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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