Temperature

Orchid Care and Maintenance : Falling Orchid Flower Buds

Things have been so hectic around here lately (family friends came to Florida for a visit) that I’ve gotten a bit behind in answering my orchid care emails.

So, rather than respond to everyone individually, I figured I could respond to emails right here on the blog.

Today’s Orchid Care and Maintenance Question is from Sheila in upstate New York.

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Question: My orchid flower buds shrivel and fall off my orchids before they open?  Why?

Orchid, Orchids, Bud Blast

Answer:

Great question Sheila!  Healthy orchid plants that have buds fall off the stem before they have a chance to open are suffering from “bud blast”.  This can be caused due to rapid changes in environment and even air pollutants such as smoke, paint thinner or aerosol sprays and ethylene gas that is released from ripening fruit.

Are you moving your orchid around the house daily?  Is there a cold or hot draft that might be affecting it?  Or is it sitting on the kitchen table near your fruit bowl?

You can read a bit more about how temperature changes affect orchids in my earlier post: Orchid Flowers and Bud Blast.

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Have an orchid related question you’d like me to answer?  Send me an email!  Check out the Contact Carol tab above for more info.

Don’t forget to sign up for Free Orchid Care Tips with my pal Ryan.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

Orchid Care, Orchids, Orchids Care, Growing Orchids, Orchid Care and Maintenance

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Orchid Care & Ice Cubes :Why You Should Not Use Ice To Water Your Orchids…

There is a big debate going on out there in the world of orchid care. The topic? Orchid care and ice cubes.

I know this method works for some, but most AOS orchid growers I’ve spoken to live by the drench and drain method. (You can read my post on watering orchids if you haven’t already read it: Orchid Care: How to Water An Orchid.)

So, what’s so wrong about watering your orchid with ice?

Officially….nothing. I couldn’t find any hard evidence that proved watering your orchid with ice would cause serious damage to your plant.

Why should you not use ice to water your orchids?

There are a host of reasons….

1. Most experienced orchid growers will tell you that the first major reason would be the sudden change in temperature. A rapid change in temperature can cause orchid bud blast, that’s why I recommend watering orchids with room temperature water.

2. Cold and wet roots can invite pests and diseases. These problems can spread from plant to plant.

3. Overwatering Orchid/Underwatering Orchid issues. Ice cubes vary in size and the environment varies from one windowsill/counter/shelf to another.  So, using 3 ice cubes every other day might be too little for one orchid and too much for another.

My orchids have been happy for years using the drench and drain method.  I’ve watched them bloom year after year and have had few (if any) water related problems.

What do you think about using ice cubes to water your orchids?  Does it work for you?

Of course, everything you need to know to about orchid care is covered in Ryan’s Orchids Made Easy book. (Including a few VERY important things you need to watch out for involving watering and temperature— and one thing even experienced growers often overlook.)  Sign up for his Free Orchid Care newsletter HERE.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

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How to Care for Orchids in the Summer Q & A

How to Care for Orchids in the Summer Q & A

Question: Can orchids take the blazing hot summer days we have been having lately? — Max C.

Answer: For the most part, epiphytic plants of all kinds love the summers with their high humidity, gentle breezes and warm temperatures.

But this year might be the exception, as triple-digit thermometer readings have become the norm. Orchids are commonly found in tropical cloud forests that rarely exceed 90 degrees.

Cultural extremes can cause botanical stress whose symptoms vary from yellowing leaves to shriveled pseudo-bulbs to droopy flowers. Though permanent damage is not likely to occur, plants may get “stunted” for a year or two before they regain their vigor.

Orchids are slow growers, so they need optimum conditions so they will bloom annually. Daily temperatures of 105 degrees for weeks at a time will certainly stress most orchids.

There are several options when summers get unbearably hot:

•Keep the plants in the shade during the heat wave. Although the light levels may be lower than normal, the temperature will be reduced.

•Spray the leaves with tepid water several times a day (cold water will shock plants) being careful not to let any phalaenopsis crowns remain wet at nightfall.

•Increasing the air movement around the plants can lower leaf surface temperatures. Hanging plants from tree limbs or using an outside fan can assist with this effort.

•As a last resort, bring the plants inside until seasonal weather returns.

You’ll find an extensive temperature chart detailing the ideal temperature fluctuations of over 20+ orchids on page 26 of Orchids Made Easy.  Learn more about his free growing orchids email newsletter here.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

+ Arthur Chadwick Richmond Times Dispatch

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Orchid Care and Maintenance Tips : Temperatures for Orchids (Part II)

As I briefly mentioned in Part I of my Temperatures for Orchids series, a change in temperature should always coincide with a change in humidity.  For example, you’ll want to make sure there is sufficient humidity when increasing temperatures and vice-versa. 

You can keep things in check by using a simple hygo-thermometer.  A hygo-thermometer lets you check humidity and temperature levels at a glance.  I bought the Extech 445702 Hygro-Thermometer and Temperature Monitor years ago and now own three of them.  It makes monitoring the humidity and temperature environments of your orchids really easy.   The digital LCD display is large and easy to read.  The device is portable or can be mounted on the wall–near your orchids.

Extech 445702 Hygro-Thermometer and Temperature Monitor

If you’d like to just monitor the temperature, you can’t go wrong with the waterproof pocket-sized thermometer.  The great thing about this little guy is that you can take fast, accurate temperature readings with just a push of a button.   It’s great if you have to have to monitor a few orchids in different locations.  At less than $20 each, they make great gifts.
Thermometer - Waterproof Stainless Steel Pocket-size Thermometer

These are my favorite devices for monitoring the temperature/humidity levels for my orchids.  Do you have any favorites you’d like to share?  Send me an email at carol (at) orchidcarelady (dot) com.  Hope to hear from you soon!

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :-)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

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Orchid Care and Maintenance Tips : Temperatures for Orchids (Part I)

If you follow me on twitter, you’ll know that I spent the weekend working in the garden.  My hands are a bit sore from all of the weeding and trimming I did, but I’ve managed to type my latest Orchid Care and Maintenance Tip.  This one is all about temperature–hope you enjoy it! :-)

One of the most frequently asked questions from orchid newbies is “How do I get my orchid to rebloom?“  You’ll find all sorts of solutions on the internet dealing with water, fertilizer, maybe light, but rarely do you see someone share what I feel is the true secret to getting your orchid to rebloom….TEMPERATURE!

It is a fact!  Proper temperature is EXTREMELY important for orchids, and here’s why:

Orchids will ONLY bloom when they are maintained in their optimal daytime and nighttime temperature ranges!

That’s right!  Orchids enjoy different daytime and nighttime temperatures–they need these daily fluctuations in temperature to grow and bloom! (Just like eggs need to incubated within a narrow temperature range in order to hatch!)  See my post on bud blast to learn what happens when temperatures fluctuate too much for orchids.

Orchids are typically classified into three different temperature categories: WARM, INTERMEDIATE and COOL.  You know I like to keep things simple around here, so I’ve typed up a chart that shows the ideal temperature range for each category.  (You’ll notice that daytime temperatures are at least 15 F higher than nighttime temperatures.)

ORCHID TEMPERATURE CATEGORIES

  • WARM (Vanda and Phalaenopsis varieties)
  • 65 F or higher (Nightime)
  • 75 F to 90 F (Daytime)
  • INTERMEDIATE (Cattleya and Paphiopedilum varieties)
  • 55 F to 60 F (Nighttime)
  • 70 F to 80 F (Daytime)
  • COOL (Cymbidium and Dendrobium varieties)
  • 45 F to 55 F (Nighttime)
  • 60 F to 70 F (Daytime)

* You’ll find an extensive temperature chart detailing the ideal temperature fluctuations of over 20+ orchids on page 26 of Orchids Made Easy.  Learn more about his free orchid care email newsletter here.

Just a quick reminder that a change in temperature should always coincide with a change in humidity.  Make sure there is sufficient humidity when increasing temperatures and vice-versa.

That’s all I have for you now.  Don’t miss Part II of my Temperatures for Orchids Series.  I’ll be showing you the two handy little devices I use to monitor the temperature and humidity levels for my orchids.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :-)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

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Cymbidium Orchid Care Instructions

Follow these simple cymbidium orchid care instructions to keep your cymbidium babies happy, healthy and blooming!

Cymbidium Orchid Care, Orchid Care, Cymbidium Orchids

Cymbidium orchids are prized for their long-lasting sprays of flowers, used especially as cut flowers or for corsages in the spring.

Cymbidium Orchid Care, Cymbidium Orchids, Orchid Care, Orchids

Light is important for growing cymbidiums. They need high light but cool temperatures. Leaves should be a medium to golden green in color, not dark green.

Temperatures are another critical factor in flowering cymbidiums. Cymbidiums requre day temperatures of 75 to 85 F (or more) and night temperatures between 50 to 60 F. (Day and nighttime temperatures can be 5 degrees lower during the winter.)

Water to provide a constant supply of moisture to cymbidiums. Water heavily during the growth season (spring and summer), keeping the potting material evenly moist. Reduce water when the pseudobulbs complete growing in late summer. (The pseudobulb is a storage organ derived from the part of a stem between two leaf nodes.)

Humidity should be kept at 40 to 60 percent. Keep air circulating to prevent orchid pests and diseases.

Fertilizer should be applied during the growth season (spring through late summer), high nitrogen fertilizer (such as 30-10-10) is used. In late summer, use a high-phosphorus, blossom-booster fertilizer (such as 10- 30-20), to help form bloom spikes.

Potting is usually done in the spring after flowering, usually every two years or when the potting medium decomposes. See pages 55-61 in Orchids Made Easy for clear step by step instructions and illustrations to show you how to repot an orchid.

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :-)
The Orchid Care Lady

Carol the Orchid Care Lady

These cymbidium orchid care instructions are taken from my AOS guides and from a series of Orchid Care Cheat Sheets I received for free from Ryan.  They’ve come in so handy when I just want a quick refresher on orchid care!

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Phalaenopsis Orchid Care Instructions

Phalaenopsis orchids are among the easiest growing orchids for beginners!  These beauties can flower throughout the year (peaking in the spring) and are incredibly easy to care for as they enjoy much of the same indoor conditions found in our homes.  Just look at these flowers bloom!

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care Instructions

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care Instructions : (You might also find my post on the anatomy of a phalaenopsis orchid helpful.)

Light They grow easily in a bright window, with little or no direct sunlight.

Temperature Phalaenopsis should be above 60 F at night, and range between 75 and 85 F or more during the day.

Water Because they have no major water-storage organs other than their leaves, they must never completely dry out. Phalaenopsis orchids should be thoroughly watered and not watered again until nearly dry.  Want to know how I water my orchids?  Check out my Orchid Care and Maintenance Tips : Watering Your Orchids post for more details on my drench and drain method.

Humidity The recommended humidity is between 50 and 80 percent.  You an adjust humidity levels in your home by setting the orchids on humidity trays or on gravel, partially filled with water, so that the pots never sit in water.

Fertilizer It is best to fertilize your phalaenopsis orchid on a regular schedule, especially if the weather is warm, when the plants are most often growing.  Twice-a-month applications of high-nitrogen fertilizer (such as 30-10-10) are appropriate where bark-based media are used. Otherwise, a balanced fertilizer is best. When flowering is desired, a high-phosphorus fertilizer (such as 10-30-20) can be applied to promote blooming.  You can also dilute the fertilizer into your orchid’s water, making it a regular part of your watering schedule.

Potting This is best done in the spring, immediately after flowering. Phalaenopsis orchids must be potted in a porous mix. Potting is usually done every one to three years. Mature plants can grow in the same container until the potting medium starts to decompose, usually in two years.

To repot, remove all the old medium from the roots, trim soft, rotted roots, and spread the remaining roots over a handful of medium in the bottom of a new pot. Fill the rest of the pot with medium, working it among the roots, so that the junction of the roots and the stem is at the top of the medium.

Want to learn a few tricks of the trade?  Sign up for Ryan’s Free Orchid Care Email Tips–he shares his best secrets with his readers.  You’ll learn secret orchid care techniques expert growers use to super-charge their plants!

Warmest wishes from sunny Florida,

Carol :)
The Orchid Care Lady

These phalaenopsis orchid care instructions are taken from my AOS guides and from a series of Orchid Care Cheat Sheets I received for free from Ryan.  They’ve come in so handy when I just want a quick refresher on orchid care!

Orchid Care, Orchids, Orchids Care, Growing Orchids, Orchid Care and Maintenance

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