Featuring divisions and spare plants from my personal and commercial collection.
Many "one of a kind" special selections for the sophisticated collector!
This page last updated August 2, 2020
Coelogyne cristata 'Sunny Side Up' - divisions
This clone has repeatedly bloomed 2 times per year for a friend of mine!
Small BS divisions - $20.00
Miltonia morelliana 'Royalty' AM/AOS
Divisions of this SPECTACULAR, deep-coloured clone of this warm growing Miltonia species. Grows vigorously. Blooms easily every August/September. BS divisions in 4" pot......$25.00
Disa Orchids Available
in the fall.
Large seedlings in 4 1/2" pot..............$30.00
Small BS plants in 4 1/2" pot............$40.00
Large BS plants in 4 1/2" pot.................$50.00
Large, mature and/or multi-growth plant......$60.00
Shades of red, orange, yellow and pink. These are seed grown plants; so, some variability is to be expected.
Their needs are quite simple and easy to understand. The thing is that they won't compromise. So, if you get busy and don't do things right, they do go downhill fast. Yet, what they need is really quite easy to provide; you just need to actually do it, consistently.
A lot of people have trouble with Disas because they are good, attentive growers for most of the year....then, they get busy with "life" for awhile and the plants suffer. They end up concluding that Disas are hard to grow; but, that's not a fair assessment. Disas are easy to grow if you learn what they need and provide that, consistently. Just like you need to breathe consistently, without even short interruptions,...so does a Disa have needs that cannot be compromised. If you have a dog or cat. You know it needs food and water every day and you don't question that or consider the act of providing those things a burden. You don't make your pet go without food or water for a few days because you're busy. Well, a Disa has needs that must be met in a timely way, too, if it is going to thrive. It needs enough water. You don't even have to water it every day....you can stand it in a large tray with a 1/2 to 1 centimeter deep puddle of water in it and your Disa will need to be checked only every 2nd, 3rd, or 4th day, depending on the time of year and the environmental factors that would make water evaporate at different rates of speed. However, if it dries out in.....say.....2 days, don't wait until day 3 to check on it. The BIG thing is that the potting mix must not dry out - EVER - not once, not even a little bit, or for just a short time. Even a Disa growing in a pot that contains slightly damp medium can wilt if the temperature is warm and the light is bright. The potting medium in such a situation is not wet enough. Once a Disa wilts; the leaves will be damaged and the tips, or even some whole, entire leaves, will die. If the core of the leaf rosette does not die, the plant can come back. However, while it's doing that, it must not be allowed to dry out again. That would be adding stress on top of stress and odds are, that would be a big problem. Just never forget, or lose grasp of the importance of keeping a Disa wet. For long-term success, you must never forget to water your Disas, not ever.
Here are a few more pointers:
Medium to high light, every day. They do very well under artificial lights....there are NO cloudy days! If they are grown in a greenhouse or on a windowsill, they need supplemental light on the cloudy, dull days from October through to the end of February. Full sun in winter is a must. If they don't get that, they need artificial light as well. I grow plants in the basement and they do GREAT in the winter. Plants in the greenhouse with no supplemental light are "touchy" and they easily develop rot issues. They must have enough light intensity to keep them actively growing, even if it's just slowly. They seem to have only 2 speeds, "grow" and "die". Even if the days are short, if the light is bright, the Disas keep growing and they do very well. If the days are quite dull, Disas will stop growing and easily reverse and go into decline. These Disas do not have "dormancy", or "stall" as an option. Disas love the coolness of my basement and the bright, artificial lights every day....with no dull, cloudy days. Disas NEED light! Bright light in winter is vital for their health. Even though the days are short, if the light is bright, they're happy. Also, very bright light intensifies the flower colour. Low light while they grow buds and flowers produces dull flowers.
Cool to not too hot. If you feel hot, so does the plant. Ideally, temps below 25*C in the day and down to at least 15*C at night is good. Short periods (2 or 3 days in a row), at 26*C to 30*C will be tolerated; but, not appreciated. Of course, Disas can take temps right down to freezing without any harm at all. They do FAR better in a cool basement than they do in a hot greenhouse, or on a sunny, warm windowsill. Under lights in a basement allows all the environmental factors to be controlled and kept consistent. A windowsill or greenhouse can suddenly become too hot, or too bright; causing high stress and potential problems. Here is a photo of some very happy community pots, grown under lights in my basement.
Also remember that Disas in spike and bloom, really must not get hot. When I Disa flowers, it is also prepping to die. This is natural. The flowering plant dies after blooming. However, it should have produced a tuber which has new growth, or it might have produced new basal growths, or even stolons with baby plants at the tips. All these methods of vegetative reproduction means your plant will continue growing on into future years. However, when a Disa is in spike, or in bloom and it's too hot, the schedule gets sped up and the plant can crash (dead roots and yellowing leaves), before blooming has ran it's full course (about 6 to 8 weeks). It's disappointing to have a stem of 6 Disa buds and only get to enjoy one or two of those as open flowers because the plant was too warm and the supporting root system and rosette of leaves died and turned brown before the flowers had a chance to open, or to last their full life. So, try hard to provide comfortable, cool temperatures, especially when plants are in spike or bloom. Growing in a clay pot which is standing in a shallow puddle with a small fan directed at the plant AND pot is a GREAT way to cool the plant and most importantly, the roots, by causing a cooling effect as the moisture evaporates from the sides of the clay pot. When the clay is cool to the touch, so is the potting mix and the roots inside = happy plant!
Never, ever allow a Disa to go dry!!!!!!!!! With most orchids, a good rule of thumb in regard to watering is: "when in doubt, wait a day". With a Disa, the rule of thumb is: "when in doubt, water anyway". If you look at a Disa and it looks wet, it's okay. If you look and it looks very damp; but, you're not sure if you should water or wait, that doubt you have is the key to helping you decide what to do. If in doubt, go ahead and water NOW. Disas can stand in a very shallow puddle of water to help them stay wet longer. Just don't make it too deep. 1 to 2 cm (maximum), is good for 5" pots and larger. Use 1/2 to 1 cm deep puddles for 4 1/2" pots and smaller. I usually just water often and do not stand my plants in a puddle; but then, come hell or high water...and in sickness and in health, I must water my Disas when they need it and not a minute later.
Use pure water. Best is rain water. Next best is R.O., or distilled water. Next best is municipal tap water if it's source is naturally soft and mostly free of dissolved minerals. Municipal water that comes from a river that is fed by glacier melt is good. Water that comes from a well in the ground can be high in minerals, or it can be quite pure and soft. You need to check this. Water from the Great Lakes and many other lakes is often okay; but, you need to check. If collecting rain water is difficult and you often don't have enough, go ahead and use municipal water to flush the pots and thoroughly soak the potting mix. Then, rinse the municipal water residue out with a small amount of rain water. This allows you to water enough and keep minerals and fertilizer moving out of the pot with regular flushing out; but, when you're done, the plant ends up with nice, naturally soft rainwater residue around the roots.
Feed at every 2nd or 3rd watering. Use pure water in-between to spray the foliage and water through the pot. When it comes time to feed, use the fertilizer at 1/4 strength of what would be recommended for outdoor ornamentals like Roses. You can generously spray the foliage (like I do), with the fertilizer solution. Or, you can water through the pot, from the top. Or, if you grow your plants standing in a puddle, you can replace the puddle water with fertilizer solution for a day. Then, dump it and replace with pure water again.
When you make up a fertilizer solution, remember that the pure water has nothing in it. So, you must also be sure that you are adding the macro nutrients (Calcium, Magnesium and Sulfur), as well as the 3 major nutrients and the 6 micro nutrients that all plants need. In my case, I use rain water or R.O. water. I make the R.O. water from my well water (which contains a LOT of minerals like calcium). So, when I make up a fertilizer solution, I add 10% raw well water into my R.O. or rain water. This adds in a small amount of calcium to the fertilizer solution. Then I add the appropriate amount of fertilizer to be 1/4 strength. I use Miracle grow 24-8-16 most of the time and 10-52-10 now and then.....especially a few times in the late summer/early fall to help encourage tuber formation. With both of those, the amount I add is 1 ml per litre of water. I also add Epsom salts (1 ml per litre) to provide the needed magnesium and sulfur during the high-light time of year (March through to mid October).
The trick with Disas is that after you have fed them, they MUST then get pure water the next time you water them. The pure water is easily absorbed by Disas, keeping them well hydrated and turgid. The fertilizer solution is less able to be absorbed; but, enough is absorbed to feed them properly. But, once they've been fed, they MUST have pure water again to ensure that they remain properly hydrated. If you feed all the time, even with very low doses, the plants will be poisoned by the fertilizer salts and they will eventually wilt and go soft and become very prone to rot due to extreme stress.
Also, do not feed during hot weather. Daytime temperatures near 30*C are stressful enough as the plants will be struggling to stay hydrated because of the rapid loss of moisture from the heat and increased air movement that you'll give them because of the heat. Feeding at times of high heat just makes it harder for the plants to absorb the necessary amount of water they need to remain turgid. Feed again when temps come back down to near 25*C, or lower.
Feed all year 'round as long as there is good light intensity. If you don't supplement the light in the winter, that is a problem for the plants; but, it also means they will need very little fertilizer because they are not growing as a result of not getting enough light.
Disas love lots of air 24/7! It helps cool the foliage and if they're in a clay pot, it helps to cool the roots inside the pot. However, it does speed up drying; so, watch that and don't let them go dry at the roots.
Disas don't seem to need high humidity....just average seems fine. However, they will grow well in high humidity; but, when they bloom, if humidity is too high, the pollen in the flowers will go moldy, which ruins the flowers. So, less humidity is better and if that's not possible, at least give the flowers a lot of air from a fan.
I use 4 1/2" to 5" pots for mature plants. I have used a variety of mixes; but, one thing was common, the mixes I used for my Disas all contained peat moss. Disas like acid conditions.
If using a clay pot, put a small piece of mesh or a 2" net pot (cut down in size), over the single drain hole to stop the potting mix from clogging the hole and/or escaping the pot.
I used the following potting method. It contains the following ingredients: Peat Moss, Small Grade Coconut Husk Chips and regular Coarse Grade Horticultural Perlite, available at any Garden Centre. I pot the Disas using a mix of 1/2 coconut husk chips and 1/2 perlite (with the dust filtered out). In many cases, over half of the bag is dust and very fine, sand-like particles. These need to be filtered out, leaving behind only the largest pieces. I use a 24" square, wooden frame (made with 1" x 6" cedar boards), with 1/8" mesh, steel window screen attached on one side. I put the perlite from the bag into the box and vibrate it, allowing the dust to fall through the bottom screen, which separates the larger pieces of perlite from the dust. The dust you get can be mixed in with garden soil to improve conditions for your garden plants. After you've filtered the perlite, combine with an equal part of Coconut Husk Chips, moisten it and mix gently. This mix holds water well; but, it also allows lots of air to reach the roots deep inside the pot. The firm chunky shape of the coconut husk chips and the larger pieces of perlite, with the dust filtered out, allows for lots of air to penetrate the mix, even though it is quite wet at the same time. I top-dress the top with a 1/2 cm layer of 1/2 peat moss and 1/2 perlite. When you water from the top, the water passes through the peat/perlite mix and the acidity is carried down through the lower volume of Coconut Husk Chips and perlite. So, all the potting mix ends up being acidic; but, more air gets to the roots deep in the pot. When you mix peat moss all through the mix, the whole pot is filled with a much more dense mix and it contains much less air. Sometimes this can lead to rotting problems. So, I like to put the peat only in the top 1/2 cm layer, mixed with perlite. Edit: Lately, because my water is always slightly acidic and perlite and Coconut Husk Chips are both about neutral, I have stopped using any peat moss at all and the Disa roots look great! Not adding any peat does allow the pot to drain faster when watering and it allows more air to reach the roots. It also causes the pots to dry out faster, so, standing in a shallow puddle is a very good idea to prevent accidental over-drying.
When watering, you must be careful to use a coarse spray from high above, or a very soft, gentle rain from a water breaker. It is VITAL that the potting mix is not watered so fast that the water cannot drain faster than it is being added and therefore, it begins to flood the pot and the potting mix begins to "well up" and float. When this happens, all the ingredients begin to separate and the perlite floats to the top, with the Coconut husk chips and peatmoss (if you use it), sinking to the bottom. This means that there is too much air in the top layers (roots dry out) and too little air in the lower layers (roots suffocate). It is important to not water so vigorously that the mix begins to float. Be patient with watering and do it slowly and gently. Although, when watering a Disa, it is a good idea to pass a large volume of water through the pot because that helps wash out any fertilizer salts residue that may be left over from feeding day....just be gentle.
Something to keep in mind is that once the flower buds appear and until blooming is finished, as mentioned above, be sure to protect the plant from heat; but, also stop fertilizing altogether (or switch to a high phosphorous, low nitrogen feed only, such as 10-52-10). The low level, or lack of nitrogen helps to encourage tuber formation, which you want because once blooming is finished, the main rosette of leaves that just bloomed will die back. You want there to be new, replacement growths showing up by then. Heat at the time of blooming (temps at 25*C or higher in the day and/or warm nights), speeds up the death of the blooming plant. Cool(ish), nights is important during blooming to allow the blooming cycle to last and to allow the plant to begin growing the new, replacement growths. So, it is important to not heat stress the plant during blooming. Non-blooming plants are much more tolerant of warm days and nights than blooming ones.
However, prior to seeing the flower spike emerging from the centre of the rosette of leaves, always use a high nitrogen feed such as MiracleGrow 24-8-16 to encourage lush, deep green foliage and large, robust plants that will be strong and ultimately produce sturdy stems of many flowers. Also, this recommended fertilizer contains urea nitrogen, which is readily absorbed directly through the leaves. So, when feeding, always spray the leaves with the fertilizer solution.
Happy Disa growing!!!