Hobby growers learn all about orchids at San Diego Botanic Garden

Hobby growers learn all about orchids at San Diego Botanic Garden
Speaker Dave Hoffmaster lectures on phalaenopsis orchid care. Hoffmaster said water, light and temperature are key. Photo by Promise Yee

ENCINITAS — Hobby growers packed the Ecke building at San Diego Botanic Garden on Oct. 3 to learn more about orchids. Speakers lectured on phalaenopsis, cymbidium and cattleya orchids.

Sam Beukema, events and education manager at San Diego Botanic Garden, said lectures focused on how to select, grow and care for the most popular variety of orchids.

Phalaenopsis are common potted orchids that bloom year round.

Cymbidium have long-lasting showy flowers.

Cattleya are used in corsages.

“The shades, beauty and uniqueness of orchids are found nowhere else,” Beukema said.

Tips shared by Dave Hoffmaster, of the San Diego Orchid Society, boiled down to three key things — water, light and temperature.

Orchids are on display and for sale at the Orchid Clinic on Oct. 3. The event was free with paid admission to San Diego Botanic Garden. Photo by Promise Yee

Orchids are on display and for sale at the Orchid Clinic on Oct. 3. The event was free with paid admission to San Diego Botanic Garden. Photo by Promise Yee

“Orchids are different than most house plants,” Hoffmaster said. “You need to grow and treat them differently.”

Hoffmaster said the question and answer session following his lecture prompted specific how-to questions from avid gardeners. Hoffmaster said most questions were phrased, “My plant did this —what does it need?”

Patricia Stevens of Oceanside was among those attending the event. She has more than a dozen orchid plants. She said growing them is a hobby she enjoys.

“They’re wonderful to have around,” Stevens said.

The event also featured orchid displays and flowers for sale.

Sabina Ale-Ali, of Dana Point, purchased some orchids to plant at home.

“I like to try new stuff,” Ale-Ali said. “I love flowers.”

Nico Goosens, owner of Lico Orchids and Flowers, finished the day’s lectures with tips on how to trigger flower blooms.

Goosens said he is most often asked why doesn’t an orchid bloom. He said it is important to have insight into how orchids grow in nature.

“You need to create an environment to make them bloom,” Goosens said.

Other speakers included Walt Meier, of the San Diego County Cymbidium Society, and Alex Nadzan, of the Palomar Orchid Society.

The clinic did not include American Orchid Society flower judging, which was part of last year’s Orchid Festival. Beukema said that portion of the event will be moved to the Spring Garden Festival held in March.

The Orchid Clinic was free with paid admission to the garden.

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