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DiskDePhragmentor 01-30-2021 02:24 PM

Outdoor orchids for Inland Empire, California
I have been looking online for lists of orchids that would do well outdoors (year-round or nearly so) in my location. Most of the lists I have found appear to be geared towards the coast but I am well over an hour from the beach.

I've seen some threads that list plants for some of the valleys of LA, but they were mainly monopodials.

Anyways, I have a small courtyard over which I put 55% aluminet, and plan to place misters to try to bring the summer temps down a bit. The netting will be doubled up in a manner to reduce peak sun hours, so effectively 70% shading during the worst part of the day. Misters will be set up on timers. It's more of a heat/dry tolerance issue for me than it is cold tolerance; I can always bring plants inside for a night or two.These are my potential candidates for outdoor growing:

Anancheilium chimborazoense
Anacheilium cochleatum
Cattleya longipes
Cattlianthe Faikon Ball
Denbrobium aphyllum
Den kingianum
Den moniliforme
Den Wave King
Doritis pulcherrima
Encyclia rhynchophora
Enc tampense
Epicatanthe Butterfly Kisses
Epidendrum cilare
Epi magnoliae
Epi parkinsonianum
Guaranthe aurantica
Holcoglossum wangii
Laelia anceps
Laelia Ancibarina
Laelia tenebrosa
Laelia purpurata
Lyonara Inge Graf
Maxillaria tenuifolia
Myrmecophila christiniae
Oncidium cebolleta
Rhyncholaelia digbyana

I'd be happy to hear what others are growing, or whether I am pushing my luck if I try to place these outside. Thanks!

Roberta 01-30-2021 04:36 PM

With shading and plenty of water, most of those should do well for you. The shade cloth will also provide a bit of winter protection... you'll find which plants do and which don't. Cymbidiums, of course, can be added to the mix, they handle the extremes better than just about everything else. L. anceps is also tough as nails.
You can take a look at the Index of Plants on my website to see what I grow outside, but I am coastal so temperatures are not as extreme as yours. Do a bit of research on the habitats for those species, to get a sense of the temperature range they experience in nature.

estación seca 01-30-2021 08:18 PM

What will be your maximum temperatures? I mean the high temperatures on that one or two hottest days of the summer.

Does it cool down at night where you live?

Low humidity during hot weather will be the biggest problem you face. Some of those plants won't mind at all, and some will need extra help.

Keysguy 01-30-2021 09:49 PM


Cymbidiums, of course, can be added to the mix, they handle the extremes better than just about everything else.
Exactly what I was thinking.

Roberta 01-30-2021 10:11 PM

Having lived in that part of southern California for about 25 years, I'm pretty familiar with the climate. It was before I got into orchids, so I don't have direct experience with growing them there. But my very first orchids (Cyms) came from a co-worker who lived in that part of the world, so I know Cyms are fine. And I also know people who grow L. anceps outside in those inland areas. I think the OP has the right idea, with Aluminet shadecloth (which also reflects heat) and misters - one can manage quite a bit of heat with sufficient water. In summer it's very dry so misting and watering will provide significant evaporative cooling. The Aluminet also reflects ground heat back toward the plants in winter (only a few degrees, but that can be enough) The OP also describes a fairly small area - with the shade cloth, adding a small heater in winter is likely to manage the occasional freezing nights.

philiplowrey 02-02-2021 09:42 PM

Check out some other Australian Dendrobiums (not just Kingianum) and see if you like the looks of them. I love Speciosum, it looks really neat even when it's not in bloom

estación seca 02-02-2021 11:59 PM

I bought a Den. xsuffusum in mid November 2020 from Andy's. It is (kingianum x gracilicaule). I noticed it had been grown in a very sunny spot. I put it on a bench on a patio where it got about 4 hours of direct winter sun, and temperatures sometimes close to freezing at night - much warmer by day. I brought it inside on nights when frost threatened. I watered when dry, and it got some cold winter rain. It is forming about a dozen spikes now. My winters are very much like Inland Empire winters.

oregold 03-06-2021 04:37 AM

I grow orchids in inland empire ca, mostly cattleya, australia Dendrombiuum and vanda. They grow well outdoor.

Roberta 03-06-2021 11:11 AM

First, Welcome!
Cymbidiums, of course, would also grow well in the Inland Empire area of southern California.

katsucats 06-03-2021 02:11 AM

I'm actually very interested in this topic. I've often heard of people growing orchids outside in southern California, but most people who tend to prescribe it seems to live closer to the coast. The further inland we go, the less warm air blows from the Pacific, and more cold air from the mountains, even though we're all USDA 10A.

I'm actually half way in between, in the Rowland Heights area. I prefer to use Sunset zones for better granularity. The zone here is 20 (Los Angeles Region | Sunset Western Garden Collection). I get the feeling that most people who grow outside are zones 22-24. I've heard people talking about it from Long Beach, Orange County, down to San Diego. Where Andy lives is zone 24, a milder coastal climate. Trent/Rogue Orchids, when they were around, was zone 23 in Placentia. Norman's/Orchids.com is zone 18 in Pomona, but his grow spaces are completely sheltered. Here in the SGV, our cold days are a few degrees cooler than the coastal areas, and we have a few more frost days. And I bet in Inland, there are even more.

I've heard that Australian Dendrobiums, some Stanhopeas, Cymbidiums can handle temperature down to 40. But what about 35? I wonder if there are anyone with experience specifically in zones 20 and under that could share?

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