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Orienting orchids in your growing area

This is a discussion on Orienting orchids in your growing area within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; This may be a first...starting a new thread as opposed to just replying. Here goes... ...

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  1. #1
    catfan is offline Senior Member
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    Default Orienting orchids in your growing area

    This may be a first...starting a new thread as opposed to just replying. Here goes...

    I wanted to share my experiences as well as get some feedback on positioning or turning orchids so that they face the sunlight, usually (in our northern himisphere) towards the south.
    We all know that in nature, orchids don't have the option of turning themselves (though there is some phototropism, or growing towards the light)...they grow where they land as seeds, kekis, etc., and grow upwards with their leaves facing the direction of the most sunlight. I try hard to keep my plants oriented so new growths emerge on the north side, and new leaves will face south.

    I've also noticed that at times, when a plant is not thriving and all other remedies have failed to help, I'll take a good look at how the plant is positioned. Sometimes just turning the plant the way it would naturally be oriented seems to help promote growth, and the growths themselves will be more orderly if left in the correct orientation...upright, and not sprawling all over the place.

    Its not always easy to determine how a plant should be oriented, especially with some Onc. and especially vanda types. Monopodial orchids usually have a back and a front. Theoretically, vandas should grow with their leaves oriented in a east west position, with the leaves slightly tilted to the south to take the most advantage of the natural path of the sun. But at times it is very hard to tell which way the leaves are tilted, especially with seedlings. Sometimes my problem vandas will start producing new growth if I turn them 180 degrees; I had their natural front facing away from the sun.

    So my suggestion to fellow growers is...Check the orientation of your plants; sometimes they will be happier and look better if their oriented properly. And what about specimen plants? Does anyone rotate them regularly to get a uniform 360 degree appearance?
    Any thoughts or comments are welcome.

  2. #2
    Diane's Avatar
    Diane is offline Can't Re-Member
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    Interesting concept. I have only one Dend, a mini that I inherited from someone who bought it in bloom and then didn't want to take care of it afterwards. But with my Catts I would have to say that I have never seen orientation make a difference. Most of my Catts have initiated new growth by this time, and several have initiated multiple new growths. The multiple growths are going in different directions, with the exeption of one plant that has 4 new growths all growing out the same way. I do turn my Catts to get the buds growing the best way, once the buds are initiated.


    I'll be very interested to hear what , Rob, Kev and BD have to say. Not only for their valuable input, but because they are always so entertaining!

  3. #3
    Orchidzrule's Avatar
    Orchidzrule is offline Senior Member
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    Diane,


    First of all, you're way too kind including me in the group you mention. I'm afraid I know very little about orienting orchids. I know that one should not change the orientation of Phals once a spike gets initiated, or the buds will point themselves haphazardly. I *assume* this applies to other orchids, too, but you know what they say about what happens when you assume! (Or if you don't, it makes an ass of u & me!)

    Cheers,

    Rob

  4. #4
    Diane's Avatar
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    Rob;

    Anyone who can get orchids to grow in 'Winterpeg' has got to be some kind of guru .

    The first time I went there I was impressed that you were so progressive you all had electric cars........Then someone explained that was to plug the car to a heater to keep the engine from FREEZING!!!!! Freezing engines??? By the way, what was that weird plastic thing, kind of long with a flat spade on one end and a brush on the other, that was in the rental car ??

  5. #5
    LJA's Avatar
    LJA
    LJA is offline OrchidTalk Tech Admin
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    As far as vandas go, left to themselves without any support but their baskets, as they grow, get taller, and start to flop over, they'll change their growing orientation to point their crowns toward the brightest light. I'll take a pic tomorrow--we've got one that looks practically corkscrewed from doing that--kind of silly, actually.

    Oncidiinae seem to naturally put out new growth to point in the brightest direction, so I try not to turn them, figuring they know what they're doing better than I do. If I just bought a plant though, I agree--I would definitely face it so that new growth is oriented toward the light, or if it's a Phal, so that the faces of the leaves are aimed lightward, not away.

    Like Rob was saying though, it's also important to not turn the plant once buds have developed on a spike. Otherwise you can really mess up their presentation, or at least, mess up what judges would consider to be their most pleasing presentation.

  6. #6
    RSJ
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    Default Perfect timing on this topic.

    I have a Blc that was described to me as near blooming size when I was offered it, and when I received it... . It looks like a compot gone awry with a very bad hair day. None of the pb's are upright, they are growing horizontally outward from a very condensed and twisted center and of course now the more mature ones all are putting out new shoots....from the BOTTOM side of the pb's, growing horizontally also, covering the surface of the medium with their growth. Gawd. How do I get that mess to start growing upright so I can have something that is manageable to water, to hopefully bloom, to divide if needed? I was thinking that forcing the orientation with light would be my only hope, putting the thing directly under flourescents for a while so that all the light comes soley from above. That will delay blooming since I don't have HD lights, but I think this thing is not nearly "near blooming size" in it's current condition. What do you think, can I force upright growth this way?

    As for specimen sized plants, I have a very large Wilsonara in a West window which is putting out new growth and spikes, and until the spikes arrived, I was turning it every couple of days to ensure the new growths coming from all sides continued to grow more or less upright rather than twisting unnaturally to reach the light. I don't turn once the spikes have come out, since I don't want curly-que spikes.

    RSJ

  7. #7
    Ennui's Avatar
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    Default

    I also haven't paid much attention to orientation
    of non-blooming/budding plants.
    My big grief, in regards to orientation of bloomers, though,
    is having the patience to wait for them to fully open,
    and set,
    before I reorient them so the blooms are facing into the
    room, and not towards the window
    (facing outside).
    I've got this besseae, and every little bud keeps turning
    towards the window,
    and I twist the pot a little bit more clockwise.
    After 4 blooms, it's done a complete 180 now.
    After watering,
    the non bloomers get put back in their spots with
    the nicest side toward the inside of the room,
    and the 'thin' side toward the window.
    I don't want lopsided plants,
    so I like to randomly rotate them.

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