It’s important to give the appropriate light conditions to cultivate your crops to their best potential. Orchids can be grown on glowing windowsills or under artificial lights. Needless to say, if you’re lucky enough to have a greenhouse or a sunroom, plants can be grown with much higher consequences.

Exposure

The best exposures for growing orchids are east, west and south. They ought to be grown in full sunlight a sheer curtain or window display is crucial to diffuse the sun’s rays. Note how many hours of sunlight each window receives as trees and overhangs will cut back on the amount of sunlight.

Sunlight

Orchids who have dark green foliage, but don’t blossom, are usually not getting enough sunlight. Leaves should really be a yellow-green color, not dark green. Each new expansion produced should be as large as or larger than the previous one. Strong pseudobulbs will produce lovely flowers and will guarantee that your plants are getting the appropriate light.
Orchids thrive outside in the summer. In our area that is from mid May until October. Please be careful when transferring your plants outside as they will need some protection against the complete sun. A shade cloth area or the filtered light supplied by a birch or willow tree will keep them from getting burned by sunlight. If your orchid hasn’t been receiving the correct amount of sunlight, you’ll have to maximize their exposure slowly over the course of a couple of weeks to avoid burning. Remember, just because a plant will get sunburn, it doesn’t always mean it’s the incorrect exposure for the orchid, just it had been given too much sunlight too fast.

This manual reveals what plants will grow well in which vulnerability nevertheless, plants that need less sunlight can be increased in the same window when shaded by more light loving plants.

East Window

Phalaenopsis, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum and Phragmipedium

South Window

Cattleyas, Vandas, Oncidium, Dendrobium and Cymbidiums

West Window

Phalaenopsis, Oncidium, Dendrobium and large light Paphiopedilum

North Window

Jewel Orchids and other low light species

Artificial Lighting

If you don’t have a window that offers sufficient natural sunlight, consider supplementing with grow lights or totally likely to artificial lighting. One advantage of growing under lights is that you have the ability to grow in almost any room in your home. Complete light packs are available and come equipped with light and humidity trays.

To get the appropriate intensity, orchids will have to be within 3-6 inches of regular fluorescent lighting. When using high intensity lights carefully follow the manufacturer’s directions about the correct distance from the plants to protect against burning the foliage. Most lights will also create a specific amount of heat so make certain to have great ventilation and air movement.

For your orchid plants to blossom consistently, you’ll have to adjust your lighting timers to replicate natural daylight. We propose increasing one hour monthly from January (11 hrs) before June (16 hrs) then decreasing one hour beginning in July (15 hrs) before December (10 hrs).

The basement is an exceptional option for a growing area as it is going to remain at a uniform temperature and will have enough humidity. Heavy duty plastic or reflective aluminum may be used to insulate ceiling joists and drape off a place. By hanging fluorescent lighting fixtures over plant tables and incorporating an oscillating fan for air motion, you’ll have your own subterranean greenhouse.

Orchids For Under Lights: Phalaenopsis, Oncidium, Paphiopedilum, Masdevallia, Pleurothallids, Compact and Miniature Cattleyas

Watering

The rule of thumb is to water once weekly. However, orchids will need to dry out slightly between waterings and then be soaked thoroughly. The old motto says,”When in doubt do without.”

Should you experience shriveled and leathery leaves or pseudobulbs, a close review of these roots will be required to decipher the issue. Over watering will cause the roots to rot, while symptoms of under watering will probably be dried roots.

We advocate feeling the weight of the pot before watering, then again after it’s been watered thoroughly. This gives you a better idea of if it requires water or not. We don’t suggest the finger test since you can just feel the top inch of the media that won’t allow you to know the rest of the kettle’s moisture content.

Keep in mind clay pots will dry quicker than plastic containers and orchids grown in sphagnum moss will tend to take longer to dry. When enlarged or in slatted baskets without social networking, plants will need to be watered nearly daily. Orchids can be grown in virtually anything so long as you adapt your watering accordingly.

Temperature and Humidity

Normal home temperatures are fine for developing most orchids. Temperatures of 70-80 degrees in the daytime and 60-70 degrees at night are perfect. Always keep plants away from warm or cold drafts.

Many orchids, like phalaenopsis, require a fall in temperature for many weeks during the autumn to set their flower spikes. This can be accomplished by moving them outside or opening the window in which they are growing as soon as the outside night temperature is in the mid to upper 50’s. Cymbidiums like to grow outdoors during the summer with loads of fertilizer and light. They need a 20-30 degree drop in temperature from the late autumn to place their flower spikes. So leave them out until danger of frost.

If you have problems growing intermediate or cool orchids, consider growing them in your basement under lights. Beware of cooling your orchids with an air conditioner as they remove humidity from the air and might cause the flowers to wilt. A fantastic degree of humidity in winter could be achieved by running a humidifier or by placing humidity trays beneath your plants. Don’t hesitate to spray your orchids using a mister on any sunny day to raise the humidity level.

Fertilizer

It’s always essential to feed your plants, not just while they’re growing, but also when they are in blossom. Like all living things, when fed properly, they will grow stronger and produce more flowers.

Our product of choice is Dyna-Gro, but any balanced fertilizer could be used. Brands like Miracle-Gro and Peters are also famous for quality fertilizers and supplements.

We recommend watering the plant before applying fertilizer and then after among the two sets of directions on the manufacturer’s tag. One is for feeding (1/4-1/2 tsp/gallon) per week and one is for intermittent feeding (1-3 tsp/gallon) every 2 to 4 weeks.

If you can’t fertilize as often as you need to, then use a timed release fertilizer to supplement normal feedings. Depending on the brand and formulation, granules will last from 3-12 months. Top dress your plant with the manufacturer’s recommended amount. Sprinkle the feed evenly across the surface of the mixture taking care not to get it near the new growths. Do not use this sort of fertilizer using sphagnum moss. Because the moss is continually moist, it will always release nutrients and might burn the roots of your plants.

Repotting

Repotting is the component of orchid growing that amateurs consider most intimidating. However, with some guidance, even the novice grower will find it to be a simple and rewarding experience. First decide whether you only wish to alter your plant or split it into several pieces. To alter your orchid, remove the plant from the pot and clean the old mixture off the roots. Then pick the suitable pot size allowing room for two decades of growth. When dividing cattleyas and other orchids with similar growing customs, we recommend leaving 3-5 bulbs per branch. Decide what size cutting you would like to make. Then use a sterile knife to cut down through the rhizome and the roots remaining as close as possible to the older expansion. Choose the appropriate pot size allowing for two decades of growth. Next consider which kind of container will suit your orchid and watering program. Most orchids grow well in plastic pots. However, in case you’ve got a propensity to over-water, clay pots may work better for you because they are porous and will dry out quicker. Clay pots, due to their extra weight, will also help top-heavy crops to stay upright.

We advocate potting at a fir bark mix. This media was initially developed by our creator George Off in the1960’s. Fir bark is still used extensively by many commercial growers in various modified formulations.

Orchids like good drainage, so we suggest using big bark or sytrofoam peanuts at the bottom of the pot. Place the plant with the most recent growth farthest from the edge of the pot and fill with mixture. Make sure to get the ideal amount for the potting medium. Be careful not to bury the eyes in the base of the bulbs and leave some room for water at the surface of the pot.

Note: There’s some controversy about how hard the mix ought to be packed. We’ve always tamped the mix tightly, while others simply use their fingers. The most important point is to pot firmly, eliminating the majority of the air pockets.

If you’re potting in sphagnum moss, simply get rid of the old medium and pick the suitable pot size based on the number of roots. Spread the roots over a cone of moss, then wrap a few more moss around the root ball and put it into the new pot. Phalaenopsis should be based in the pot, while orchids that grow as a cattleya have to be put together with the new growth farthest from the edge of the container. Make certain to cover all of the roots. Moss should be spongy and shouldn’t be packed too tightly.

Staking and Grooming

Good staking and grooming habits are among the easiest ways to make your collection look its very best. By removing a couple of yellow leaves and trimming damaged or damaged parts, all orchids will seem much better. A brand new single edged razor or sterile scissors will work well for cleaning up your crops.

Orchids will take up less space if they’re staked upright. New growths should be staked to permit light into the rhizome region of the plant and will also make certain that the flowers will have great placement when they start.

Pests and Diseases

Bugs create a multitude of problems and may seriously damage an assortment if left untreated. Scales, mealybugs, aphids and mites are the most popular orchid pests. You’ll discover that bugs are attracted to specific genera. As an example, mealybugs like phalaenopsis and bifoliate cattleyas, whilst scale favors cattleyas and cymbidiums. Aphids are attracted to the buds and blossoms of dendrobiums and oncidiums, but they don’t discriminate between orchid genera. Spider mites will appear when there’s too little humidity particularly on dendrobiums, oncidiums and cymbidiums.

Always keep a close eye out for insect damage. They like to hide under leaves and sheathing and, if left untreated, they will quickly spread through your collection. By eliminating old sheathing when it becomes loose, it’ll be much easier to recognize the early signs of an insect issue. Scale depletes chlorophyll leaving yellow spots on the foliage. They also love to feast on the tender eyes at the base of the pseudobulbs. Aphids will leave a sticky residue on the foliage below where they’re eating. Spider mites can be recognized from the silvery scarring they depart under the leaves. The fantastic news is that the majority of orchid pests can easily be exterminated. Home and garden sprays will offer a lengthy list of bugs they are going to kill. We recommend spraying the plant, then manually cleaning it as much as possible using a Q-tip or toothbrush, followed by another remedy of spray. Follow up treatments after five to seven days may be required to fully eliminate the problem.

For a less toxic approach, we advocate using denatured alcohol, neem oil or insecticidal soap. Remember to always be extra cautious of what you spray, particularly on the blossoms, and always follow the manufacturer’s directions to reduce plant and flower damage. Slugs and snails chew buds and blossoms in addition to the tender new roots and growths. Bait is easy to get and will do a fantastic job of ridding your set of these pests. Ants can be a problem, particularly when transferring your orchids back indoors in the fall. Orange Guard, a citric acid product, is a fantastic way to remove these pests. However, if they’re down in the mix, you’ll have to drench the pot with an insecticide or repot the plant.

Other orchid issues, like rot and fungus, can be treated by removing the infected area with a sterile instrument, then applying a fungicide spray or powdered cinnamon, which is a excellent natural fungicide. Improved air flow can help prevent a recurrence of this issue. Flowers that have botrytis (little dark spots) ought to be eliminated to prevent spores from spreading to others blossoms.

Any orchid displaying signs of a viral infection should be completely segregated as contact with diseased plant fluids can cause the virus to spread and might contaminate other plants. Any questionable plant ought to be examined and if it tests positive, it ought to be destroyed as there isn’t any cure for orchid viruses. This is why it’s essential to use sterile tools and equipment when handling your plants. Human contact and chewing insects are also vectors for spreading germs.

Conclusion

We hope these tips can help you to be successful with your orchids. There are lots of orchid books, magazines, periodicals and online sites that may allow you to become a better grower. In addition, we suggest that you visit the American Orchid Society for individual culture sheets for all kinds of orchid genera. You’ll find growing orchids to be an exciting pastime. However, a word of warning, orchids are really addicting! Once you buy your first plant, you’ll be’hooked’ to the rest of your life!

 

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