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  #1  
Old 11-05-2014, 05:07 PM
trident00 trident00 is offline
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Tampa Florida outdoor growing.
Default Tampa Florida outdoor growing.

I'm fairly new to all of this, but certainly enthusiastic and willing to do some construction as needed.

I live North of Tampa Florida towards Brooksville. Temperatures get a bit cooler in the winter with light frost from time to time. Summers are HOT and HUMID.

I'm contemplating the need to build some kind of structure for moving many of my orchids outdoors. I'm not sure that I would need a full greenhouse, but I'm thinking twards a shade cloth canopy that might be able to be fully closed up for cold weather. I'd like to find something effective and economical.

Suggestions and insight much appreciated.
Cheers, Walt
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  #2  
Old 11-05-2014, 10:12 PM
epiphyte78 epiphyte78 is offline
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This thread might be of interest... Which orchids can I grow outside year-round in Tampa, FL?

Personally, if I lived in Tampa Florida...here's what I'd do...

1. Cross everything with Encyclia tampensis
2. Sow the seeds on all the trees
3. Let nature (cold, drought, pollinators) select the fittest ones
4. Repeat the process

After a few years people in Tampa would be able to grow at least a gazillion different varieties of orchids outdoors year around without supplemental protection or water. As a result...far more people would grow orchids and every tree would have at least one.

I'd get started by buying this flask (and this one as well) of Encyclia pyriformis crossed with Encyclia tampensis. E. pyriformis is wonderful. It's a teapot orchid...short and stout. The flowers are nearly as large as the plant itself. Hopefully somebody will buy those darn flasks before I do because I've spent way too much money on ebay plants this year.
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  #3  
Old 11-10-2014, 10:32 PM
CA2FLxplant CA2FLxplant is offline
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I'm not in Tampa, but if you drove almost due east you'd be in my neck of the woods. I'm originally from Ventura County, CA and worked in Van Nuys. Moved to FL in 2004. Wouldn't go back if they paid me - absolutely love it here!

I think I'll look into your ideas...haven't considered trying the seedling route - feels a bit intimidating, being responsible for all those babies! But, as you say, let nature take its course, survival of the fittest, how hard could that be...?

---------- Post added at 09:32 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:29 PM ----------

BTW...your flasks are SOLD! No, you didn't!! LOL.
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  #4  
Old 11-12-2014, 06:44 PM
epiphyte78 epiphyte78 is offline
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CA2FLxplant, you don't miss Van Nuys? hehe. How much better could central Florida really be?

Actually I sometimes dream about moving to the Southernmost part of Texas. It's almost tropical there. I'd like to buy a bunch of acres and start an orchid reserve dedicated to the conservation and proliferation of CAM epiphytic orchids. I'd attach a gazillion orchids to the trees and let nature select for the most drought/temperature tolerant individuals. The goal would be to try and move the fittest individuals across the country via reasonably sized "steps".

Here in California it's too big of a leap for epiphytic orchids to naturalize. All epiphytic orchids are summer growers... but here they'd have to adapt to being winter growers. Plus, it's a numbers game...the more seeds you throw at nature the more progress can be made. And I just don't have enough trees here to throw seeds at. It's not like I can walk around the neighborhood sowing orchid seeds on street trees. Well...I could...but then I'd probably have to explain to people why I was watering their trees.

Florida could work pretty well but Texas is nice because it's centrally located. Plus, ideally, there would be a satellite location a few hours drive across the border into Mexico. This would help function as "insurance". Kind of like an external hard drive to back up important files (orchids). If the main computer (Texas reserve) crashed (500 year freeze) then the most important files (orchids) could be easily restored.

Eventually every botanical garden in the US would have orchids growing on their trees! I think there's a chance that it might happen anyways...but I'd prefer if it happened sooner rather than later.

I didn't buy those flasks! Did you? Unfortunately the same flask is available again for the same way too reasonable price!

Please let me know if you decide to cross everything with E. tampensis and sow the seeds on every tree. I'd love to hear all about it. I'm really curious how readily the seeds of E. tampensis (both the species and its hybrids) germinate on trees in Florida. If they don't readily germinate...then it's either because the precipitation/temperature wasn't adequate...or the necessary fungus wasn't present. The absence of the necessary fungus would definitely be a problem. The solution would be to try and proliferate the fungus by attaching inoculated orchids to trees. I'm under the impression that orchid roots help the fungus colonize a tree. The more a fungus has colonized a tree...the more likely it is that the spores will land on adjacent trees. I have no idea how many orchids would have to be attached to trees in order for the virtuous cycle to be "jump-started". But you're probably on the right track when your neighbors mention that they have random orchids growing on their trees.

It's possible that other epiphytic plants besides orchids help to spread the necessary fungus. At the end of August my friend brought back a piece of Pyrrosia piloselloides from either Thailand or Cambodia. She gave me a small division and I attached it to a section of old trellis wood covered in New Zealand Sphagnum. I stuck part of the mount at an angle in a pot filled with bark and topped with a layer of Sphagnum. So the fern is both potted and mounted. Kinda hedged my bets. I thoroughly watered the fern and then I sowed some monopodial orchid seeds all over the surface of both the pot and the mount. The seeds were from...

P. vandarum x V. tricolor
R. imschootiana x R. gigantea?

Lastly I stuck the pot/mount in a zip lock bag under lights in my garage. The bag isn't completely sealed.

The fern quickly started to grow and last week I spotted one fat protocorm right next to the fern. It was just starting to put out its first leaf...which now looks a little wide for a vandarum cross. But perhaps the tricolor leaf is dominant.

I'm guessing that the orchid seed germinated as the result of fungus from the fern root. Although, the fern is attached to a twig...so maybe that's where the fungus came from. But I definitely wouldn't be surprised if some populations of Florida's most common epiphytic fern...Pleopeltis polypodioides...had the necessary fungus in their roots. So it's entirely possible that attaching this fern to trees might also help spread the necessary fungus.
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  #5  
Old 12-30-2014, 12:01 PM
HighSeas HighSeas is offline
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Hi Trident! I live just North of Tampa in Port Richey. Fortunately I have the Gulf to help temper the cold during the winter as it's warmer on the coastline than further inland. All of my orchids, about 300 of them, live outside where we built a "lean to" that's topped with polycarbonate. The sides are lattice. We built in fans for air circulation...which is a must here. Can't always depend on the breeze off the Gulf. I got a large (110 gallon-I think) water container from Rural King; hooked up an RO system to it and it's on it's own pump. (Thanks Ray!) When it gets below 50, I wrap it up in Visqueen (I'm in the process of having Eisenglass panels made) and put a few heaters in there. I can maintain temps well above 60 even on the coldest of nights. I have gravel for flooring under the benches and one side serves as a area just for my Vanda's. It works very well for them!
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  #6  
Old 12-30-2014, 05:00 PM
trident00 trident00 is offline
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I very much appreciate your response. I'm figuring some kind of shade canopy or lean to as well. I've got access to some tarp canopy frame material and have seen shade cloth tarps. I've also seen some fairly interesting polycarbonate twin wall materials that come on rolls. Still learning and planning.

So far the plants have been happy under metal halide with cool mist humidification and fans. Thinking I'm going to put the Vandas out and let them tough it till it drops to 50f at night.
Cheers, Walt
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  #7  
Old 12-30-2014, 09:20 PM
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AussieVanda AussieVanda is offline
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My vanda shade house may be of some interest to you. Would be easy modification to add side shade if required. It's in the greenhouse section of this board.
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Old 01-01-2015, 05:12 PM
trident00 trident00 is offline
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AussieVanda, I took a look at your vanda shade house post. I really liked it. It definitely gave me some ideas.

I'm a lineman for a power company, so immediately I was thinking powerline crossarm construction. It would be very easy for me to get used powerline materials to build something very similar. It definitely would not be as beautiful as what you have built.

Cheers, Walt
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  #9  
Old 01-01-2015, 06:50 PM
tucker85 tucker85 is offline
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You can do almost anything with a good quality shade cloth. Just find a way to string it up. Some people extend it out from a fence a wall with some poles. I saw one lady that bought a frame called a portable garage, which is some metal poles with plastic over it. She used shade cloth over the frame and kept the plastic cover to use in cold weather. My orchids are on a screened porch with a screen roof which is about 25% shade. 40% or 50% would probably be better. Amazon carries a product called Agfabric that I've seen some people use. It's not very expensive but I haven't tried it myself.
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Old 01-01-2015, 07:19 PM
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Another easy style is galv water pipes and zip tie the shade cloth on.
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