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South Florida dilemma

This is a discussion on South Florida dilemma within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; ...

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  1. #1
    AlexUS is offline Member
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    Alex Kuzmin
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    Default South Florida dilemma

    Hi guys, we moved to South Florida in December last years from Wisconsin. My family, my orchids and I all enjoy new climate so far. Now my cattleyas get fresh air 24/7 along with sun and natural humidity. They seem to enjoy Florida so far as they grow faster and stronger and look more natural on sunlight than when you use high pressure sodium lamps. No more humidifiers, BUT.
    I grow orchids in a little “greenhouse” although it is pretty open to air and only roof covered with PVC film and one of the sides. The whole “greenhouse” is inside of the screened lanai by the pool. So here is the problem in winter we had moderate temperatures and rain may be once a week, but not it is rainy season and we get rain almost every day. It is also hot and humid. You cannot rely on weather forecast as they say chance of rain 30-40%, but heavy rain can start any minute. When I try to protect orchids from rain by covering the “greenhouse” with PVC film it is becoming hot inside with poor circulation of air and leaves can get hot to touch. When I keep it open substrate is wet all the time. Most of my cattleyas in clay pots with lava rock and bark, a few in baskets with cork and lava rock. So far I did not have any problem with root, but I afraid that can happen if substrate is wet all the time. As a possible solution I am considering repot most of the orchids to baskets and just keep them open for rain. What do you think? Floridians, your experience highly appreciated. Thanks a lot.

  2. #2
    78Terp's Avatar
    78Terp is offline An Avant Gardner
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    Have you seen evidence of roots looking over watered? Or are you just looking to be proactive before any roots suffer? Living in a dry environment, I have no experience on knowing how quickly dry happens for orchid roots in humid locations.

  3. #3
    AlexUS is offline Member
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    I am more proactive. There is no damage so far.

  4. #4
    78Terp's Avatar
    78Terp is offline An Avant Gardner
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    I'm thinking, no experience in it, that the orchids will not be hurt, unless physically damaging rain. I think the roots handle it. I think it is hot enough to dry the roots enough to take more wet without damage. I'd watch for issues before making a change. Again, no experience in it.

    ---------- Post Merged at 04:04 PM ----------

    I have a cattleya in s/h that is doing ok (considering I almost killed it long before s/h). s/h was an experiment since it was in such a bad way before moving it into leca that there was little to lose. While the old growths look bad from the near death experience, it grows.

  5. #5
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    I moved to the Florida panhandle from Northern California last summer. My problem this season has been the complete opposite! I'm watering almost daily because I am getting little rain and it's miserably hot. I only have three Cattleya types. Laelia jongheana, a Laelia hybrid (Santa Barbara Sunset), and an Encyclia that I guess to be an alata hybrid of some sort. I've got the jongheana in hydroton and bark mix, the SBS hybrid in straight granite rock, and the Encyclia in a basket with bark, coco fiber, and broken pot shards. They did fine during heavy rains last year. It's all about the drainage. As long as they are in good well-draining media and get some airflow, they should be OK. Mine look better after a few days of soaking rain.
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  6. #6
    Nataliwind's Avatar
    Nataliwind is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexUS View Post
    As a possible solution I am considering repot most of the orchids to baskets and just keep them open for rain. What do you think? Floridians, your experience highly appreciated. Thanks a lot.
    Hi Alex,
    Good to see you here!
    Don't worry about rain. No need to protect your orchids from ordinary Florida summer showers. Rainy season is not a problem as long as you have a good air circulation. Try to "play" with media. I grow my Catts in clay pots, bark-charcoal-perlite mix. This mix dries well and quite fast. Don't forget to put a lot of shipping pop corn on the bottom of your pot. It makes a really good drainage. I completely agree with Jason - drainage is crucial.
    Good luck!

  7. #7
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    coeruleo is offline Night Bloomer
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    what about crown rot and stuff like that? i thought the floridians had to protect their plants from the rain to avoid bacterial rots and such? doesn't the rain just wash away any pesticides, fungicides, etc?

  8. #8
    AlexUS is offline Member
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    Thanks Nataliya. This is my first year in Florida and I am trying to learn all new tricks.

  9. #9
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    stateless is offline Senior Member
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    I agree , the thing to do is have a fast draining mix , I use hydro, charcoal and some tree fern.

    ---------- Post Merged at 04:50 PM ----------

    Coeruleo as long as you have good ventilation you are usually ok, I have only had major problems from mixes not draining or a plant's location is bad where runoff water is hitting it, spraying in summer can be tricky I just check local radar .

  10. #10
    Nataliwind's Avatar
    Nataliwind is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by coeruleo View Post
    what about crown rot and stuff like that? i thought the floridians had to protect their plants from the rain to avoid bacterial rots and such? doesn't the rain just wash away any pesticides, fungicides, etc?
    Well, things like that happen. My major problem is the Black Rot. When it happened first time, I had no idea how fast and dangerous it is. I think I reported here about my Black Rot disaster in 2011. That time I lost 50 Catts for two days. I learned a lot since and always keep my eye on my collection. There are a few simply rules: keep growing area clean, remove debris and grass so splashes of water would not contaminate plants; periodically clean shelves and surfaces with bleach solution; be sure that there is good air movement in your growing area; remove infected plants from entire collection as soon as you spotted first signs of Black rot. Since 2011, I had a few splashes of Black rot but they were not devastating.
    I protect my plants from rain only occasionally, when it rains non stop for several hours and I can see my plants got too much of water. I did it when tropical storm Debbie was here and once or twice last year. Typical summer rains are not long lasting plus everything dries very fast here.

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