At the Vero Beach Orchid Society we are dedicated to the continuing education of orchids and the sharing of our collective knowledge with the community. 


Through monthly meetings and great speakers, creating table displays at various show, and sharing everything you need to know to grow big beautiful orchids we try to help you every step of the way. Please join us at our next monthly meeting or sit in and see what a great group of orchid growers you will be getting to know and what a great time we have at our monthly meetings.


For the January meeting, our speaker will be our own president, Jim Andre. 

Jim Andre graduated from Macalester College in chemistry and pre-medical science in 1954. He went on to Northwestern University in biologic chemistry and medicine. He finished a residency in surgery at Cook county Hospital and joined a hand surgery group at Northwestern.  His main interest was in hand surgery and trauma which involved fractures and orthopedics. After a few years in Chicago he returned to Minnesota with a general surgery group.From child hood he had an extensive knowledge of the Superior National Forest and the Quetico Provincial Park and worked summers in college and medical school working for the exploration division of Kennecott Copper leading the geologists who discovered and explored the large copper deposit in northern Minnesota which now, sixty years later, may be mined.He worked at Hospital Albert Schweitzer in the Artibonnite River valley of central Haiti since 1986 and became interested in the Tolumnia Variegata orchids growing on the almond trees in the river valley.  He wrote an article for the AOS in 2008 which is on the web site under Tolumnia Variegata. The article was revised and was published again in the August 2014 issue of Orchids. The article is being further revised. When his wife of fifty years died he married an anesthetist at the hospital in Haiti.He grew orchids for many years in Minnesota and is a life time member of the Orchid Society of Minnesota. He retired to Vero Beach three years ago and is growing orchids and playing bridge, he is a life master bridge player. At the January meeting I will be speaking on the subject of TDS. TDS is probably the most important single concept in growing orchids and few people have ever heard of it.I will start out with a quick review of the popular book Florida Orchid Growing by Martin Motes. On the first page of that book, in the first sentence he says “Orchids are easy to grow in South Florida; easy to grow badly”. That is about the only correct statement in the book, it is all downhill from there.There are two definitions of TDS, I will explain both of them. I will start with the basics, a review of first year college chemistry. I will start with the periodic table of elements, the nature of chemical compounds, reversible reactions, disassociation, ions, electrolytes, cations, anions, moles, gram molecular weights, logarithms and negative logarithms, Avogadro’s number, the theory of pH, the basis for the metric system, an explanation of osmosis and reverse osmosis. I will bring a number of different kinds of water including Vero Beach municipal water, well water, RO water, and some mystery water and test their composition and discuss that composition and how it affects the growth of orchids. I will show you some pretty amazing and interesting facts about your water that you are not aware of.The popular adage concerning Cattleyas is that they like a porous medium and they like to dry out between waterings.  I will bring some Cattleya plants and remove them from their pots and show you the root structure of Cattleyas that are kept wet continuously, that never dry out. I will show a Cattleya that has been grown for a number of years in dirt, garden soil, that is kept wet continuously. I will show you the best way to repot a sympodial Cattleya orchid to obtain the best healthy future growth. I will briefly discuss fertilizers and finally I will show the effect of all of this on monopodial orchids.
​ I will show you how to recognize a healthy Cattleya and how to recognize a “half-dead” Florida Cattleya I will show you that water does not cause root rot. I will show you what does cause root rot.