Winterising Your Orchids
arrival of winter means a little extra care is required for your orchids. Here
are a few tips and reminders to consider when winterising your orchids. There
are a few essential items to remember: temperatures, watering, light levels.
Certainly your location, immediate climate and environment affect these
First and foremost, remember that short days and decreased sunlight will affect
and slow the growth of your orchids. Cooler temperatures and longer nights mean
your orchids will require less water than in the summer months. Plants will not
dry out as quickly and there is less evaporation of water. Vandaceous orchids
may do well on a watering schedule of 4-5 days per week versus every day during
the summer. Cattleyas may thrive on 1-2 days per week depending on the humidity.
Of course, whether your orchids are grown outdoors or inside in a heated home
may change the watering schedule of your orchids. Take time to assess how the
orchids are tolerating the change of weather, growing conditions. Despite the
variations, your plants will tolerate less water during the winter months. If
you have moved your orchids inside the home for the winter, you will need to
water a bit more frequently. Dry heat causes the plants to dry out and shrivel.
Mist your orchids every day to maintain full and supple leaves.
It is important to keep in mind that as plants require less water during this
period of slowed growth, they also require less fertiliser. Cut back on the
fertilising schedule. Using an occasional Flower booster will help set the
flower spikes especially on phalaenopsis.
The sun is
at lower levels during the winter, yet your orchids still require light. Move
your plants around to give them optimal light as possible. Even though your
orchids like a brief rest period during the winter, they still need adequate
light. Give your plants as much light as possible while the days are short. This
will help to warm your orchids naturally with the sunlight. You may want to
remove some coverings, plastics, or shade cloth on green houses to allow a
little more light on your orchids. Light is an essential component for your
orchids even during the winter months. Note how the sunlight falls on your
orchids, the shadows and the length of time your plants get sunlight. Position
your plants accordingly and be prepared to move them around as the winter months
vandas and other sun loving orchids should be placed where they will receive
maximum light throughout the day. Orchids are less apt to get sunburned during
the early months of winter. Take care to notice the sun angles and light
intensity as mid-May and June arrive. Sunburn becomes a real risk during these
months as the sun's brightness intensifies. You may need to shield or move your
orchids to compensate for the sun as winter progresses.
Plants are sensitive to extremes in temperatures and severe cold can injure your
orchids. However, cool growing orchids should be quite happy with the arrival of
cool temperatures! Take care to move plants away from windows, plastic barriers
and avoid having the leaves touch windows. The cold glass will damage the leaves
if leaves are touching the windows. Individuals growing orchids outdoors must be
cautious of freezing temperatures. Orchids will suffer damage if temperatures
stay in ranges between 30 - 40 F degrees. Vandaceous orchids are extremely
susceptible to cold spells. Develop a plan on what to do for your outdoor
orchids. Decide whether you will bring them indoors if they are cold sensitive.
This may be quite a feat if you have many orchids. It is not always possible to
move all your orchids indoors when the temperatures reach critical marks on the
thermometer. For outdoor orchids, water them thoroughly in the early evening to
help prevent damage from frost and cold temperatures. During these critical
periods, it is all right to water in the evening. Spray the leaves and roots
well and spray again in the morning following the cold night. Decide whether it
is possible to protect these orchids beneath cloths, etc. Never let plastic
coverings touch your orchids as the cold plastic may cause damage. Watch the
you grow orchids in the home, take care to mist your plants and provide adequate
humidity. The heating systems used in homes are generally a drier heat and may
cause the plant to shrivel. Position the orchids so they are not directly in
front of heating vents. This can cause dehydration. Check your plants. Another
helpful tip is to place your plants in trays filled with rocks and water to keep
the humidity higher around your plants. Green houses may offer a bit more of a
controlled environment during winter, yet fans and heating systems are also
Winter months affect various orchids differently. The cool growing orchids will
definitely get a jump start with the cold spells. Phalaenopsis, paphiopediliums,
etc. will begin producing flower spikes vigorously. Stake the spikes to allow
for the best orientation of the flowers. Don't turn the plants while the spike
is maturing as this will cause the flower spikes to grow in funny angles. Check
your phalaenopsis and help the spikes grow upward.
like to be staked completely upright and straight which will enhance the
presentation of the flower. Cattleyas love high light and may develop weaker
spikes during these months when the light is at a lower intensity. Stake the new
growths and spikes to provide support. The winter months may cause the flower
spikes to be at their weakest. So take time to stake all flower spikes properly
to prevent the spike from breaking and to ensure flowers are displayed
Continually check your orchids for any signs of insect infestation. Mealy bugs
and aphids love the emerging spikes and live within the bracts. Insects are
often found in the folds and undersides of the leaves. Be diligent about
inspecting your orchids so that any infestation can be dealt with quickly. The
winter months may be somewhat hard on the plants and keeping them healthy is
important. Always clean your tools and keep the growing areas tidy.
Check your equipment to ensure fans, heating systems are functioning properly.
Observe sides of greenhouse, slat houses and coverings and determine if
any preventative maintenance is needed. Repair rips, holes as needed. Move
plants away from glass sides.
Winter is usually a time when plants rest, yard work comes to a standstill in the Northern states and is drastically reduced in the Southern states. However, orchids still require a bit of maintenance and care to keep them healthy and prevent loss of plants due to cold, harsh winter conditions. Light, water and temperatures are important elements during the winter months. Have a plan on how you will care for your orchids and what steps you will take to keep them alive and healthy. It is helpful to watch the weather reports so that you are prepared for the forthcoming changes in the weather patterns. A little effort now to safeguard your orchids will ensure healthy plants year round.
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