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Orchid Culture

Course CodeBHT232
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

ORCHID CULTURE ONLINE STUDY

Get the broad picture of what orchids are all about and learn how to improve your results and grow flowers which will be the envy of all who see them. Study many of the major orchid genera in depth including Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Cattleya, Vanda and others.Orchids are a popular hobby plant often providing a challenging occupation, but the unusual flowers reward your effort well. The number of orchid species is incredible (there are some 30,000 species, at least 100,000 hybrids and apparently many more not yet named).
Get involved with this life long passion

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Introduction to Orchid Species
    • Plant Names and the System for Naming Orchids
    • Orchid sub families and tribes
    • Plant Name Pronunciation
    • Orchid Plant structure.
    • Resources
    • Terminology
  2. Culture
    • Overview of Growing Orchids
    • Guidelines; temperature, light, humidity, ventilation, watering, feeding, potting mixes
    • Growing Cattleyas
    • Substrates for Geophytes and Epiphytes
    • Understanding Soils; texture, pH, nutrient availability, fertility,
    • Mycorrhyza and Orchids
    • Propagating and Potting Media
    • Nutrients and Nutrition
    • Plant Health; orchid pests, orchid diseases, other problems
    • Pruning Orchids
    • Watering Orchids
  3. Propagation
    • Sexual vs. asexual propagation
    • Asexual Propagating sympodial Orchids
    • Asexual Propagation of Monopodial Epiphytes
    • Aerial Offset Propagation (Keikis)
    • Propagating Orchids by Seed
    • Hybrid Seed Production
    • Harvesting Orchid Seed
    • Flasking Method of Seed Sowing
    • Tissue (Meristem) Culture of Orchids
    • Propagation Equipment; greenhouses, hotbeds, cold frames, mist systems, furo light boxes, etc
  4. Cymbidiums And Dendrobiums.
    • Cymbidium culture
    • Dendrobium Types -soft cane, hard cane, black haired
    • Dendrobium Culture
    • Dendrobium species
  5. Cattleyas, Vandas And Other Commonly Grown Orchids.
    • Cattleya varieties and culture
    • Vandas; main species and culture
    • Odontoglossum
    • Oncidium -types (climbing and spreading), culture
    • Paphiopedalum (Slipper Orchids)
    • Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchids)
    • Pleione (Indian Crocus)
    • Crucifix Orchids (Epidendrum)
  6. Australian Native Orchids.
    • Endemic, naturalised and indigenous plantsProblem Based Learning Project, with the following Learning Ourtcomes:
    • Determine which species of orchids are most commonly sold in your locality.
    • Determine orchid varieties which are being grown in your locality
    • Determine any orchid genera suited to growing in a warm climate.
  7. Growing Orchids: Commercial and general uses
    • Cut Flower Production
    • Basket Plants
    • Epiphytes
    • Review of Orchid Genera for Cut Flower Production
    • Environmental Requirements for many significant orchid genera
    • Vanilla Bean Culture and Production
    • Greenhouse Management for Orchids
  8. Harvest and Special Project On One Group Of Orchids.
    • Crop Scheduling; Writing a schedule for production of an Orchid Crop
    • Harvest and Post Harvest of Selected Orchid Cut Flowers; bud opening, transport, storing flowers, etc
    • Cattleya, Cymbidium, Dendrobium

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Understand the system of plant classification and naming
  • Gain an insight into the appropriate way to grow a range of different orchid species.
  • Understand common methods of Orchid Propagation
  • Understand the basics of the structure, taxonomy and culture of Cymbidiums and Dendrobiums
  • Learn about some of the more commonly grown orchids apart from Dendrobiums and Cattleyas
  • Learn about orchids native to your locality
  • Understand a range of alternative ways in which to grow orchids
  • Research two commercial orchid growing establishments

AREAS YOU WILL COVER IN THIS COURSE
  • Compile a resource file of organisations and information sources relevant to orchids.
  • Draw and label an orchid flower.
  • Review and detail 56 different orchid species.
  • Test the drainage of soil from two different areas (two different types of soils). 
  • Obtain (or make up) a potting mix which you consider appropriate for growing orchids.
  • Visit a nursery or garden growing orchids. Determine which plants appear healthiest and assess this according to the conditions in which they are growing.
  • Propogate four different orchids vegetatively.
  • Consider the properties of pots that you see for sale in nurseries or other places that sell a wide variety of pots. Assess their suitability for growing orchids in. Note prices of each.
  • Investigate further into tissue culture processes specific to Orchids beyond the notes offered in the course.
  • Dicover which species of orchids are most commonly sold in your area.
  • Carry out research and look through any references you have and determine any orchid genera (not yet covered in this course), which are suited to growing in a tropical or sub-tropical climate.
  • Visit a florist shop and make note of the variety of orchards for sale, and how they are presented and stored
  • Evaluate the cultural practices observed (or investigated) in the different enterprises which you considered in your set task.

GROWING ORCHIDS: AN OVERVIEW, BY JOHN MASON

If you choose the appropriate orchids for your locality, they are very easy plants to grow, often requiring very little attention once established in a suitable position. This doesn't mean they will grow better if neglected, but they will often survive neglect better than many other types of plants. The best way to know how to grow a particular orchid is to look at its natural habitat, and try to recreate similar conditions.

 In cool areas most species will need protection from extreme cold, and in hot climates protection from direct sunlight is essential. For this reason, shade houses and well ventilated greenhouses are frequently used for orchid growing. In cooler climates Cymbidiums, Dendrobiums, Pleonies and some of the Australian native orchids will grow easily. In warmer climates Dendrobiums and Cattleyas are good orchids for the beginner.

There are between 20,000 and 30,000 orchid species known to man, coming from almost every corner of the world (except for very arid desert areas and the artic and antarctic). Many, particularly tropical species, are epiphytic (ie. growing on other plants but not deriving nutrition from those plants), others are lithophytes (ie. grow on rocks which are usually well matted in organic matter), while others, mostly cool climate species, grow in the soil (ie. terrestrial). Some have very small, short lived flowers which easily go unnoticed; while others have large flowers or flower stems which continue to give colour for up to two months.

I think every greenhouse, even if growing vegetables, should have at least one orchid. You don't have to mix special fertilisers. Just use the general fertiliser used for the vegetables. I once grew an orchid over the horizontal cooler pad in a greenhouse with 1200 tomato plants. The orchid got too much sun, was fed the regular nutrient solution for tomatoes and did not get proper air circulation because of its location but it did beautifully. The leaves were a yellowish colour instead of a bright green but the plant grew very well.

There are complete books on orchids for dedicated growers. I will give you some tips on how to get started with no special knowledge and have a lot of fun. 

It was once thought that all orchids came from the tropics and needed heat, humidity and shade. This is not true. Orchids come from all parts of the world and even in the tropics orchids are most often found growing in tree tops where there is constant movement of air and quite a bit or sunshine. Orchid flowers are produced in all colours of the rainbow. White, green and brown are among the most common colours. There are some deep purple colours that look almost black.

If you choose the appropriate orchids for your locality, they are very easy plants to grow, often requiring very little attention once established in a suitable position. This doesn't mean they will grow better if neglected, but they will often survive neglect better than many other types of plants.

The best way to know how to grow a particular orchid is to look at it's natural habitat, and try to recreate similar conditions.

In cool areas most species will need protection from extreme cold, and in hot climates protection from direct sunlight is essential. For this reason, shade houses and well ventilated greenhouses are frequently used for orchid growing.

In cooler climates Cymbidiums, Dendrobiums, Pleonies and some of the Australian native orchids will grow easily. In warmer climates Dendrobiums and Cattleyas are good orchids for the beginner.

 



Meet some of our academics

Marie BeermanMarie has over 7 years in horticulture and education in both Australia and Germany. Marie has been a co author of several ebooks in recent years, including "Roses" and "Climbing Plants". Marie's qualifications include B. Sc., M.Hort. Dip. Bus. Cert. Ldscp.
John Mason Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Yvonne SharpeRHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled widely within and beyond Europe, and has worked in many areas of horticulture from garden centres to horticultural therapy. She has served on industry committees and been actively involved with amateur garden clubs for decades.
Bob JamesHorticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc., Grad.Dip.Mgt, PDC


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