University Offers Course in Orchid Culture Nov. 6, 11, 13

Texas A&M International University is offering a continuing education course on growing and caring for one of the world's most beautiful flower, orchids.

"Introduction to Orchid Culture" will be held November 6, 11 and 13 from 6 - 9 p.m. in Building C Room 210. Course cost is $30 for tuition and $15 for lab fees. Persons who complete the course will receive their own orchid.

The course will include instruction on basic orchid care, plant selection, preparation and maintenance, pest and disease control, and special requirements. A brief overview of helpful resources and guides will also be presented.

Instructor for the course will be Phillip J. Lane, member of the American Orchid Society and certified master gardener. Lane is also Assistant to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at A&M International.

Lane said many people are under the mistaken impression that orchids are intimidating and difficult to grow.

"Orchids are really a pleasure to grow and maintain here in Laredo. If you can grow houseplants, you can grow orchids. Like any other plant, orchids must have the growing conditions they need to survive but they are amazingly sturdy and resilient," he explained.

Lane said orchids were once considered an expensive interest, but have become more accessible and affordable in recent years.

"Orchids today are within the reach of all. One of the oldest and best organized of plant hobbies, orchid culture now enjoys worldwide popularity. Their incredible beauty, lengthy bloom life and diversity of orchids captivate men and women from every walk of life," he said.

Lane noted that the orchid family is the largest plant family, occupying almost all conceivable environments.

"From the thimble-sized Mystacidium caffrum to the 20-foot-tall Renanthera storei, orchids exhibit amazingly different shapes, forms and growth habits. Some orchids produce blossoms no larger than a mosquito while other orchid flowers are as large as a dinner plate. Some have no fragrance, others can fill a house with their fragrance," he explained.

For more information on the Orchid Culture course at Texas A&M International University Nov. 6, 11, and 13, please contact the Office of Continuing Education at 326 - 2700, or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library-Administration Building, room 332 West.

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