on your blog while googling for orchids in Mumbai. Highly delighted! I have two potted orchid plants and want to acquire some more in different colors . Also I want the hanging variety, plz tell me where I can get them and also the relevant care etc for them. Thx

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    Replies
    1. Hi! It's so good to find another orchid-lover here.
      Was it you who mailed me today with a similar query? If so, look out for my reply shortly. And in case it was not, could you please mail me? You can reach me at: urbn {dot} gdnr {at} gmail {dot} com .
      Talk to you soon! :)

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  29. Thx a ton! Yes is me who has emailed you with the query about the orchids. I am eagerly looking forward to having more orchid plants. Have also subscribed for email updates so I can read all your post. Really an interesting blog! Hope to hear soon. Thx

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, so glad you enjoyed this blog :)
      Will get back to you soon, okay? Till then, happy growing!

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  30. Hie dis is ketki, can we grow vanilla orchids at home in mumbai

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    Replies
    1. The climate in Mumbai will suit the vanilla but whether it will actually flower and bear the vanilla pods depend on how much space and sunlight you can make available for it.

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  31. Beautiful Orchids at that too in Bombay. I need some advice from you.
    I bought 4 Orchid plants from Hong Kong 2 weeks back. Flowers on only one are still there and in the Other 3 the stem and leaves have fallen.
    1) what do I need to do to revive them?
    2) where should I place them? There are presently on the window sill? Can I keep them amongst other plants on my terrace?
    3) what can I add as fertilizer for growth and revival?
    4) if I have to replant it from the plastic pots, what sort of soil should I use? Is normal soil ok? Should I add some coconut husk?

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sanjeev. Do you know what type of orchids they are? Each type has very different requirements for care so you really need to know which species or hybrid of orchid you are growing. If you are not sure, then just do an online search and try to identify them through those pictures.
      Unless it is a terrestrial type of orchid (which grows in the ground) then please do not use any soil to pot up the orchid. Many of the orchids which are commercially available are epiphytes (which grow by clinging on to trees / branches) andgrowing them in soil is not a good idea.
      But, again I would recommend that you should first try to find out what type of orchids you have.

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  32. Hi, I planted 4 dendrobium orchid plants in the southern facing window of my house. The plants are getting sunlight from 3.15 pm to 5 pm in the afternoon. Rest of the time, there is sufficient light but that is not sunlight. Will my orchids bloom with these conditions?? Please note I am from Odisha, and when i did buy the orchids they already got their first bloom because I noticed the dry spikes inside them. Please help.

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    Replies
    1. Deepak, 2 hours of sunlight seems like too little for Dendrobiums, but you said there is enough light at other times? Why dont you wait and see?
      You could also try moving them to the east-facing side if it is clear of obstructions like tall trees or buildings to block the light.

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