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I'm confused about leaf color

This is a discussion on I'm confused about leaf color within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; For a long time now, I've been operating under the assumption that dark, forest green ...

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  1. #1
    TundraKev's Avatar
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    Default I'm confused about leaf color

    For a long time now, I've been operating under the assumption that dark, forest green leaves on orchids are not a good sign. It usually means they aren't getting enough light. I know that's kind of a general statement, but humor me.

    I've really been pushing the light thing with everything I grow. I'm not frying stuff, but really giving things as much light as it looks they can take. It's worked well. I think my plants are growing better, flowering better and just seem healthier all around. Not too many of my plants have those really dark green leaves. I see more yellow green, celery green and even more purple.
    I've been told this what you strive for. It is a good thing.

    Yesterday, it struck me that almost all the plants I've received in trades or purchases this spring have had those really dark green leaves. I suppose I could list the names of all the plants, but I really don't want to. Again, please humor me.

    So what's up? All these new plants look really healthy, great growth, great roots and some of them have even been in flower. I know for a fact that some of the people I've received these plants from are very experienced growers and know how to grow orchids. The ones that were purchased also came from good places.

    What am I missing about this leaf color thing?

  2. #2
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    Orchidzrule is offline Senior Member
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    Kev,


    Far be it from me to offer anything definitive--you are certainly far more experienced than I am--but I will say this. You can grow a plant in less than optimal light. You can even bloom them. The plants will certainly look healthy if you're meeting their other requirements (temperature, water, humidity, nutrients). They probably won't, however, grow as quickly or bloom as frequently.

    I grow under fluorescent lights and (mostly) grow plants that are tolerant of low light. (In other words, Phals!) Yet, I've bloomed Oncidium species and intergenerics under these lights, as well as a couple of Dendrobiums. I think they would bloom much *better* if they had more bright light, but they do bloom.


    And, yes, some of them have fairly dark green leaves. Surprisingly, though, some of them have quite pale leaves (such as my Onc. ornithorhynchum) and I can't help but wonder if these ones are missing some micronutrient(s).


    BTW, many of my Phals have red-tinged leaves so I am confident they're getting enough light.


    Cheers,


    R2D2 (Rob)

  3. #3
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    Default

    The plants you recieved probably have been without light for a few days & the leaves will get darker from this treatment.Most of the Papphs i,ve recieved have dark green foliage but they soon lighten up after a few days/weeks in my conditions.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TundraKev
    What am I missing about this leaf color thing?
    The floppety foliage.

    Also in general, forrest-green leaves on growths that can't hold themselves upright and erect, that flop downward and look generally sad instead of perky, means there's not enough light. Now, to contradict that, older growths receiving plenty of light will start to get floppy as they age, especially after they've bloomed.

    Genetics also play a huge part: Phal hybrids grown right beside each other can behave vastly differently. One will retain its forrest green color and bloom like mad, while a different cross beside it will have leaves that are celery green and yellow because the light levels are too high for that particular plant.

    There's always going to be a leeway space for each type that you grow, between "appropriate, but could use more" (very dark green) and "appropriate but could use less" (celery yellow, or reddish purple on thick-leaved types), so ideally, you should try and stay somewhere between those two extremes. You'll still get nice spikes and blooms, and you'll keep the plant's foliage looking decent.

    The plants only adjust very gradually to their light levels, so you want to avoid the extremes to keep the things healthy all year long. For instance, a plant you've grown under such high light that it's celery yellow will do fine as long as the light remains high. But once winter hits and light levels go down, those leaves on older growths are not going to turn dark green again, and the plant is going to have a much harder time photosynthesizing. So, just something to stay aware of.....

  5. #5
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    Maybe I just need to do some digesting here. I'm still not sure about all this.

  6. #6
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    Here's my two cents.

    I'm not an experienced grower, but i've read in The Paphiopedilum Grower's Manual (i think that's the name) that you can grow paphs in pretty dark conditions. The advantages of this is that you get darker prettier leaves which brings out the spotting. The disadvantage is that the plants grow more slowly, and instead of flowering frequently, they flower only once in a few years. But, the biggest upside is that your spikes tend to be much longer and you have flowers of heavier substance.

    Thus you have to decide where along the contiuum you want to grow.

    Chances are that this has made you even more confused.

    Hope it helps

    Praveer

    Note: I have no experience whatsoever with these factors. All the info is out of the book

  7. #7
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    My equestris have dark green leaves and are in bloom , I grow the seedlings under 2 shop lights with full spectrum tubes , as the spikes enlongate the plant is lowered , hence darker green leaves .
    I think the lack of heat has something to do with it as ones under a lot more light also are darker green then some I have seen . I just had a Phal. given to me it is a light green , but lacks the lush factor . The leaves are not plumpish/ juicy lol . Gin

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    I think the dark green I'm talking about was most noticeable in some Dends and Milts I received. They were just so dark, but very, very healthy otherwise.

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