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  #1  
Old 10-07-2019, 09:40 AM
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monivik monivik is offline
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How to know what Orchid is right for your conditions?
Default How to know what Orchid is right for your conditions?

So this is a beginner question for sure...

So I've always been that type of person who would just buy a plant, either orchid or something else on a whim. I would just buy something because I looks nice.

Recently as I've been doing research and try to learn why my plants always die... and I'm already learning a lot... I've found that one should first try to find out the conditions of your home, and see whether a particular plant actually is suitable for you.

Oh so yes, this is regarding keeping plants in your house, small scale, since I don't have a greenhouse or anything like that.

Another thing, as someone recently pointed out in a thread on this forum that my room temperature is too low for Phalaenpsis orchids. I figured ok, I have to look more into this then.

The issue right now is that it's fall here and fall/winter is cold, dark and rainy here. So first of all not so much daylight.

Second, temperature wise we don't heat up the house during the day as there's mostly no-one home. So the heater wouldn't go on until evening. Besides that we live in an old-fashioned building, apparantely back then no-one thought about building houses with a good insulation against the cold. At this very moment the daytime temperature indoor is 20C=68F, but I know that it can go down to 19C=66.2F or if it's extremely cold outside even 18C=64.4F.

My windows are either east or west. Now on the east side is the bedroom window, for some reason this just happens to be the coldest place in the house. I just measured the temperature by this window and it's 17C=62.6F indoors! The truth is that I've kept my Paphiopedilum Pinocchio by this window every fall/winter for years and for some reason it seems to be doing fine. It's grown so big I think I will have to split it as it hardly fits in the pot anymore.

So my question is: Would you say that in my conditions I can better go for cold growing orchids? And in this case what type of orchids would you recommend?

Another question. Is getting a special plant growth lamp or light an idea? Do these give of heat as well or only light? It's just that I've got a shelf with a whole bunch of Phalaenopsis (the regular type, the ones you can get from any garden store) and in the summer the light on this spot is ok as it's away from direct sun, but I'm starting to think that it may not give enough light winter time. As I just read somewhere that not enough light could be a reason for not blooming.

Also just to let you know what type of orchids I have right now: so the regular Phalaenopsis is the one I've got the most of. Then there's Brassia Eternal Wind, Oncidium Sweet Sugar, a Miltoniaopsis and the Paph I just mentioned. Oh and a hybrid of some sort that we've concluded earlier probably has some Oncidium and Ondontoglossum in it.

I've just come to realize that the Macodes Petola that I just recently bought is actually warm growing. So I've just moved it to my "warmest" window (though even this one at 20C might be too cold for it but it's the best I've got for now).
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  #2  
Old 10-07-2019, 12:58 PM
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I would say that you'll probably have reasonable success with cool/intermediate plants that don't need a great deal of light, unless you're willing to supplement that. Miltoniopsis or zygopetalum might fit the bill.

You might also consider "seedling heat mats" upon which to place your warmer-growing plants. A low-wattage mat requires no controller, and can boost the root zone temperature of the plants by 6°-10°C.
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  #3  
Old 10-07-2019, 01:41 PM
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I recommend checking out a local orchid society and see what types of orchids people are successful with. They should be able to give you all the tips and tricks you'll need to get started.
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  #4  
Old 10-07-2019, 01:44 PM
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Ray is right about cool to intermediate temperatures. Cold growers generally require either a cold winter dormancy or night time temperatures not terribly above freezing. Another genus you might consider would be Gongora, as long as you have space to hang them (they get long, pendulous flower spikes) and avoid the warmer growing members of the genus
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  #5  
Old 10-09-2019, 07:19 AM
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monivik monivik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray View Post
I would say that you'll probably have reasonable success with cool/intermediate plants that don't need a great deal of light, unless you're willing to supplement that. Miltoniopsis or zygopetalum might fit the bill.

You might also consider "seedling heat mats" upon which to place your warmer-growing plants. A low-wattage mat requires no controller, and can boost the root zone temperature of the plants by 6°-10°C.
Thank you for your suggestions. I actually really like the heat-mat idea, I had never heard of this before. So I immediately looked for one online, I've just ordered one. Just a small one, and I thought just for at least my already existing orchids that want a bit more warmth. I think a good idea for my baby Macodes Petola (I'm so in love with this cute little thing, it's tiny, I'm excited I got it I hope it will grow up soon) and others...

---------- Post added at 05:15 AM ---------- Previous post was at 05:09 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by isurus79 View Post
I recommend checking out a local orchid society and see what types of orchids people are successful with. They should be able to give you all the tips and tricks you'll need to get started.
Thank you I might go back that orchid nursery I visited two weeks ago, not now, but sometime in the future. They seemed very helpful.

---------- Post added at 05:19 AM ---------- Previous post was at 05:15 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Subrosa View Post
Ray is right about cool to intermediate temperatures. Cold growers generally require either a cold winter dormancy or night time temperatures not terribly above freezing. Another genus you might consider would be Gongora, as long as you have space to hang them (they get long, pendulous flower spikes) and avoid the warmer growing members of the genus
Thank you all for your replies. I will look into this...
All of it helpful.

At least I know the right place to place the Paph and the Miltoniaopsis.
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  #6  
Old 10-09-2019, 07:36 PM
Shadowmagic Shadowmagic is offline
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To me your temperatures seem perfect for phalaenopsis.

The only important thing to remember with orchids is they need a drop in temperature from day to night.

Some require big drops of 10 degrees C which make them hard - others require only small drops of 4 degrees C which makes them easy.

Picture your house, you would not like it if it dropped from 20C to 10C every night which is what some orchids need.

Others need 30C to 20C .

Phalaenopsis are among the easiest because they only require a 4 degree drop and usually most houses do this as they get warmed by the sun during the day and the temps cool down at night - usually 22C to 18C at night. They can even tolerate going down to 16C and 15C for short periods.

What I look for is how low the night time temperature needs to be and if I can achieve that. The day time temperature I can achieve with heat lamps and heat mats but cooling a too hot environment is much harder.

Just a word of warning on heat mats, they constantly heat and have no setting to stop once the right temperature is reached- you would need a thermostat for that which would keep it from overheating but they are expensive and not worth it for one plant.

So just have a thermometer on the heatmat for the first few days and check it does not overheat the plant too much. If it does you can attach a timer to it instead of a thermostat to reduce the heating intervals (is a lot more headache than an automatic thermostat - and as temperature change in your house the timer intervals need to be adjusted)

If you are lucky enough you ordered yourself a heatmat that is just powerful enough to heat your plant without overheating it as it is but that is big pot luck in my experience. You can also place the orchid higher up from the heatmat but heatmats compared to heat lamps lose their heat fast the further away you go from it. Standing a vase on the heatmat would actually trap some of the heat if too much is lost to the surrounding air. It will require a bit of experimenting to find what works best
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  #7  
Old 10-10-2019, 03:39 PM
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camille1585 camille1585 is offline
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On the assumption that you speak Dutch, the NOV (Nederlandse Orchideeën Vereniging) has a very active Facebook page (NOV-Orchidee). Even without Dutch, they'll reply in English if needed. If you are interested in joining the society, there are a lot of regional societies, listed on their website.

A few thoughts, since I'm also in the Netherlands:
  • Cool growers would work well from fall to spring, but you also have to take into account the summer weather, with the more frequent heat waves we now get. I'm guessing that your old badly insulated house also got really warm this summer - at my place it was nearly 30C some days, and not much better at night! I used to have some true cool growers, and they all died or massively suffered over the past 2 years due to the heat. Most Dutch people who grow cool growers seem to keep them in a small backyard greenhouse, but that's just the impression I get from the facebook group.
  • I lived in a similar badly insulated Dutch house in the past, also quite cool during the winter, with north east and west windows, and my orchids did fine for the most part (assorted hybrid Phals, some Paphs and Oncidium types), as you noticed with your Paph. I did move my warmth loving Phal species to some shelving under lights for the winter. Also, what seemed to help what that all the windowsills were just above the radiators. So however little the heating kicks in during the day, the plants were getting some bottom heat from that, effectively mimicking a heat pad.
  • I mentioned lights. Even now in my modern, well insulated appartment with only south facing windows, I have supplemental light for my high light orchids in the winter. I've been using these for the past 18mo https://www.trinacria.nl - secret jardin tled, a mix of cool and warm fixtures, for orchids (and also tomato seedlings in the spring) and am happy with them. Being LEDs they give off little heat, but are cheaper to run than standard TLs.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadowmagic View Post
To me your temperatures seem perfect for phalaenopsis.

The only important thing to remember with orchids is they need a drop in temperature from day to night.

Some require big drops of 10 degrees C which make them hard - others require only small drops of 4 degrees C which makes them easy.

Picture your house, you would not like it if it dropped from 20C to 10C every night which is what some orchids need.

Others need 30C to 20C .

Phalaenopsis are among the easiest because they only require a 4 degree drop and usually most houses do this as they get warmed by the sun during the day and the temps cool down at night - usually 22C to 18C at night. They can even tolerate going down to 16C and 15C for short periods.
That's actually false when it comes to Phals, and I was quite surprised when I learned that! What is actually important is an overall decrease in temperature, and not a day night difference. I actually learned that from visiting a commercial Phal nusery in the Nertherlands during my studies. Phals are kept at a rather constant high temperature to promote good plant growth and prevent spiking, and spiking is then induced by lowering the average temperature by a couple degrees. Check out the AOS article series (pdfs are online if you google the title) called Growing the Best Phalaenopsis. They're about commercial Phal culture.
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  #8  
Old 10-10-2019, 06:02 PM
Shadowmagic Shadowmagic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camille1585 View Post
That's actually false when it comes to Phals, and I was quite surprised when I learned that! What is actually important is an overall decrease in temperature, and not a day night difference. I actually learned that from visiting a commercial Phal nusery in the Nertherlands during my studies. Phals are kept at a rather constant high temperature to promote good plant growth and prevent spiking, and spiking is then induced by lowering the average temperature by a couple degrees. Check out the AOS article series (pdfs are online if you google the title) called Growing the Best Phalaenopsis. They're about commercial Phal culture.
I will have to check that out because it does go against what I try to achieve. I thought a drop every day was needed for their metabolism.

Do you think it is because phalaenopsis are so adaptable that they don't even need this drop or do you think every orchid could be grown at one set temperature and just a drop to encourage flowering when needed?

I am leaning towards the former since I know they can tolerate so much more than some of my more sensitive ones...

Whether I am wrong or whether phals have been bred to not need a drop in temp is debateable of course but if they don't need it that is good to know.

---------- Post added at 04:02 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:50 PM ----------

quote from the AOS article which is quite interesting:

Traditionally, growers use a 77
F/68 F day/night (25 C/20 C) temperature
regimen for spike initiation. However,
studies at Texas A&M University have
shown that mature phalaenopsis can
spike at constant day/night temperatures
at or below 77 F (25 C). In fact, plants
spike faster at a constant 25 C than at
20 C. After four to five weeks at these
temperatures, plants can be grown at a
wider range of temperatures (63 F to 79
F, or 17 C to 26 C) to time flowering
with a specific marketing date.
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  #9  
Old 10-10-2019, 06:11 PM
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In the Phal business (really big, it has surpassed Poinsettias for dollar volume in the US) timing is everything - the plant that blooms a week before Christmas (or Mother's Day) is worth much more than the one that blooms two weeks after a holiday. So the professionals hold the temperature up to inhibit blooming until the suitable number of days before when they want flowers, then drop the temperature for a few days, then readjust it back to where they want it. They typically do this with water tubes in the benches - they can control the temperature of the circulating water to get the temperature that they want for the plants. A whole lot more investment and trouble than would be reasonable for a hobbyist. I have found that my Phals bloom when they want to, get the normal temperature variation within the house or greenhouse that comes with the season. If they're getting sufficient light duration, they bloom.

Note too that a purchased Phal may have had its bloom schedule manipulated to match the sales cycle - and may take a year or two to get adjusted to its natural cycle. Can't be forced. Patience is the key.
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  #10  
Old 10-17-2019, 07:15 PM
Shadowmagic Shadowmagic is offline
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I know this post has been discussed but I am constantly learning as I go along and this post stuck with me as I knew what I had posted was valid however I did get called out on it so after lots of research I have found a great site explaining phals in the greatest detail I have found.

Be warned though this is a treasure chest of information:

Advanced Phalaenopsis Care: Summer vs Winter Blooming Phals >> Here—But Not
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