Written by Tolly Beck
Tolly Beck is the horticulturist at Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Westchester County. She was formerly a horticulture educator for New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland, NY.
What’s in Bloom at Lasdon
Week of April 22nd
Bradford Callery Pear Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’
Corneliancherry Dogwood Cornus mas
Flowering Cherry Prunus spp.
Korean Azalea Rhododendron var. Poukhanense
Star Magnolia Magnolia stellata
Saucer Magnolia Magnolia x soulangeana spp.
Spike Winter Hazel Corylopsis spicata
Border Forsythia Forsythia spp.
Japanese Andromeda Pieris japonica
Flowering Quince Chaenomeles spp.
PJM Rhododendron Rhododendron ‘P. J. M.’
Lenten Rose Helleborous orientalis
Orchids were long considered to be both expensive and fussy. A trip in February through the floral department of any grocery or big box store soon puts this idea to rest. Orchids have gone mainstream and are often included in personal houseplant collections.
Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) are especially popular as houseplants because of their ease in adapting to home environments. They grow best if located in a south or east facing window, similar to the light preferred for African Violets. February and March are the normal bloom time for the moth orchids. Their basal leaves (located at the base of the plant) are a healthy green. Coming out of the basal leaves is a flower spike filled with buds and open blooms. Flowers on a moth orchid may last from 1- 4 weeks. Water orchids weekly and provide them with a balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer.
After enjoying all the flowers that have opened on the flower spike, moth orchid growers often attempt to get a second spike of buds to appear. Among the most commonly sold orchids, the moth orchid is the only one to rebloom on the old flower spike. To encourage another flower spike to form, find the node on the old spike that is beneath the lowest flower that bloomed. A node below the last flower is a swelling on the spike that has a small bud. Trim the spike off about one inch above this node. It may send out another spike with additional buds and flowers.
Many of the orchids in the Conservatory’s Rainforest exhibit are in flower once again and others are being added to the display. Come and enjoy the beauty of these orchids on your next visit to the Conservatory.