Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Orchid Cactus Bloom

 June 1, 2015

I am so excited.  My Red Orchid Cactus is preparing to bloom.  I noticed one bud on May 31.  The next day I spent the entire day cleaning my garden window and turning this plant around so that I can enjoy it's bloom.
June 2, 2015
When I turned it around, I saw two buds, then three, then four, then five.
This is the first time I have had more than one bud. Sad to say, I knocked off one of the tiny buds while I was cleaning. This plant has bloomed three other times but with only one flower each time.  But even with one flower, it is well worth patiently waiting.
I am still learning the right mix of fertilizer and water to stimulate the setting of buds.

June 3, 2015
The first three photos were taken in the morning and the next photo was taken in the evening.  I will plan to taken the rest each evening as the indoor lighting without the back light of the outdoors gives a better photo. You can see the blossom are starting to grow.  The bud on the left is already 3 inches.

June 4, 2015
The Orchid Cactus is called an Epiphyllum.
The flower on this plant is a gorgeous red and has a span of 8 inches.  Yes, this is not a typo.
So I will be enjoying 4 flowers unless there are other buds that are just setting but are not yet visible.  Now this plant is a night bloomer!  When it bloomed last time, I was close by to watch the 90 minute transformation!  If you want a sneak peek of what it will look like, click here.

Now before I get too excited, I noticed that there are little white spots on the flower buds. You can see them on the right flower.  Something told me that I might have an infestation of aphids or a mealy bug..not sure which it is.  So I am trying to do some research to decide what to do.  I just moved my Christmas Cactus below.  I feel this may dash my hopes for seeing these buds come to full bloom! Not sure what kind of damage they will do!!!!
If you can help, please leave me a message!
June 4, 2015
Aphid Infestation!  Yikes!

June 5, 2015
I was able to physically remove most of the aphids by using a soft tissue underneath the bud to catch the aphids and one on top to gently wipe and tap to remove them.  I know I removed at least 100 or more from both of the larger buds.  My fear is that there are many more inside the flower and I believe my guess is correct as I was able to remove a few more this evening.  The petals are very delicate so I didn't want to touch them with my hand but I won't be surprised if their petals are bruised.  I also learned that the aphids love to suck the moisture out of the petals causing them to wilt.  At this point it will be a wait a see moment!  Also it only takes two aphids to reproduce over a 100 new babies each day!  That doesn't sound promising for me! At this point I do not want to spray the petals with anything for fear of destroying the flower. But I will definitely treat this plant once it has finished blooming!

June 6, 2015
Well, I am still removing a few aphids.  The coming week is a very warm week..high 70's to mid 80's.  Hopefully that will not increase the likelihood of these aphids to reproduce even faster and more abundantly!

June 6, 2015
I realized that I hadn't taken a photo of the entire plant so here it is below! There are actually 5 buds: Viewed best from the photo above this one.  Number 1 is on the left, Number 2 is right above it, Number 3 is to the right of Number 2 (it is still a bud with no color), Number 4 on the right and Number 5 is a bud directly below 
Number 4, again a very small bud.

 June 7, 2015
8 p.m.
The first bud is going to bloom tonight.

 June 7, 2015
9 p.m.
This is an hour later.

June 7, 2015
11 p.m.
Before going to bed I tried turning my plant to see if I could get a better view.  This is the first time my cactus has bloomed away from me.  It is definitely wanting to show its beauty to the rest of the world and to the many birds that come to my feeders hanging next to this garden window.

 June 8, 2015
7 a.m.
Well, this morning my flower is in full bloom.  

June 8, 2015
7 a.m.
I had the help of my husband to gently turn it around so that I could take a photo.  It measures a little over 7 inches in width.
By the way, this flower wasn't harmed an any way by the aphids.  I managed to remove all of them from this flower.  I was fearful that that center of the flower would be filled with aphids....thankfully not even one aphid can be found!

June 8, 2015
7 a.m.
It really is a beauty!

June 15, 2015 
This is Number 4 bud.  It is actually the one that had the most aphids on it.  I believe it is a little stunted.  It half opened as you see below as I managed to turn the plant to see into the flower.  It is also considerably smaller in size....about 5 inches.

June 15, 2015
Number 5 bud is coming the right of this bloom and I also noticed I have two other buds.  Number 2 and 3 have nearly dried up...possibly affected by aphids or too little water during a hot week.

This photo is of Number 2 and 3 which look like straw buds!  They have dried up!

June 28, 2015
This photo is of Number 5, 6 and 7 from left to right.
Looks like bud Number 7 is about to bloom tonight.  It is 9:50 pm and I am headed to bed.  I will miss this one.

June 29, 2015
Number 7 was in full bloom this morning.  It is a little smaller...6 inches in diameter.  This blossom is the far right bloom.  It also had about 5 aphids on it in the past two weeks.  I have tried to be diligent in removing them.  It looks like I succeeded.

June 29. 2015  
This is Number 5.  It has developed very well and looks like it will bloom by morning.  

June 29, 2015
 Number 5 is going to be 8 inches in diameter when it opens.

June 30. 2015
7:15 a.m.
This is Number 5 in full bloom!  Another beauty!

Jun 30, 2015
As you can see I have one more bud to bloom!
I'll be back with another photo!

June 2, 2012
Well, this is my last bloom!  The color is a little off on my camera or from the sunlight as this red is so vibrant!  I hope you have enjoyed watching!

Hopefully I will not have to wait another three years before it blooms again!

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