Neofinetia falcata Culture
Light: Neofinetia falcata requires bright light. For best success, the plants can be grown on a shaded south or on a west windowsill to bloom. Plants may be grown on an east windowsill with some morning sun. To grow under lights, place the top of the plants 4 to 6 inches from the fluorescent light (four T8 tubes or 2 t5 tubes will do). A minimum of 12 hours under lights is suggested all year round.
Temperature: Neofinetia falcata can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. In the summer time, the plants can tolerate temperatures up to 30oC. To grow in this temperature, strong air movement is required. During the winter, give your plants a resting period by watering less. Neofinetia can tolerate very low temperatures such as 4oC, as in parts of their natural habitat in Japan. However, watering should be very light under cold conditions. This resting period will help to promote vigorous growth in the spring. Growing near a window may be a good spot where the temperature is cooler. Most people are successful growing them under normal househols conditions year round.
Potting: Neofinetia falcata is traditionally potted in special Neofinetia pots, using a quality New Zealand sphagnum moss. New Zealand Moss is highly recommended over Chilean sphagnum moss. In our experience, when Chilean moss is wet, it is too wet for the plants and when the moss is dry, it is too dry for the roots. In addition, Chilean moss breaks down at a quicker rate. The centre of the pot may be potted using regular short moss however the final finish should be done with a long strand and higher grade moss. Traditional Neofinetia potting uses a weaving technique for the final finish and the longer moss is ideal for this. When potting, ensure that there is either a hole or styrofoam in the bottom center of the potting medium to provide aeration to the nearby roots. Furthermore, moss should be mounded as much as 3 inches above the pot, allowing the roots to dry faster The plants do much better using this potting method and it is very worthwhile to learn this technique both for the vitality of the plant and for appearance. Potting in the traditional method enhances the aesthetic beauty and presentation of the plants, a very important trait in Japanese Neofinetia culture. The plants simply look much better!
Watering: This is the most critical part of Neofinetia culture as most plants are lost due to over watering. Neofinetia must be completely dry before watering. This means that the moss must be completely dry on the outside and the inside. You can test this by inserting your index finger into the hole at the bottom of the pot as mentioned above (potting section). During the winter months, the plants can be kept drier for longer periods of time. On sunny days, the surface moss may be misted in the mornings.
Fertilizer: Fertilzer is not a large concern for Neofinetia. You may try a dilute solution once a month except in winter.
A note about variegation:
Some Neofinetia with variegated leaves have specific light requirement in order to maintain the variegation in the leaves . There is no fast rule for shima or random striped varieties. Tiger stripea are an exception. Yellow tiger stripe types must be grown in high light to bring out the yellow colour. White tiger stripe varieties, require a lower amount of light to maintain and to bring out the variegation. Some varieties have more yellow leaves than the other types and sometimes the leaves are almost completely yellow. These plants should be grown in a shadier place in order to encourage green growths.
Neofinetia is not a difficult orchid to grow. We would be more than happy to help you with any aspects of their culture and to understand the many varieties of this fascinating plant. In addition, we can provide assistance in teaching you the traditional Neofinetia potting technique.
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