The Orchid Tag ‘Game’ – Nestor A Social "Get to know" Q+A

In Orchids
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What is it? A bunch of orchid specific questions blogger/vloggers answer and pass on to other viewers.

Nestor – Orchid Tag Q+A:

What part of the world are you growing your orchids in?
Palomares del Rio, near Seville, South Spain

1. How long have you been growing orchids and can you remember which was your very first orchid? Plus, have you still got it?
I’ve been growing orchids since exactly 4th of July, 2016. That day I bought my first 2 noIDs. One of them the image below, the other was your run of the mill pastel pink with some veining. I gifted them away to a friend that wanted to try orchids because I kind of fall out of love with noID phals for the most part.

2. What first got you into the orchid growing hobby?
I had always been attracted to noID phals (the only orchids you see around in my country), but they died for everybody and I was convinced that our climate just wasn’t suitable for the plants, either too cold in winter or too hot and dry in the summer. But on that year I got a summer job in the Balearic Islands, that have a rather subtropical climate in winter (high humidity, max temps 30C), and I decided that was the perfect climate to try orchids. Then I actually found out about all the different types, and what REALLY hooked me in was fragrance. When I experienced an orchid fragrance for the first time I was enchanted by its complexity, and upon research I found that they have scents you can’t find in any other plant in the planet.

3. What kind of growing space do you have (windowsills, grow room, greenhouse, outside etc.)?
“Windowsill”. Spain doesn’t have inside windowsills, they are towards the outside, so I grow on my pc table and a shelf above it, which means my grow space is quite limited.

4. How many different ‘types’ (genera) of orchids do you grow and what are they?
As of today, Oct 20, 2017: I have 13 Phalaenopsis (my fav genus), 5 Catasetinae (2 cycd, 1 fdk, 1 monn, 1 ctsm), 3 Oncidinae, 1 Trichoglottis, 1 Cattleychea, 1 Prostechea, 1 Angraecum, 1 Huntleya, 1 Neofinetia, 1 Brassavola, for a total of 10 different types.

5. Do you actually know how many orchids you have? (roughly)
I have 28 orchids, although 2 were mysteriously sulking and have been banished to the living room as a quarantine. My mother “has” a couple more in the living room (“has” as in I take care of them, but don’t pamper them nearly as much as mine).

6. What would be the one thing that you could say was your top orchid gripe (peeve)?
Not living in a place that has orchid societies, shows or any activity orchid related. When I don’t want an orchid I can’t trade or go to the orchid society and look for a deal or whatever.
This also means I can’t get any orchid supplies (bark, sphagnum, pots, fertilizer, treatments….) in person, and I always need to order beforehand when I do hauls or use stuff like amazon.

7. What are your favourite places to buy orchids? (and least favourite)
I assume my favourite place would be an orchid show if I could go to one. If I don’t take that option into account my favourite are the internet, on some trusted German nurseries. I have the utmost luck of having people willing to pick orchids personally now, so it feels a lot better, tho I still get some orchids without that kind of service.

My least favourite is supermarkets and garden centers. I feel like everything is diseased (everything I got from a source like that has died in mysterious circumstances), or in a bad shape, so it’s a bit like wasting money. Plus sometimes they might have pests, since those places aren’t as careful as serious nurseries. Don’t want a pot full of mealies thank you.

8. What is the worst orchid advice you’ve ever been given? (and did you take that advice)
It’s hard to say. I think I have a good judgement when it comes to that, so I try to surround myself with people that give 95% good advice (we are all human after all).
To me the worst advices are those that immediately tell you to use chemicals that are toxic, expensive and that I can’t find here, and some even in EU whenever a slight problem arises. Not because it’s a bad advice per se, but because it does nothing for me. Also those water culture junkies.

9. Out of the orchids you own, which are your five favorite orchids? (try and include the actual orchid in your vid if you can or pics of the blooms)
It’s very hard to make a ranking. I have been growing for not so long, so at this moment most of what I have never bloomed for me (my crown jewels among others). Potentially there are plants I hope I will love, but I will take into account only plants that I have seen in bloom. A list in a not too particular order.

  1. Phalaenopsis bellina “Ponkan” x “Blue”: mine isn’t super fragrant but it has an incredible shape, a deeper magenta from the blue parent that looks indigo at night with artificial light, and it’s both my first phal species and among the most vigorous I have.
  2. Cycnodes Wine Delight “JEM” FCC/AOS: what to say about this all time famous hybrid. I got into catasetinae (probably my second favourite genus) because of this plant. It’s super duper vigorous compared to my other cycd, it recently bloomed for me for the first time and in this case the scent is what everyone promises you. It has the strongest fragrance I have ever experienced, orchid or not. 
  3. Phalaenopsis Brother Sara Gold: Got it as a noID at a garden center. I like about this plant that it has an usual bloom shape for a complex hybrid (a bit like a vanda), and it has an amazing persian silk tree scent (by coincidence I sniffed a bloom from the tree and it smelled identical to the orchid). All of this in an flower with rather unusual colours for a phalaenopsis (lip is amazing). 
  4. Phalaenopsis Sweet Memory: A very famous cross. To be honest I’m not so fond of the blooms (soft pink or soft yellow aren’t really my colours and I kinda hate them together), but they are quite big, and have this amazing scent that can be felt from a distance. I remember smelling the scent from up to 1m away, and it also carried by the breeze. The flowers open hot pink, and fade into soft pink and yellow. Cameras seem to have trouble capturing this yellow, so always imagine the pics a bit yellower 🙂 
  5. Phalaenopsis equestris var coerulea: One of my latest acquisitions. I wasn’t too convinced when I purchased it, but when I unpacked it I immediately fall in love. It has that perfect size to be very small cute and compact, without being mini or feeling too small. It’s the first forma coerulea that I see in person, and it made my already obsession with this colour even greater. 


10. Have you got an orchid related story (funny, interesting, sad)
I don’t know if it counts but I had to leave my flat in Majorca (Balearic Islands) and due to some kind of traumatic events I was in very very bad terms with the flat owner, that had decided to stay at the flat just because. So I had to smuggle out the orchids and send them to my current address, no way I was leaving my newfound babies behind.

11. What advice would you give someone about to start growing orchids and building up a collection? 

I would say first get the basics down and try to get forgiving plants that can bounce back from mistakes. During this time, find your media and way of growing orchids of preference. Some require you to invest a lot more time and resources than others. The same with different orchids. You might like a lot a flower, but might not be willing to do what it takes to make that plant bloom in your environment. From this point, you can try new stuff you know, or at least firmly believe will grow nicely in your conditions. This way you save yourself from inevitable failures, and from those that would have been if you knew more at the time.

My personal advice would be, once you get a bit the knack for it, go for sequential bloomers and orchids that really look a lot lot better when they have more blooms on first. This way those will grow in your care and you will have better looking plants.

An example: Phal bellina or Brassavola cucullata really gain a lot with multiple spikes at once, and grow not so fast.
Prostechea radiata on the other hand is a very very vigorous plant that can become big enough to have several spikes at once in like a year.