Orchid Care

                      

 

 

 

    

 

 

How Much Humidity do Orchids Need?  

Most tropical epiphytic orchids, which are the ones we like to grow, require high humidity as found in their native environments.

Aeranthes orchid
Aeranthes Grandiose Shooting
Star AM/AOS likes shade, intermediate to warm temperatures, and high humidity.
But we've found that it overwinters quite well at cooler temperatures and low humidity.

* Spraying orchids with water may help remove dust and grime for the leaves, and you may enjoy it, but does little to increase humidity.

*Many smaller growing orchids such pleurothallids (masdevallias and draculas) , miniature species phalaenopsis and other botanicals are far less tolerant of low humidity and will simply not grow well or bloom.

* Bathrooms as not as humid as people think, except for a few minutes while you shower!  If your bathroom has bright light and is suited to growing orchids, then by all means grow some orchids in there as the occasionally higher humidity can only help.

* While many orchids will grow and bloom fine when relative humidity is 50% or even lower, they will do far better in their ideal humidity ranges.

* 'Pleating' in emerging leaves, most often seen in miltoniopsis, oncidiums, and related genera,  is often caused by low humidity.

 

Orchids absorb moisture directly from humid air through their roots. If the air is too dry, many orchids will lose moisture through the stomata (minute pores in the leaves) faster and they can replace it from the roots. As a result, the plant wilts.

Relative humidity is probably the most difficult factor to control for indoor growers, as humidity levels in the house are often quite low, and vary according to temperature. Many orchids grow in environments where humidity is 70% or higher for much of the year. In high-elevation cloud forests, orchids are based in constant mist and fog year 'round. Luckily, many of the common orchids we grow such as cattleyas, cymbidiums, dendrobiums, and phalaenopsis will do OK with lower humidity. Try to aim for a humidity of at least 50% or higher. If you have a greenhouse or dedicated basement grow room, you can use a microfogger or high output humidifier easily. If you are an indoor or windowsill grower, there area few tricks:

-Group your plants together so that they create a more humid microclimate around themselves.

-Use humidity grow trays -not only does this collect run-off water when you water your plants, but the water evaporates to provide humidity around your plants.

-You can also sit your orchid pots in a shallow pebble-filled tray that is filled with weather-just be sure pots are not sitting in the water.

-Always run a humidifier near your plants in winter when the air is notoriously dry.

AIR MOVEMENT
Air movement is very important. In the wild, most epiphytic orchids growing up in the trees are constantly moving in the breeze. This air movement keeps plants cool, especially during hot weather. Always make sure your orchids have adequate ventilation. When your collection grows to a dozen plants or more, run a small fan near them to keep the foliage moving ever so slightly as if  in a light breeze. The secret is to aim the fan just above the foliage. At the very least, make sure your fan is running when your humidity is high, for example in the height of summer and on cold damp winter nights. This will greatly reduce the incidence of fungal and bacterial infections which can quickly take hold and destroy a collect
ion of plants in a matter of days. I've been amazed at the overall improvement in health and vigour of my orchids, just by making sure there is adequate air flow and movement.


 

 

                     

 
  
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
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Quick Links:
-What to do when flowers fade
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-Can I grow orchids in low light?
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