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This varied group of orchids includes plants from any environments, some come from hot and dry areas while other grow in less severe conditions.

LIGHT

Most Oncidium thrive with one to several hours of sunlight a day. Generally thicker leaved plants can stand more light. In the home, east, shaded south and east windows are ideal.

TEMPERATURE

Temperatures for Oncididum should usually be 55-60F at night and range from 80 -85F or more during the day. Although higher temperatures force faster vegetative growth, higher humidity and air movement must accompany higher temperatures, the recommended maximum being 100F

WATER

Generally plants with large fleshy roots and/or leaves need less frequent watering than thin leaved and/or rooted plants.  Plants should be thoroughly watered and not watered again until nearly dry through the pot. In the heat of summer in a dry climate like Calgary, this may be every few days and in the winter here, it may even be every 10 days. Also the type of potting media will determine the frequency of watering. Pots with moss generally take longer to dry out than plants potted in bark. Water only in the morning so the leaves are dry by nightfall to avoid rot from occurring on the leaves.

HUMDITY

Oncidium require humidity between 30-60%. In the home, set the plants on trays of gravel, partially filled with water so that the pot never sits in water or have a humidifier in the room. Mist the plant in dry climates or during dry weather in the morning only. Misting is not required for fleshy leaved types.

FERTILIZER

Use a fertilizer high in nitrogen (grow fertilizer) from about March to September and a fertilizer high in phosphorus (bloom fertilizer) the rest of the year. When in active growth plants need fertilizer every 2 weeks and when not growing, once a month. Thorough flushing with clear water every month is recommended to prevent build-up of fertilizer salts.

POTTING

This is best done in the Spring after blooming.  Potting is usually done every 1 – 3 years. Mature plants can grow in the same pot until the potting medium starts to decompose, usually in 2 years. Root rot occurs if plants are left in a soggy medium. A fine grade potting medium is usually used for fine rooted plants and coarser mixes with large rooted plants. To re-pot, remove the entire old medium from the roots, trim soft/rotted roots and spread the remaining roots over a cone shape of medium in the bottom if a new pot. Fill the rest of the pot with medium, working it through the roots, so that the junction of the roots and the stem is at the top of the medium. Keep plant shaded and humid , but drier in the pot, for several weeks, to promote new root growth.

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Check Out The Store

If the store looks overstuffed and old fashioned, chances are the floral designs will as well. If the store is bright and modern chances are the florist is up on current trends and styles. While this doesn’t always hold true it is a good guideline to follow.  As well, look for a store that looks taken care of and put together. I am a big believer that if the store is well cared for, they care for their flowers as well, and that is what you want.

Check Out The Florist

Is the florist friendly? Do they welcome your ideas? Do they seem knowledgeable? Do they seem honest and reliable? Do they seem passionate about what they do or are they just going through the motions? Really go with your gut instinct here. While the person may not reflect your personal style judge them on their work and their passion for flowers not appearance. That isn’t to say that appearances don’t count, if a person can’t be bothered to brush their hair for your appointment it doesn’t bode well for their commitment to your wedding. I have said it before in my other articles and blog posts and I will say it again, isn’t all about the price.  Quality and creativity count!

Do They Have An Area Set Aside For Consultations?

A flower shop that is serious about wedding and serious about providing quality wedding work will have a designated space for you to sit down and chat. You don`t to try and plan your wedding flowers while leaning against their front counter do you?

Do They Have Pictures Of Their Work?

By this I mean actually THEIR work, not just a series of published magazines or books. You want to see work they have done. It is well and good that they say they can create anything, but you need to see it.  Now while they may not have created your exact bouquet, do they have designs that you like and is the quality of workmanship there.

Do They Have Thank You Notes From Other Brides?

This is a big one. You want to know that other Brides have been happy with the work that they have done. With all the other thank you the Bride has had to write it really means something if she took the time to write a note to the florist. Remember that if you love your flowers, we florists love to hear that we did a good job, who doesn’t?

Do They Ask Questions?

Above all you want a florist that not only listens to you but hears you as well.  You don’t want to be steam rolled because they have their own agenda as to what flower will work for you. That being said be open to their ideas, they do this for a living and may have suggestions for something that will work better or last longer or is more available. Tell them all about your dress, the Bridesmaids dresses, your invitations and the venues. This gives them a really good picture of the feel you are going for and helps them make appropriate suggestions.

Do They Know The Venues?

Now while they may not know every church in town, they should probably know most if not all of the major churches and reception venues. This can be very helpful as they will then know what works and what doesn’t. If your venue is smaller or little known bring pictures with you to the consultation, then you can work together on the best plan of action.

Do They Know Their Stuff?

This is probably the biggest point of all. You want a florist who knows what flowers are available and when and you want a florist who knows what to do and is confident in their skills. This should not come across as arrogance, as the florist we have to know every flower out there, you don’t – it’s not your job, it’s ours.  So don’t let your florist talk down to you because you don’t know the flower names or design terms. A good florist will have a book that shows most of the flowers available and will point out flowers you don’t know or explain an uncommon design style. Keep in mind that many of the wedding publications showing stunning floral bouquets come from other countries (USA and the UK are big) and they have access to different flowers then we do. Wedding magazines are notorious for featuring flowers that don’t grow readily in the same season or they use garden variety flowers in bouquets. So yes, while it is lovely, is it practical? Well, all I can say is that if money is no object then yes, pretty much everything is available all the time, but if you are like the rest of us, stick to flowers that are readily available and listen to your florists advice on what is or isn’t realistic.

These questions will help you when choosing a florist for your wedding, price isn’t everything – knowledge is!

1. When do you get the flowers for the wedding?

Most flowers arrive at the beginning of the week of your wedding. Some flowers even arrive the week before. This won’t mean your flowers are “old” it means that they will be fully open and at their most perfect. Some flowers can take up to 7 days to fully open (lilies in particular) so you don’t your florist to be getting the flowers 2 days before the wedding, as they might not open in time. As well, if flowers that were ordered come in totally damaged or otherwise unusable, the extra time gives the florist a chance to reorder that flower or find a suitable substitution.

2. When do you create the bouquets?

It seems like the right answer would be as close to the wedding ceremony as possible, but this is not correct. Flowers can bruise and these bruises, just like on you or I, develop over time. This bruising can be caused in shipping or while creating the bouquets or other floral pieces. Be creating the bouquets a day or so before the wedding the florist can monitor any bruising and take care of any potential problems. When made at the last minute (night before or morning of) sometimes the bruising starts showing up just as you are posing for your first pictures. Not good.

3. What happens if my flowers become unavailable?

Flowers are a product of nature and nature can sometimes wreck havoc. When booking your flowers try to stick with flowers readily available and in season. If your flower comes in damaged or quite frankly doesn’t come in at all – Don’t Panic! Your florist should have a number of different suppliers that they deal with and more than likely will be able to get in your flower from somewhere else.  But if your flower is not available anywhere, they should be able to recommend a substitution that will still give you the same overall feel.  So yes, while your Grandmother carried Lily if the Valley in her bouquet and you wanted to as well, but now the flowers didn’t come. Ask yourself, will it ruin your wedding not to have it in your bouquet –  the answer is No. Instead, to honour your Grandmother, why not have a picture setup at the church or incorporate her image in a small cameo that is placed in your bouquet. A creative florist will always be able to come up with something.

4. Do you treat the flowers with anything?

Another big reason flowers don’t last is that they start drying out – not from the stem but from the bloom! Verify that you florist will spray your flowers and completed bouquets, boutonnières and corsages with an anti-desiccant spray. This is a fancy word for a product that puts an invisible coating on the flowers that helps to prevent them from losing moisture by evaporation. The sprays go by names such as Crowning Glory, Finishing Touch and Hawaiian Mist.

5. Are the bouquets sent out in water?

You want your flowers to last as long as possible on your big day, so how your flowers come to you matters. If you are getting hand-tied bouquets, ensure they are sent out in vases of water.  Flowers start drinking as soon as you cut their stems, so they need to be in water to ensure that the cells of the flower stem are kept open. If they are not sent out in water the flowers continue to try and get water up the stem and instead end up sucking up air molecules. These molecules block the flower stem and long story short the flowers gets unhappy fast. If your bouquet is created in a hold of some kind, it has a built in water source, so you do not need to worry about it coming out in a vase of water.