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Cut Flower Orchids

Course CodeVHT240
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to Cultivate Orchids

Orchids represent one of the broadest genera of flowering plants on the planet and one which includes a vast array of hybrids. Many are only distinguishable by slight differences in markings which would be too difficult to spot by the untrained eye.

This is a self-paced distance education course which enables students to learn and develop skills in recognising, growing and propagating a wide variety of orchids whether for commercial purposes or personal pleasure.

Who can this course benefit?

  • Amateurs or professionals
  • Plant collectors
  • Plant breeders
  • Nurserymen
  • Interior Plantscapers
  • Cut Flower Growers
  • Florists
  • Garden Centre Staff
  • Greenhouse Suppliers
  • Anyone with a passion for orchids

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction - Plant classification, naming of plants, parts of the flower.
  2. Culture - Basket, epiphytes, media.
  3. Propagation A - Methods, materials, equipment.
  4. Propagation B (Tissue Culture) - Techniques, application, culture nutrients.
  5. Greenhouse Management A - Environmental controls, beds & benches, carbon dioxide.
  6. Greenhouse Management B - Temperature, irrigation, cooling, ventilation, etc.
  7. Pest and Disease Control & Identification
  8. Management, Harvest and Post-Harvest
    • - Harvesting, post harvest, standards, layout, production costs.
  9. Marketing - Marketing the product, valuable orchids, international markets.
  10. Detailed study of one species or group of orchids.

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

  • Explain the plant naming system, identify flower parts and compile resources.
  • Describe cultural techniques applicable to orchid growing.
  • Describe propagation techniques used for orchids.
  • Explain tissue culture propagation techniques.
  • Describe protected plant production facilities suited to orchids.
  • Explain the day to day management of a greenhouse.
  • Manage Pests and diseases on an orchid flower crop
  • Explain management of an orchid enterprise and the harvest and post harvest of an orchid crop.
  • Explain marketing techniques used for cut flower orchids.
  • Describe a major orchid group

Learn about All Types of Orchids

Orchids are a very large and diverse range of plants. As a result, naming of genus is not always as straight forward as it could be. There are literally hundreds of new cultivars and two or three new genus (inter generic) registered every month. Classification is an evolving science and changes are occurring on a continual basis. Here are some examples that may assist you in finding information out about those orchids which are hard to locate.

Some plants, which are actually hybrids, have been given an inter generic name that is used as the genus. Others have been given one name which is later changed, or reclassified, to another name. For instance, plants in the genus Rhyncholaelia were once considered to be of the genus Brassavola. Some sources now class them separately, as we have here in this book, while some have chosen to keep them as Brassavola. Most newer text will use the two separate names, or indicate that they are sometimes considered synonymous. However, especially in older text, this is not always the case.

Cross pollination of orchids to create a new, unique plant is a regular occurrence. In some instances, the resulting hybrid is referred to as a new genus. These names are actually intergeneric names. For example, Zygowarrea is the genus name for a cross of Warrea lindley x Zygopetalum hooker (Zygo + Warrea). All other plants then hybridised from Zygowarrea will likely be given the intergeneric genus name of Zygowarrea. Intergeneric names can also be named in honour of a particular person, and usually occurs when several plants have been crossed to breed the plant. For instance, the intergeneric name Alangreatwoodara is in honour of plant breeder Alan Greatwood, with the original plant in the "genus" being a cross of three orchids.

To add to the confusion, all genus and intergeneric names are given an abbreviation. So, you may see a plant identified as Ascda. 'Park Yon Kyoung'. In this instance, the full stop is in place, giving the indication that an abbreviation is being used. However, if that full stop does not appear, as is often the case, there is no indication that Ascda is the accepted abbreviation for the genus Ascocenda.

We have covered a great range of orchids in this book, but due to the constant changes as detailed above, it is nearly impossible to include every genus, intergeneric name and cultivar in one publication. However, with this knowledge of how the names evolve, it can assist you in finding out about your orchids, with a little detective work.

Orchid Growing Tips

  •  Most orchids require a very loose open potting mix. These are commonly made from mainly
  • shredded or milled bark, or tree fern fibre.
  • In cool climates never water orchids until the bark on the surface of a pot feels dry. Never let the entire pot dry out!
  • When watering with a hose, keep the water jet soft and don't wash bark away from any roots.
  • Don't water any orchids with icy cold water. Generally make sure water is at least 15 degrees Celsius. This may mean filling a watering can with water from your hose, and if its a bit cold, adding some warmer water from a hot tap. Be careful not to add too much hot water!.
  • Overwatering is more likely to kill an orchid than underwatering. Keep orchids relatively dry when growth is slow or dormant.
  • Generally the thicker the stem of the orchid (often called a pseudobulb) the less often it needs to be watered, unless conditions are very hot and dry.
  • Avoid potting up orchids into too large a pot. Pot up a pot bound plant into a pot only one or two pot sizes at a time, no more).
  • Keep a look out for pests, in particular, aphis, snails, scale or mealy bug insects, and use control methods as soon as they appear.
  • Keep orchids in places where conditions are not likely to be changeable.
  • In cool climates, don't place them inside near an open window, where cold draughts of air could be a problem. 
  • Keep them away from gas heaters or stoves. 
  • Avoid an inside window sill or bench where they will get direct, hot sunlight. Indirect light is preferred by the majority of orchids.
  • Avoid direct sun in the hottest part of the day, and generally provide shade in summer.
  • Protect flower buds from direct sun, wind, aphis, snails and slugs. 
  • Do not overfeed. If in doubt, feed regularly with quarter strength fertilisers.
     

How Can This Course Help Me?

This course is designed to be of benefit to people who are interested in learning how to grow and propagate orchids to satisfy their personal needs or for commercial purposes.

Take this course if you would like to:

  • Learn how to grow orchids as cut flowers.
  • Start a business growing orchids for cut flowers.
  • Follow your passion, extend your skills and improve your career opportunities.
  • Enhance your employability in an orchid growing or nursery business.
  • Broaden your knowledge of horticultural practices.

This course may be studied by itself or along with other 100-hour modules as part of a self-designed proficiency award, certificate or higher level qualification.

 



Meet some of our academics

Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Diana Cole B.A. (Hons), Dip. Horticulture, BTEC Dip. Garden Design, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector), P.D.C. In addition to the qualifications listed above, Diana holds City & Guild construction qualifications and an NPTC pesticide spraying licence (PA1/PA6). Diana runs her own landscape gardening business (Arbella Gardens). Active in many organisations including the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.
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.


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