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  #1  
Old 01-01-2012, 04:49 PM
ElenaMarie ElenaMarie is offline
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Default Seeking advice from experienced growers re: orchids suited to my environment

Hi All!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful New Year's Day!

I'm enamoured of most orchid genuses (or is it geni?) but recognize that my particular situation is probably not suitable for all. I'd love some recommendations if you're amenable.
The environment

I live in zone 7b. Humidity levels in my area range from the rare 40% during the winter to well above 70% in the summer. We keep the temperature in the house between 68F in the winter and 76F in the summer. Light levels are pretty low. I've hung two standard grow lamps 18" above my Phals, which they seem to enjoy as supplements to east and north facing windows (one each.)
I've read that Miltoniopsis like the same conditions as Phals. I yearn for a Miltonopsis but am waiting to gain more experience.

Are there any other orchids that would do well in these conditions?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:20 PM
jrodpad jrodpad is offline
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Hi ElanaMarie,

Happy New Year. My growing conditions are almost identical to yours. Same temps, same humidity and same light. I supplement light too. I'm near Boston. Happily, I can grow almost anything with a little effort. If your growing phals and milts, you can also grow things like paphs, and phrags with no problem. With a bit more light added artificially, you can grow oncs. Complex onc hybrids do extremely well for me in these same conditions with a bit more light. If you supplement a bit of humidity when it's particularly dry (in the 40s), you can grow lots of other types. I do well with bulbos and restrepias and neosts with a bit of artificial humidity in the winter.

The only things that I stay away from are very high light plants, cool growers and very high humidity plants that do not suffer swings well. So vandas, certain catts, certain bulbos, masdies, draculars, etc. don't do well at my place. At least until I get a greenhouse. Some day.

Hope this helps.

-J
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  #3  
Old 01-01-2012, 05:40 PM
Paul Mc Paul Mc is offline
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Hey, I'm fairly close to your conditions as well, but grow a wide variety, some with great success and some not so great. I use supplemental lighting in my basement/greenhouse set up but window sills for everything else. Just experiment, do research and expect that you will have a few failures. It's all about being creative and trying new thigs for me!
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  #4  
Old 01-01-2012, 05:55 PM
King_of_orchid_growing:) King_of_orchid_growing:) is offline
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Miltoniopsis spp. or Miltoniopsis hybrids in general should do well for you if your temperatures don't climb above 76 F during the summers.

Phals actually can be grown warmer (somewhere around 85 F - 95 F during the days).

Phals and Miltoniopsis do not grow in similar conditions. Miltoniopsis tend to favor cooler conditions than Phals do.

I tend to believe you may have no problems whatsoever with certain Masdevallias that most people would have serious problems growing due to temperature issues.

I think because of your cooler conditions you can grow the coveted species of Masdevallias such as Masd coccinea and Masd davisii with no problems whatsoever. You could consider trying out a Masd coccinea and see if you can manage growing them.

Although an easier species of Masdevallia to try out would be something like Masd vietchiana.

You could also try Masd infracta, which is a temperature tolerant species and should be a better fit for a beginning Masdevallia enthusiast.

I think you can also grow Dracula spp. fairly well too. The only problem being is that the low humidity may prohibit them from blooming well.

Dracula spp. tend to be cool to intermediate growing for the most part.

You could try something like Dracula radiosa to start with. Maybe even Dracula ripleyana.

There are numerous cooler growing orchids in the Oncidium tribe as well.

Cyrtochilum spp. would do great where you are. Many of them are high elevation cool to intermediate growers. Several species are also very large flowered.

Even Cuitlauzina spp. would do well.

Some of the higher elevation or cooler growing Maxillaria spp. would work for you as well. Something like Max speciosa would do good for you.

Some cool to intermediate growing Vandas can work too. A couple that come to mind are Vanda coerulea and V. coerulescens. There are a few others as well.

Some Pleurothallis spp., Scaphosepalum spp., or Restrepia spp. will do good for you too. If these are to your liking, I can recommend some that would be ideal for a beginner.

There are many more orchids that will suit your growing environment very nicely without too much additional amending of your greenhouse. It's just a matter of what your tastes are.
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  #5  
Old 01-01-2012, 10:16 PM
ElenaMarie ElenaMarie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by King_of_orchid_growing:) View Post
Miltoniopsis spp. or Miltoniopsis hybrids in general should do well for you if your temperatures don't climb above 76 F during the summers.

Phals actually can be grown warmer (somewhere around 85 F - 95 F during the days).

Phals and Miltoniopsis do not grow in similar conditions. Miltoniopsis tend to favor cooler conditions than Phals do.

I tend to believe you may have no problems whatsoever with certain Masdevallias that most people would have serious problems growing due to temperature issues.

I think because of your cooler conditions you can grow the coveted species of Masdevallias such as Masd coccinea and Masd davisii with no problems whatsoever. You could consider trying out a Masd coccinea and see if you can manage growing them.

Although an easier species of Masdevallia to try out would be something like Masd vietchiana.

You could also try Masd infracta, which is a temperature tolerant species and should be a better fit for a beginning Masdevallia enthusiast.

I think you can also grow Dracula spp. fairly well too. The only problem being is that the low humidity may prohibit them from blooming well.

Dracula spp. tend to be cool to intermediate growing for the most part.

You could try something like Dracula radiosa to start with. Maybe even Dracula ripleyana.

There are numerous cooler growing orchids in the Oncidium tribe as well.

Cyrtochilum spp. would do great where you are. Many of them are high elevation cool to intermediate growers. Several species are also very large flowered.

Even Cuitlauzina spp. would do well.

Some of the higher elevation or cooler growing Maxillaria spp. would work for you as well. Something like Max speciosa would do good for you.

Some cool to intermediate growing Vandas can work too. A couple that come to mind are Vanda coerulea and V. coerulescens. There are a few others as well.

Some Pleurothallis spp., Scaphosepalum spp., or Restrepia spp. will do good for you too. If these are to your liking, I can recommend some that would be ideal for a beginner.

There are many more orchids that will suit your growing environment very nicely without too much additional amending of your greenhouse. It's just a matter of what your tastes are.
WOW I would've never guessed I'd be a candidate for so many varieties with this environment! Alas, I haven't a greenhouse, just the human house in which to grow them, but I'm seeking every nook and cranny that might be suitable. I've seen pictures of the Masdevallia--are they gorgeous or what???--but the others you wrote of are new to me. Time to go hunting for pictures!

As far as tastes go. . ..well, let's just say I tend to become overly ambitious far too soon. I'm trying to be more methodical and rational in the orchid realm. I really enjoy the Phals for the repeat blooms and varied colors. I'd LOVE to be able to grow Cattleya for the beautiful shapes but I'm not sure whether they'd do well here. I read somewhere that they and Cymbidiums require lower temperatures in the winter than I can provide. Hubby would have kittens if I dropped the temp to 50 in the winter to make the orchids happy. He's flexible but not that flexible, KWIM?

I just realized that I have a large orchid nursery about an hour's drive from here--Carter and Holmes, have you heard of them?--and perhaps they have varieties of Cattleya and such on hand that are proven suitable for this area.

Wow, this is just wonderful King! Thanks so much for the expertise!

---------- Post added at 09:58 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:49 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrodpad View Post
Hi ElanaMarie,

Happy New Year.
Thank you! I hope your day has been very good.

Quote:
My growing conditions are almost identical to yours. Same temps, same humidity and same light. I supplement light too. I'm near Boston. Happily, I can grow almost anything with a little effort. If your growing phals and milts, you can also grow things like paphs, and phrags with no problem. With a bit more light added artificially, you can grow oncs. Complex onc hybrids do extremely well for me in these same conditions with a bit more light. If you supplement a bit of humidity when it's particularly dry (in the 40s), you can grow lots of other types.
I wish the humidity around here were 40% on a regular basis. In my 20 years living here I've seen it that dry perhaps 30 days total. It's usually well above 50% and during the warm half of the year it's typically 70% or higher.

Do you know if orchids are sensitive to day length? I ask because I wonder if the Phals are being tricked into thinking it's spring, and perhaps I ought to shut down the supplemental light sooner than I am. Right now I'm letting it run from 8am to 9pm. What do you think?

Quote:
I do well with bulbos and restrepias and neosts with a bit of artificial humidity in the winter.
So many new things to learn! I'm creating a list of genuses I need to look up. I am keeping the two new Phals on humidity trays while they're recovering from the moss-induced mess but generally I haven't needed to add humidity at all for the Phal I've had a couple of years.

Quote:
The only things that I stay away from are very high light plants, cool growers and very high humidity plants that do not suffer swings well. So vandas, certain catts, certain bulbos, masdies, draculars, etc. don't do well at my place. At least until I get a greenhouse. Some day.

Hope this helps.

-J
Absolutely it helps--thank you so much!

---------- Post added at 10:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:58 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Mc View Post
Hey, I'm fairly close to your conditions as well, but grow a wide variety, some with great success and some not so great. I use supplemental lighting in my basement/greenhouse set up but window sills for everything else. Just experiment, do research and expect that you will have a few failures. It's all about being creative and trying new thigs for me!
I might have to ease my husband into the idea that a $30 plant is an experiment.

I'm sure I'll be asking a LOT of questions here. You guys have been wonderful! Hope you have a great 2012!

---------- Post added at 10:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:00 PM ----------

King_of_orchid_growing --

Is this the Masdevallia vietchiana you mentioned? Does it come in different colors? I'm seeing a solid red and this both titled with the name. Both are, of course, gorgeous.



---------- Post added at 10:16 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:08 PM ----------

So I'm searching for photos of the suggested orchids and ran across this image. It's labeled Restrepia brachypus.


Last edited by ElenaMarie; 01-01-2012 at 10:02 PM..
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  #6  
Old 01-01-2012, 10:34 PM
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Brenda Aarts Brenda Aarts is offline
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[QUOTE=ElenaMarie;460774]:

I just realized that I have a large orchid nursery about an hour's drive from here--Carter and Holmes, have you heard of them?



OMG....Elena, you kill me....Carter and Holmes.....yes I've heard of them, they are incredible. My recommendation would be to sell sell your house and purchase one that has south/west windows.....or build a greenhouse and buy all the cats you can from them and grow them well!!! JK...but you could look into some cooler/intermediate growing ones....I grow a fair number of cats....but with either a good source of natural sunlight or supplemented.

As for Masdies, I can have similar conditions as you and I killed 2 very quickly....before deciding to give up on them. You really never know till you try, but I would recommend you experiment with them 1 at a time. I also have not had much luck with Miltoniopsis, Miltonia types.

I would recommend that you check into some coelogynes...I grow quite a few and some are cooler/intermediare growing.

Anyways, that's my worth good luck and let us know how you're making out with stuff.
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  #7  
Old 01-01-2012, 11:20 PM
King_of_orchid_growing:) King_of_orchid_growing:) is offline
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Yup, Masdevallias are beautiful orchids! Many people love them for their unique shapes and forms and their often bright colors.

The pic of the Masdevallia you uploaded is that of Masd vietchiana. It is just one of a few variants. There is also a solid red-orange one, and a solid orange one. There might even be a light orange variant of Masd vietchiana as well, not too sure...

Restrepia brachypus is a nice one to have too. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to get a hold of. They are not terribly difficult to grow, and blooms quite easily.

Another easy to grow Restrepia sp. is Restrepia muscifera. Restrepia muscifera blooms almost non-stop. Flowers are smaller than Restrepia brachypus and held much closer to the leaf.

Restrepia spp. have the added advantage of also being relatively small sized orchids as well.

As Brenda Arts mentioned, cool to intermediate Coelogyne spp. are good choices too. Many have decent sized flowers and multitudes of them per spike.

Jrodpad has a good suggestion with the cool to intermediate growing Paphiopedilum spp. and Phragmipedium spp. as well. If you like these, many of the Chinese Paphs are well suited to cooler temperatures. Some examples are Paph armeniacum, Paph micranthum, Paph malipoense. Most Phrags grow cooler. One affordable Phrag is Phrag besseae.

Another choice would be Cypripedium spp. You may choose from native US Cyps, European Cyps, Japanese Cyps, or Chinese Cyps. A couple of species of US Cyps you might be interested in would be Cypripedium reginae or Cyp kentuckiense. Chinese Cyp recommendations would be either Cyp franchetii, Cyp macranthum, Cyp plectrochilum, or Cyp henryi. A European Cyp would be Cyp calceolus. A Japanese Cyp would be Cyp japonicum.

Another Oncidium relative that does well in cool temperatures are Odontoglossum spp. Many of these are also high elevation Onc types that have decent sized flowers.

If you are good at growing spring bulbs like daffodils and such, you might be interested in an easy to find, and very affordable terrestrial orchid that originated from China called Bletilla striata. I've sometimes found these in the garden section of places like The Home Depot or OSH. I've also found these for sale in local nurseries and large chain garden centers such as Armstrong.

Pleione spp. might be another choice for you as well.

As you can see, you're not limited in terms of what you can grow, you just have to know what kinds of orchids grow cool to intermediate.

Last edited by King_of_orchid_growing:); 01-01-2012 at 11:37 PM..
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:29 PM
GardenTheater GardenTheater is offline
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"Hubby would have kittens if I dropped the temp to 50 in the winter to make the orchids happy. He's flexible but not that flexible, KWIM?"

Just think how much you and he would save on heating bills..

Seriously, we have our furnace on a timer and thermostat so that it's cool at night and warm and toasty when we get up in the morning. The orchids do like that, but not the cats.
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:45 PM
King_of_orchid_growing:) King_of_orchid_growing:) is offline
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If you like Cattleya spp. or Cattleya-like flowers...

For Cattleya sp:

Try Cattleya maxima.

For Cattleya-like flowers, try epiphytical Laelia spp. Many Laelias are tolerant of cooler temperatures. Laelia purpurata and Laelia tenebrosa are easy to obtain.

There are lithophytic Laelia spp. that tolerate cool conditions as well, but I'd wait those out a bit until you have a bit of experience.
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:27 AM
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The plural of "genus" is "genera".

Your USDA growing zone has very little to do with what you can grow, as your plants will probably be indoors, and all the zone tells you is what the typical outdoor low temperature will be.

Phals are hot growers, that are somewhat tolerant of cooler temperatures; miltoniopsis are cool growers that can (in some hybrids) be tolerant of slightly warmer temperatures. That is not "similar conditions".

Plants that like it very warm and with subdued light include stuff like many bulbophyllums, and there are SO many interesting species and hybrids of those - and they tend to be fairly fast-growers - you might give them a consideration.
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