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Old 11-26-2022, 08:15 AM
MateoinLosAngeles MateoinLosAngeles is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2022
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Default Cool growers in SoCal? – Zygopetalum, Vuylstekeara, etc.

Hey Everyone!

I'm very curious about expanding my collection and what's missing is "cool" growers. I specifically am interested in getting some Zygopetalums and Vuylstekeara orchids.

I live in Los Angeles as you might've guessed. Temperatures average 85ºF/70ºF in Summer and 70ºF/50ºF in Winter. It's pretty dry and hot out here.

I've had some success with Phalaenopsis orchids but do better with Cattleyas. I didn't find success with Phals until I transitioned them all to S/H, my Cattleyas do pretty well in a mix of bark, perlite, charcoal and some loose sphagnum strands, potted in baskets. I water Catts once-twice a week in winter and three-four times a week in Summer. I consistently water S/H Phals once a week throughout the year.

I use heat mats for all my orchids which has worked great, even for my Brassavola even though this one needs milder temperatures. My "hot grower" Phal Bellina has been doing great with the same setup as my other Phals (extremely happy in S/H) without needing any extra heat. Finally, I supplement my north-facing windows with artificial lights.

Overall, plants are happy.

I assume that orchids being tropical plants, "cool" growers are still somewhat "warm." I understand some of the orchids I'm looking into tend to grow in high elevations where they get drenched during quick showers of extremely pure water almost daily and temperatures might be closer to an average of 65-70ºF during the day and 35-40ºF at night.

So my question is: is it possible to grow cool growers like Zygopetalum or Vuylstekeara in a normal Los Angeles home environment?

Perhaps I shouldn't use heat mats for them but still the plants will rarely experience temperatures below 60ºF and will sometimes have to endure temperatures above 80ºF, even 100ºF during a heat wave.

Any tips would be appreciated!

Last edited by MateoinLosAngeles; 11-26-2022 at 08:21 AM..
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Old 11-26-2022, 09:11 AM
Keysguy Keysguy is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Lower Florida Keys
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I think you might be OK as long as you give them plenty of water during a hot spell.

If you're really concerned, try starting with hybrids crossed with a warmer growing species.

I have a Galeopetalum Starburst 'Parkside' and a Zygoneria Adlaide Meadows down here in the Keys and they do great for me. It's a lot more humid here than in LA as well as the typical constant trade winds but I bet you can grow them.
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Old 11-26-2022, 01:09 PM
estación seca's Avatar
estación seca estación seca is offline
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Night temperatures are the most important. Many plants qill tolerate high day temperatures if the following night is cool. In your climate the most difficult time will be when the very hot,0-5% relative humidity Santa Ana winds are blowing. Water after dark so evaporative colling cools your plants.
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Old 11-26-2022, 02:13 PM
rbarata rbarata is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2015
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Location: Abrantes
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My climate is similar to yours but not the same. It has a huge difference which is being more continental opposed to a more coastal as yours. It means I get frequent highs over 40ºC (104 F) and near or bellow freezing in winter.
The main advantage, just like Estacion said, is that I get lows of 16 to 19ºC in summer nights (61 to 66 F).
Your advantage, to compensate the eventual small diff between day/night temps is humidity. Mine is always bellow 20% in summer.
That being said, I grow Zigos outdoors year round. My advise would be to get one and try. Just water them a lot all year and never let them get direct sun.
I also grow Cambrias but indoors...never tried them outdoors.
I think I would sugest some Cymbs if you have room for them.
Meteo data at my city here.
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Old 11-26-2022, 08:45 PM
Jeff214 Jeff214 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Currently "actual rain!" San Diego
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I agree that you just have to try a couple and see what works. my galeopetalum (with both cool and warm growing parents) do ok in the shade in So Cal. My Odonts, Miltoniopsis, sophronitis did not fare well...
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cool, growers, orchids, temperatures, vuylstekeara

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