December Quick Links
Cultivo de orquídeas en Florida mes por mes
Buy Florida Orchid Growing
Buy Florida Vanda Growing
Buy Orchid Territory
December Orchid Events
Progress of the Season
December in Your Orchid Collection
Exciting News!

You can now get Florida Orchid Growing Month by Month on your Kindle!!

Only $9.99 delivered instantly to your Kindle, Iphone or Ipad.

Click here to order.

You can also now order
Cultivo de orqu�deas en Florida mes por mes!

The Spanish language translation of Dr. Motes's smash hit Florida Orchid Growing is now available for order.

Click here to visit the website and order your copy today. 

Tasks for December

1. Water judiciously and well

2. Protect cold sensitive genera

3. Provide extra potassium and magnesium

4. Repot flowered out plants - be sure they are secure

5. Groom plants and flower spikes for holiday display and the Tamiami Festival.


Florida Orchid GrowingFlorida Orchid Growing Month by Month

What if you could keep your orchid plants healthy and happy (read: blooming!) all year round? Take your orchid growing to the next level with the most comprehensive source on growing orchids in Florida, Florida Orchid Growing Month by Month. Dr. Motes brings over fifty years of experience growing orchids to bear on the problems confronting Florida orchid lovers. A wonderful resource and a great gift for any orchid lover.

Click here to visit our website to buy it.

Regular Price: $20.00 
Our Price: $15.00
S & H: $5.00

Florida Vanda Growing
Florida Vanda Growing Month by Month
Following the runaway success of Florida Orchid Growing Month by Month, Dr. Motes has written a follow up volume that provides even more information about his favorite topics: Vandas! Florida Vanda Growing Month by Month has arrived!

Regular Price: $22.50
Sale Price: $17.50
S & H: $5.00
Orchid Territory
Orchid Territory
The first edition of Orchid Territory, the hilarious romp through an imagined world of orchids very similar to our own, sold out! Luckily, a second edition has arrived.

Click here to visit our website to buy it.

Regular Price: $15.00
Sale Price: $10.00
S & H: $5.00

Motes Orchids will be open from 10AM to 5PM on days when classes are held.

Motes Orchids is located at 25000 SW 162 Ave, that's just south of Coconut Palm Drive (248 St) and SW 162 Ave. Take Turnpike south to US 1 at exit 12, continue south on US 1 to 248St, then right (west) on 248St to 162 Ave then left (south) one block to Motes Orchids. Email us for further information.


 In Your Orchid Collection
Vanda Erica Cizek Dann        


Orchid Events

Dec. 6-7th- Bonnet House Orchid Festival N. Birch Rd off Sunrise Boulevard, Ft. Lauderdale 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM


Dec. 13th- Free Class "Orchid Disease and Pest Control" Motes Orchids 25000 Sw.162 Ave., Redland 11:00 AM.

Dec. 20th- Free Class "Growing Vandas"
Motes Orchids 25000 Sw.162 Ave., Redland 11:00 AM.


Saturday Dec 20th. : American Orchid Society Fla. Caribbean Monthly Judging 12:30 Fairchild Gardens 10900 Old Cutler Rd. Coral Gables.





Progress of the Season December 2014

            The massive cold fronts that have blanketed the continent with snow have slowly strolled into Florida warming their flanks on the Gulf and Atlantic. This pattern modes well for a mild winter for us, as the rest of the country suffers. November's warmth has kept our vandas growing. Feed them up and enjoy the fruits of the added growth as flowers later. Phals have belatedly spiked and should be fed as well to maximize their flower count and size. The warm weather does present some peril for the dormant species in our collections. Extra care should be taken to avoid watering those Himalayan dendrobiums, as well as the catasetums, and those cattleya species which are enjoying a rest. Water with warmth could break them into unwanted growth.

            As we relish the warmth we need to be aware that thrips and mites also are ready take advantage of the extended growing season. Scout for thrips and be sure to apply the mite control measures recommended in Fla Orchid Growing. Snails, too, which in typical years would be deep into aestivation are ready, with enough moisture and heat, to put in a little overtime.

            Now is the time to be grooming your plants to present themselves at their best for the holidays. Looking slightly further away, the Tamiami International Orchid Festival will be taking place January 17th and 18th. Grooming plants for display ther could reap large rewards beyond praise and ribbons. Cash prizes are offered: $1000.00 for Grand Champion, $500.00 for Reserve Champion. Additionally $100.00 cash is offered for Best Cattleya, best Dendrobium, Best Phalaenopsis, Best Oncidium, Best Vanda and Best Specimen Plant. Show off and win some dough too!



December in your Orchid Collection

December Climate Data

Average high: 77.5

Average low: 62.2

Average mean: 69.9

Average rainfall: 2.18"


            December marks the beginning of the serious dry season in South Florida. While this additional dryness provides relief from the autumnal rains that can bring so many fungal problems, December is also the month of shortest day lengths. This contracted period of light, on the contrary, reduces severely the drying potential for our plants. Nature thus both gives and takes away from us in December. We must make sure, therefore, that we do not aid the dark side of the force by improper watering. In December, above all, one must stick strictly to the two cardinal principles of orchid watering: water early in the day so your plants have as many hours as possible to dry, and water heavily when you water, allowing longer intervals between watering to dry plants thoroughly. This practice maximizes the benefit of the dryer air of December and minimizes the adverse effect of the shorter day lengths.

            When nature has delivered a light overnight or early morning rain as she so often does in December at the leading edge of a cold front, add to her efforts by watering thoroughly that same morning and skip out watering for an extra several days afterward. With this method you can use the general dryness of December to give yourself much of the advantage of a greenhouse in terms of controlling watering. As in all aspects of orchid culture, keen observation is the key to success. In cooler weather your plants need much less water. Moreover, cool air even at the same relative humidity, strips less water from your plants because cool air has less water holding capability. Always be sure that your plants really need water before you roll out the hose in December. Remember to use at least one of the standard tests for dryness: the finger dug slightly into the media test or the newly sharpened pencil coming dry like a knife from a well cooked custard, or test by hefting a pot that you know the weight of, both wet and dry and be sure that it has attained sufficient lightness. When you are sure they are dry, water them until you are sure they are very wet, then let the drying air of December do its magic to ward off leaf spotting diseases.

            Himalayan dendrobiums of the nobile and Callista (D. aggregatum, chrysotoxum, etc.) Sections require no additional water (beyond rain) in December. Remember, those of you who water (or, even worse, fertilize) these dendrobiums in December, will be punished by having your flowers taken away in the spring. Some growers, who have the space, isolate these dendrobiums along with other types that want hard drying such as Catasetum, Cycnoches, Mormodes, and Calanthe. Another strategy is to hang these plants high or at the edges of the collection reminding oneself to neglect them and also to avoid watering them by mistake. Other growers achieve the same result effect by turning the pots of these genera on their side in November or December, to avoid catching water from whatever source. Plants of some of these genera that have finished flowering can even be removed from their pots and stripped to bare roots in anticipation of re-potting them in new media when they break growth in the spring.

            Most sympodial orchids are resting in December and require less fertilizer. Biweekly or even monthly applications of a balanced fertilizer or 15-515 are still desirable. Nitrate nitrogen is the most readily absorbed in cooler weather; therefore at least one more application of the potassium nitrate/magnesium sulphate (at 1tbs. each per gal.) recommended in November is still a good idea. It's good stuff! Vandas, Phalaenopsis and other monopodial orchids should be fertilized right through the winter although both the amount of fertilizer and the frequency of application can be reduced. Remember reddening of the foliage is not natural, nor is it a response to the cold per se but rather a symptom of nutritional deficiency. The plants are asking for more potassium and magnesium. Give them the groceries.

            December can be cold. Frost has occurred in the first week of the month and unforgettably, the coldest temperatures ever recorded in South Florida were registered on December 25, 1989. If you haven't taken some of the precautions outlined in the November Newsletter, get busy! Keep a close eye on the forecasts during this volatile month.

Remember that hard cane dendrobiums of the sections Spathulata and Phalaenanthe are the most sensitive of commonly cultivated orchids. They resent temperature much below 60 degrees F. Phalaenopsis are next most sensitive, then vandas. Protect all these genera more carefully.

            If you are getting a jump on spring potting chores by repotting sympodial orchids that have finished blooming, it is particularly important that you take extra care in securing them in their containers. These plants may not be sending out new roots for several months, enough time for them to be shaken loose from insufficient staking. Passing cold fronts can bring brisk winds in December. When new roots start to form on insufficiently secured plants, wind moves the plant and chafes the new root tips off. Improperly secured plants are never able to root properly and slowly pine away. If you love them you must tie them up, tie them down. This is also especially true of mass produced orchids sold in Home Depot, K Mart etc. The soft, peat based media used to grow these commercially produced plants in the controlled environment of a greenhouse often does not provide sufficient purchase to secure the plants in the rough and tumble of a South Florida orchid collection buffeted by harsh winter winds. You probably should have already re-potted these into more durable medium but until you do, tie 'em up!

            Keep those vandas, Phalaenopsis and hard cane dendrobiums as warm as you can. Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza!