Sunday, October 23, 2011

Orchid Winter Watering

The weather has been deceptively nice this fall. But I have learned the hard way that even in September the plants start to need less and less water. Watering has to be cut back. I know this, yet I was surprised to find that there wasn't a single potted orchid in either the Sonoma greenhouse or the outdoor area that needed water yesterday.

Laelia lobata Coerulea 'Paulo Hoppe' - Flower photo by Richard Lindberg

The outdoor area is just about as it will be through the winter. The primary group of the outdoor plants is, of course, the Mexican Laelia species. In my collection, that is Laelia anceps. Besides that I have some Laelia purpurata and a half dozen pendant and cascading Cymbidiums that will join them.

Talking to Steve Christoffersen this week I learned that my Laelia lobata plants can be outside also. This is good news because it is a large species. The Sonoma greenhouse is starting to look full as the last of the plants that were outdoors through the summer go back inside.

Laelia lobata grows in Brazil on the coast on rocks exposed to full sun and ocean spray. It is cool to hot growing, fragrant and blooms in spring.

4 comments:

  1. "yet I was surprised to find that there wasn't a single potted orchid in either the Sonoma greenhouse or the outdoor area that needed water yesterday."

    I wish I was that sure on watering. Somehow, I usually find myself making a judgement call. Especially for those in bark. John

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  2. That was a judgement call too. Pencil test for bark combined with the finger 'steak' test for sphagnum. When there is ANY give in a sphagnum surface it is too wet to water. It has to be hard, 'this steak is too over cooked to eat' stage.

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  3. All my orchids grow indoors and now heating is on for winter.
    All my phals are in rebloom mode and dend in regrowth shoots.

    Should I still cut down on water and feed during wintertime?

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  4. There will be a change in the amount of water needed. My experience with my greenhouse tells me that I need to test for the need to water rather than following a schedule. As winter approaches the number of hours of light decreases.

    If you are having active growth, then treat your orchids accordingly. Just realize that the risk of over watering is always there.

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