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Outside for the Summer?

This is a discussion on Outside for the Summer? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Having an abundance (won't say over-abundance because I plan on getting more) of orchids in ...

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  1. #1
    murgdan's Avatar
    murgdan is offline Senior Member
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    Default Outside for the Summer?

    Having an abundance (won't say over-abundance because I plan on getting more) of orchids in the house...and preparing for a 3 week vacation to Italy and Greece in a few weeks (yippee!) has inspired me to kick a few of my heat-tolerant plants outdoors for the summer to simplify their care. I didn't do this last summer because, well, frankly I didn't have 100 plants to worry about and it was easier to keep them indoors.

    I have a neighbor who will be watering all out outdoor stuff while we're gone so they will be cared for. I have a shaded area under some trees where there was a swing post--and yesterday we put a grid over the top of that so we can hang quite a few plants under it. I have already put out some of the dendrobiums because I am sure they won't mind being outdoors, but I'm not sure which ones to put out with it. The ones I am thinking of putting out are the following, just want to be sure they should be ok (since I won't be here to watch them everyday). Of course this is only in May so the temps shouldn't go above 85 or so anyway...
    *Stanhopea (I have 2 in baskets...new...so I don't know a lot about them)
    *Epidendrum (Pacific Girl)
    *Brassia
    These should do fine outside, right?

    Do you think having him water every other day would be sufficient? Haven't had to deal with outdoor watering of orchids...

    I'm leaving the rest of them indoors with my stepmother who doesn't know anything about orchids (couldn't find anyone else to babysit), but with a pretty simple setup for her---I drilled out some holes over the tops of some of those under-bed storage containers, and will put the orchids on that so she can just water them without moving them and the runoff will go in the bottom of the storage container so they don't sit in it (and maybe add a little to the humidity). Since the media is all different I'm just going to tell her to water every 5 days. I figure for 3 weeks some water is better than no water even if it isn't done in my time-consuming-cart-them-to-the-sink-manner!

    I'm leaving my paphs with another friend because it's a little more important not to let them dry out too much and she has some experience with orchids (but not enough that I want to dump a room-full of plants on her).

    Maybe I will even get some spikes out of my 3 week abandonment!
    Thanks for any advice you can offer me...

  2. #2
    catfan is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Your orchids will love being outside. It depends on how dry your climate is, if it rains, and your potting medium as to how often to water...Make sure to secure your plants from being knocked or blown over, and keep them on the shady side till they get used to the outdoors...

  3. #3
    Mehera's Avatar
    Mehera is offline Just Another Senior Moment
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    Sounds like you have put a lot of thought into this! I can't speak to outdoors orchids, because I haven't been brave enough to try it yet--and my conditions are very different than yours. My recent vacation was only two weeks, but I came back to no problems at all and many new blooms. The larger pots didn't seem to care at all, and I'm sure they could have gone 3 wks. I did move them a bit farther from the light than they usually are.

    Little plants in seedling pots were my biggest worry, but I batched them together and put them on trays and left a quarter inch of water in the whole tray. They wicked part of it up and the sun evaporated the rest and they were dry but fine by the time I returned. For three weeks, you could probably get by with someone watering a setup like that only once in your absence.

    Have a great trip--sounds absolutely wonderful!

  4. #4
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    Cjcorner is offline Senior Member
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    Murgdan;
    After reading everyone's replies I feel soooo much better about my upcoming trip for a week...now if i want to stay a few extra days I won't worry about my plants so much.....Guess I'll stick them on my shady east facing porch and have my girlfriend stop by to water the porch once while i'm gone.
    This forum has been a great help, my plants thank you all.
    Connie

  5. #5
    Diane's Avatar
    Diane is offline Can't Re-Member
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    Watering outdoor plants in Atlanta in the high humidity, you may want to make it every 3rd day, but then again, if it's hot enough, every other day probably won't hurt. Have a great trip. Italy has wonderful old ruins and art to look at and Greece, especially the islands, is a blast!!

  6. #6
    murgdan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice---I already put several outdoors and having been in the 80's the last few days I noticed they really dry out pretty fast...since they've had a good trial run I'm not as nervous about it.
    One week and counting till the trip! I've been to Italy lots of times but Greece will be a first---so there will be lots of pictures! (We are going to a few islands)
    Ok--back to what I'm supposed to be in here doing...studying for a final exam....

  7. #7
    sadie's Avatar
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    Have fun on your trip!

    (Sorry, I am absolutely no help on the orchids outside issue because I've never done it. )

  8. #8
    jrod is offline Member
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    I did it all last summer, and the plants were quite happy. Your biggest problem, though will be critters. I fought slug and insect damage all summer, and wound up repotting every single plant when they came back in. This was due to an infestation of wood lice/sow bugs/pill bugs. It turned out that a lot of what I thought was slug damage was actually insect damage from these guys. They're awful for chewing root tips on all plants, and leaves on phals. They also just love to live in moist bark. The root damage continued long after they were brought indoors, but repotting and picking out all the bugs by hand got rid of the problem. Just be wary of this before you expose your plants to outdoor pests.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by jrod View Post
    Just be wary of this before you expose your plants to outdoor pests.
    Eeewww...that's what I don't like...and for that reason I'm just putting out a few plants to see how it goes...I will take the advice and repot in the fall when I bring them in though...

  10. #10
    Kerry's Avatar
    Kerry is offline Too much to learn, let alone re-member!
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    Well that has put me off the thought of EVER doing it.

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