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A rant on orchid lighting information

This is a discussion on A rant on orchid lighting information within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Does it piss you off when you see so many untruths being peddled around online ...

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  1. #1
    sand_tiger86's Avatar
    sand_tiger86 is offline Senior Member
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    Default A rant on orchid lighting information

    Does it piss you off when you see so many untruths being peddled around online regarding light requirements for orchids? I can't count how many websites I see tell beginner orchid growers to place their Cattleyas/Vandas/Dendrobiums etc. in an Eastern window, or better yet, and Eastern or Southeastern window BEHIND a curtain or some other such obstruction. Where do these "experts" live? The sun? Pretty soon they'll be telling people stick their Renantheras in the refrigerator. I've had Phals that have refused to bloom in a straight Southern window, never mind Cattleyas, and I live in Texas (what I believe to be the hottest, brightest place on earth). There seems to be a lot of misinformation online regarding how demanding these plants truly are with their lighting needs. Put a Vanda in an Eastern window and watch it laugh at you...and then die.

  2. #2
    Halloamey's Avatar
    Halloamey is offline Senior Member
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    I agree there is misinformation on the net, but I do not see anything wrong about growing orchids in the eastern or the south-eastern window. It provides the right light wrt. the intensity, duration and the spectrum. Much better than a west or a northern window exposure. If your Phal. did not bloom in the eastern window, it was not due to lack of light but due to excess of it. Phals need a short period of short days and cooler temperatures to trigger blooming, if it is warmer throughout and there is more light they will keep growing vegetatively. And believe me there are brighter places, I have to use a 90% shadenet to get 4500 footcandles of light which is considered above average even for high light plants like Vandas and Cattleyas.

  3. #3
    Cjcorner's Avatar
    Cjcorner is offline Senior Member
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    My favorite "dumb orchid advice" is the ice cube watering method recommended on some phalaenopsis packaging. Well and the hidden knot of spagnum that hides in the middle of many plants otherwise potted in bark makes me nuts. Both can start me talking to myself about dumb people...lol!

  4. #4
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    I read somewhere , that if you ask 20 different people how they grow their orchids they will all tell you something different . I am slowly finding out that it seems to be a case of , do what works for you . I'm in the Caribbean . When I first got into orchids and asked around one grower said to me that you won't get phals to bloom here (period), "they require a drastic drop in temp that you won't get here . Then I go somewhere else that grows them on a larger scale and they tell me the total opposite . All that I had read online told me about night time temps as low as 18 C is required to start the spiking , I know that wasn't gonna happen here anytime soon . I say all that to say yes I agree with you Sand Tiger 86 , some of it is very misleading and none of it accounts for every individual situation and climate .

  5. #5
    sand_tiger86's Avatar
    sand_tiger86 is offline Senior Member
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    Everybody's growing environment is different, that's for sure! I'm trying to figure mine out, as it's the first summer since I've moved into my new place (which only has western exposure).

  6. #6
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    Well I'm with you on the figuring out myself . I really don't want to wait till something dies to think harder about it . What I do now is take what I read with a grain of salt . Anything that might sound plausible I might try but that's it . The whole light exposure thing is very confusing to me really . I don't understand the foot candles thingy . I do however understand bright indirect light and that's what I believe I give my babies and truthfully that's the only window I can get them in comfortably , it's a northeastern window I think and all I read said they should be in an eastern or western window or southern one with light shade . The point I'm trying to make is you have specific cultural surroundings and you just have to make due with what you have , and that's what I have been trying to do .

  7. #7
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    There are so many variables in a hobby like this that "absolute truths" are few in number. The best thing to do is just increase light gradually...again there are circumstances that can make higher than normal light acceptable one day and a near death sentence the next. I tend to err on the side of caution where light is concerned.
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  8. #8
    sand_tiger86's Avatar
    sand_tiger86 is offline Senior Member
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    Good for you! I tend to not pay a whole lot of attention to random google searches, myself. I listen to the folks around here. I've been lost on the footcandle subject since 2007 (when I started growing orchids). I just don't get it...plus, it's hard when you see that high light orchids (such as Vandas and Catts) want strong light, but no direct light, but not really much shade either. It all seems like a giant oxymoron. I suppose in their natural habitat that sort of lighting exists but in a home or outside here in Texas...I'm at a loss. All I know is I try to acclimate all of my plants (besides my Phals) to nearly full sun just so there's no mistake that I'm keeping them under-lit. It's a difficult topic, that of high-light orchids...and unfortunately they're my favorite because they're always the showiest and most exotic. I'd kill to live in your area! It's perfect for orchids, I would think!

  9. #9
    sand_tiger86's Avatar
    sand_tiger86 is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cakedaddy View Post
    There are so many variables in a hobby like this that "absolute truths" are few in number. The best thing to do is just increase light gradually...again there are circumstances that can make higher than normal light acceptable one day and a near death sentence the next. I tend to err on the side of caution where light is concerned.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    I agree with all this. The issue, where light is concerned (especially in Texas, and I'm sure California as well), is where there is strong light there is strong heat. Orchids love high light, but high heat is a completely different story and it's so difficult to have one without the other.

  10. #10
    espranch is offline Senior Member
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    Many, many years ago, I grew orchids inside my home in Minnesota. I found that several would NOT bloom unless they received a 20 to 22 degree drop in temperature at night. They kept growing, as Amey pointed out...But no buds/blooms came. I started to put them on the window ledge at night, and pulled down the shade behind them. Most spiked within three weeks...in their bloom season. Just something I learned over my years of orchid growing. Betty

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