The Orchid Tag ‘Game’ — Dustin 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. I wasn’t tagged, but I saw it in Roger Frampton’s video and figured it would be fun to do. Maybe I’ll film it one day — then you don’t have to read it.

Orchid Tag Questions :

What part of the world are you growing your orchids in?
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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 got my first orchid probably around 2009. It was a white phal that was a “rescue”. At the time I was growing about 10 different Nepenthes in a pop-up greenhouse in my parent’s house. I got the orchid for like $5 because it was nearly dead. It turns out it grew better than the nepenthes…grew faster rather…it ended up dying after it bloomed.

2. What first got you into the orchid growing hobby?
Started with reptiles, then terrariums, then nepenthes, and as stated above — Orchids…the did well initially so I got a lot of them very quickly.

3. What kind of growing space do you have (windowsills, grow room, greenhouse, outside etc.)?

4. How many different ‘types’ (genera) of orchids do you grow and what are they?
As of today, Oct 18, 2017: 27 phals, 16 cattleyas (or hybrids therein), 11 paphs, 4 dends, 4 miltoniopsis, 4 phrags, 3 lepanthes, 3 oncidiinae alliance, and then one of each: bulbophyllum, diodonopsis, cymbidium, epidendrum, ludisia, pleurothallis, psychopsiella, trichocentrum.

If you’re wondering that means my collection is broken down by:
– 30% phals
– 18% catts
– 12.5% paphs
– 5.5% Catasetinae
– 4.5% dend
– 4.5% milt
– 4.5% vanda — but I suspect that will drop as 2 are NOT doing well
– 3.4% oncid
– 12.4% miscellaneous others

5. Do you actually know how many orchids you have? (roughly)
89 species or hybrids — a few doubles of them if I’ve divided.

6. What would be the one thing that you could say was your top orchid gripe (peeve)?
People telling me high pH and hard water will kill orchids — it’s bullshit. My plants do very well with tap water (which has a TDS of 180-250ppm w/ lots of calcium).

7. What are your favourite places to buy orchids? (and least favourite)
Favourite: orchid shows (it’s exhilarating…which is dumb, and also kind of embarrassing)
Least-Favourite: big-box retail outlets (Garden Centers, Grocery Stores, Walmart, etc)…they’re never ID’d and I always feel like it’s a waste of my money when I could put that toward something I really want.

8. What is the worst orchid advice you’ve ever been given? (and did you take that advice)
Not to use tap water and to not get water on the leaves — yes, I followed the instructions. I used to use distilled water in semi-hydro (for about 2 years)…I was always fearful of tap water and watered only around the roots. Today, I water the crap out of my plants — I soak the whole thing, top, bottom, sides, roots, leaves — GET IT WET!!

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)

  1. Phal CTL Vio Sapphire — smells like sunscreen and is stunning
  2. Phal Princess Kaiulani ‘Chin Yo’ — I love the colours and I paid $75 to get a clone.
  3. Cattleya Zip — it’s my oldest orchid and it’s absolutely stunning
  4. Phrag Pink Panther — I got it this summer and it had 3 growths…It now has 6. Thrilled with this one.
  5. Vanda tessellata — my first Vanda that’s ever done well. It hasn’t bloomed yet, but it’s happy as a clam.


10. Have you got an orchid related story (funny, interesting, sad)
I lost my entire orchid collection because I failed to close the door properly before I left to go to class one day in the dead of winter. It was -35 celcius out, the door blew open, and I lost about 3/4 of my collection which was at the other end of the house. I got out of orchids for a while after that.

11. What advice would you give someone about to start growing orchids and building up a collection? 
Research care a lot at the start and try things that appeal to you. If you don’t like the idea of packing bottles of water to your house, try using tap water on one of your plants. If you don’t like moss, or bark, try semi hydro. I’ve literally seen people successfully grow phals in peatmoss (not sphagnum moss) and perilte. Do what works for you, but be smart, and look out for signs of distress on your plants.

I’ve got to tag two people…but I’ll get back to that later.