Bunny Island Key West

Potting Orchids from Redlands

I have been looking for the Renantheres since last year when I spotted on in full bloom. It was red, and I mean blood red and gorgeous. It also cost $300 so I passed, hoping that it would come down in price.  I didn’t see any there this year except for a teeny one which I purchased and potted. This year I was modest and bought only seven plants, two of them large and lush, and five small and unpotted.

Here are the two irresistible large orchids I bought. The first is a pure sherbet orange Cattleya. I am lucky with Cattleyas, so I have quite a few. I picked this guy up and put him back a few times, but in the end I was unable to walk away. He is Blc Tangerine Horses x Blc Caroline Golden D’or

I circled this character for a bit but have nothing remotely resembling him, so, smitten, I gave myself over to the adulation that is his due. He is a vanda d ensoniana x vasco Five Friendship Pretty.

This morning when I got up to walk the cat, I was bowled over by heavily perfumed air. It smelled like a cross between jasmine and frangipani, but I couldn’t figure out where it came from. Finally after sniffing everything that bloomed, I zeroed in on this guy. Sure enough, he was surrounded by a halo of fragrance.

I have had the five small orchids in a paper shopping bag since Friday, and began to fear for their health so I headed to the Marc House and lucky for me I ran into Rochelle who advised me on how best to treat them. Here she is in her natural habitat at the Marc House by the phaleonopsis.

My bag of orchids from Redlands.

Supplies: Coconut fiber, spaghnum moss, Superthrive, wooden baskets, fertilizer pouches.

First I fill a plastic bin with about six inches of water.

Soak the spaghnum moss.

Once soaked, I put it in another bowl, and add Superthrive to the water. The first one’s in and here are the other four, neat and tidy in their plastic raincoats.

Look how beautifully bundled this guy is – in his coconut fibers.

l like to remove the moss to see the condition of the roots. This guy looks great.

But nobody’s perfect so I cut off the dead roots.

I make sure I mark the name carefully. I don’t want to turn my orchids into orphans!

Here all five of them soaking in supercharged, Superthrive water for a good 20 minutes to half an hour.

Next I take a clump of coconut fiber . . .

Place it in the bottom of the basket.

Add spaghnum moss.

And secure the little guy to the basket making sure his roots are free and that nothing is even close to cutting into him. Eventually his roots will grasp the sides anchoring him in his woody home, and I can remove the wire.

I love these fertilizer pouches – 4 for $10 – available at the Marc House. They take the guesswork out of fertilizing.

After I attach the hanger, I twist one of the fertilizer pouches to the wire and when watered it will deliver the perfect dose of fertilizer to the roots –  a great system.

Here they are, my five perfect additions.

Welcome to Bunny Island!



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