All posts by SonomaOrchids

AOS News – February 2017

ORCHID DIGEST Vol. 81-1 Jan, Feb, March 2017

The Role of Color in Orchids pg 30
by Carol Siegel, President of the Greater Las Vegas Orchid Society

An easy-to-read scientific article about color through the eye of the insects pollinating our favorite flower. It forces you to consider an orchid’s appeal through a different lens. Become one with a wasp, moth or fly and understand how color triggers them to eat, mate and lay eggs. Twilight Zone material!
Insects often see light spectrums that are invisible to the human eye, such as UV and Infrared light. Enhanced by their compound (faceted) eye structures, they interpret light differently from us, and it begs the question? how does orchid color make an insect tick?
This article abounds with examples of how color influences insect behaviors. Such as: white or cream colored orchids reflect light at dusk and in the evening thus attracting moths. It also discusses how the one third of nectar-lacking orchids deceive insects into the daily rituals that pollinize them. In brief, studies have found that orchids lacking nectar may be the keystone to “greater evolutionary fitness”. The insect is drawn in to eat; once realizing its follies and disappointed, it leaves immediately, flying further away. It is then attracted to other orchids, thereby increasing the natural genetic diversity of the area.
Read this article (order or check out the library copy) to better understand the electromagnetic spectrum, how insects interpret color and to learn what Batesian, generalized and guild mimicry means. Super fascinating and makes for great dinner conversation!

AOS WEBINAR #1 – The Dunes and t he Mist : Sanct uary and Ledges: Orchids of Sout hern Brazil
Thursday, February 9, 2017 @5:30 PM – 6:30 PM PST
Members Only – Webinar Details PageRegistration Page

Join Nile Dusdieker as he chronicles a tour through Southern Brazil
looking for orchids, with Francisco Miranda and 8 of his closest
orchid friends.

AOS WEBINAR #2 – Greenhouse Chat with Ron McHatton
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 @5:30 PM – 6:30 PM PST
Members & Non-Members Invited – Webinar Details PageRegistration Page

Please join Ron McHatton, American Orchid Society Director of Education, for a Q&A session on how to grow and care for your orchids. If you have a question, please submit your questions by Sunday, January 8th to

–  Krystal Goulart (VP & AOS Rep)

AOS News – September 2015

Are You A Mover & A Shaker?

If you love orchids you are. This fall you have an opportunity to “bring the party with you” when you attend the National semi-annual meeting of the American Orchid Society. It’s in Reno, NV this time, and we need to fire that place up. Remember, what happens in Reno stays in Reno….or was that Vegas? Oh well. The thing is, the next meeting will be in NORTH CAROLINA. How are you going to bring the party with you all the way across the country? All that party equipment will cost a fortune in extra luggage charges, not to mention how hard it will be to bring back all those orchids you buy at the meeting and show.

The Northern Nevada Orchid Society is going to host this fall’s meeting in Reno, November 11 – 15th. The way this works is, the AOS administration gets to attend (boring) policy meetings while the rest of us party animals gawk at orchids, covet them and sometimes bring them home! Also, there are speakers who know what they are talking about and will give lectures (9 currently scheduled) that you can attend for nearly FREE.* These classes, of course, make you aware of orchids you might have missed during your first ‘covet’ walk-through at the show and sale portion of the event so you can go back and buy more.

If you get to the point where you’ve had enough orchids in your life (::snort::) you can always leave the meeting area to see some of the boring local attractions, casinos, nurseries or botanical gardens etc…..yawn.

You have 3 options to choose from, regarding attendance. The first and best one is the full boat for a mere $95 ($100 after 10-10-2015). This includes all lectures, three days of show and sale, the Thursday night Preview Party (a $40 value which INCLUDES Hors D’oeuvres) and…….wait for it….. a welcome gift. That’s only $55 for the show and classes folks. $6 a lecture. No problem. You know you spent more than $6 on the last orchid you killed.

Less exciting options include the one day option for $35. You still get the show, sale and one day’s worth of lectures; but that would cost approximately $7.77 per lecture. You can also attend the show and sale only, for $5 a day.

To register or get more info about this event, go to and click on ‘fall members meeting’. There is a special hotel rate of $99 a night for Orchid Movers and Shakers (OMS) at the event location, the Atlantis Casino & Resort, 3800 S. Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada 89502. The resort fee has been waived for the OMS group (good until 10-10-2015.)

Now, for the special add-on part of our show. Some of us are taking the train, the lovely California Zephyr, from Martinez to Reno. How fun is that? If you’d like to join us, get your tickets for the train departing Martinez at 9:45 AM on Thursday, November 12, 2015. The trip will be 6 hours of lovely scenery and no driving stress. Our return is scheduled for Monday, November 16 at 8:36 AM.

See you there!

Don’t forget to check out the AOS awards on the Judging Center website, which have been updated with its region’s awards, as well as the San Joaquin, Modesto and Sacramento shows. Go to

Here are the latest 30 orchid awards including the exhibitor and photographer (where available). Free on the AOS website:

–  Karen Wofford (AOS Rep)

AOS News July 2015

Orchid Tips & Tricks

I’ll just bet most of you didn’t know about the tips page buried in the American Orchid Society magazine. I found this one recently and decided to give it a try.

You know those yucky hard water spots you get on your leaves? The last thing you want is your orchid friends to visit and see your shame. Well, you could use one of the many leaf shine products to get rid of these spots; you know, those products that contain waxes derived from petroleum in a hydrocarbon propellant? Forget that! How about a more natural leaf shine that won’t harm you, your plants, your dog or your environment?

Try this: A tablespoon of whole milk in a quart of water. Use a soft cloth dipped in this mixture to gently wipe the leaves of your plant. The fatty acids in the milk dissolve the calcium in hard water deposits leaving the leaves with a soft, natural sheen.

So I tried this, and guess what? It worked! Now I just have to wipe the other 954 leaves in my orchid collection and I’ll be ready for an open greenhouse. Remember, to avoid the spread of virus, use a separate cloth for each plant.

Here’s another cool idea (no pun intended). When temperatures rise above 80 F in the spring, teeny tiny red spider mites living unobtrusively in your orchids may decide to “get it on” more than usual. In addition, their babies grow really fast and then THEY begin to get it on. As they say, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Anyway, when this happens, your orchid collection can become INFESTED in a few DAYS. Yuck. Leaves may show up pitted or drop early. You might even lose plants. Here’s an easy test to see if you have some of these buggers.

Wipe the underside of the leaves with a white tissue or paper towel. If it comes out red or rusty, you’ve got some mites. You can also tap a leaf over a white piece of paper to see if “any of the dislodged particles move”. I don’t know about you, but my scalp is crawling right about now.

So your paper towel shows up red. What to do. Mix 1 pint 409 cleaner with 1 pint rubbing alcohol (don’t use the good stuff, that’s for drinking after you realize you’ve got mites) and add enough water to make 1 gallon total. Put this in a spray bottle and hit those suckers with a heavy spray, especially under the leaves, every three or four days for a month.You can use this as a preventative also.

That’s enough ick factor for this month. See you in August!

Don’t forget to check out the AOS awards on the Judging Center website, which have been updated with its region’s awards, as well as the San Joaquin, Modesto and Sacramento shows. Go to

–  Karen Wofford (AOS Rep)