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Choosing indoor orchids in Michigan

This is a discussion on Choosing indoor orchids in Michigan within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; Hello, I am planning on purchasing some orchids over the next few weeks. I would ...

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  1. #1
    DManley is offline Junior Member
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    Default Choosing indoor orchids in Michigan

    Hello,

    I am planning on purchasing some orchids over the next few weeks. I would like to buy some larger plants that will bloom next summer and some seedlings to grow out over the next few years. Right now, all I have are a few Phalaepnosis. I have been searching this site and others for information on suitable orchids for indoor growing in my Winter conditions. (Michigan, shaded South facing windows, woodstove for heat, Temps from about 50 - 55 at night to about 80 in the early evenings with very dry air and lots of circulation. (I use humidity trays) ) After a good bit of reading, I have made a list of plants that I think would make good housemates for my box store Phalaepnosis orchids. If anybody else has grown orchids indoors in a cool, dry house with some fluctuating temps, I would appreciate suggestions.

    First on the list are Cattleyas. Most of the hybrids sound like they are fairly hardy and cold tolerant. They are showy and look like they are fairly easy to grow and bloom. Others on the list are Brassavola nodosa, Stanhopea wardii, Trichopilia tortilus, Paph. Maudiea, Coelogyne cristata, and probably plants from Laelia, Oncidium, Cymbalis, Dendrobium and Encycla. I am also wondering about Lycaste aromatica. It looks like a neat plant, but might get a bit too big? Anguloa Clowesii supposedly takes similar requirements. Also Miltonia, miltoniopsis and Rhynchostylis seem like they would survive, if I keep the humidity from going too low. (Teapot on the woodstove) I also am wondering about Pleione, as they seem to be able to handle very low temps. Would any of these plants be a huge mistake? One plant I have already knocked off the list is Phalaenopsis. Mine are doing well, but I see that they ideally require higher temperatures then I am giving them. I want to work with plants that will thrive in the conditions that prevail here.

    I know that several people here must grow plants on windowsills under similar conditions. If any of you have a plant that does really well, or can advise me of ones to avoid, I would appreciate hearing from you.

    Thank you very much,
    Dave

  2. #2
    cindiras's Avatar
    cindiras is offline Senior Member
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    I grow in my basement under lights, so my conditions are very different from yours. I am thinking about the dryness. Could you set a shelf unit up in front of your light source (window) that is covered in clear plastic with dishpans of water on the floor beneath the shelves, maybe a small fan to circulate air inside the plastic curtain. This doesn't help even out temps, but may help greatly increase humidity around the plants. That or keep a pot os water on the woodstove for constant steam.

  3. #3
    DManley is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks Cindi,

    I will keep a teapot on the stove this winter. It helps with the atmosphere in the house even if I don't have orchids growing.

    I will also try setting up a plastic curtain if the teapot and trays don't get me into a high enough range. I also have a few old fishtanks. They could work the same way and would be able to hold compact plants.

    Thanks again,
    Dave

  4. #4
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    Kassie is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by DManley View Post
    First on the list are Cattleyas. . . Others on the list are Brassavola nodosa, Stanhopea wardii, Trichopilia tortilus, Paph. Maudiea, Coelogyne cristata, and probably plants from Laelia, Oncidium, Cymbalis, Dendrobium and Encycla. I am also wondering about Lycaste aromatica. It looks like a neat plant, but might get a bit too big? Anguloa Clowesii supposedly takes similar requirements. Also Miltonia, miltoniopsis and Rhynchostylis
    LOL

    Wow Dave, you are going to end up with a really big collection in your window! I laugh only because this was about where I was a couple weeks ago. My brain was seriously oversaturated after reading care sheets for most of your list and some others and I was starting to suffer root rot. I couldn't figure out how to formulate the question here, so I am really anxious to see the responses to your question. Sorry, I can't offer any knowledgable insight. After extensive online shopping, I ended up with an impulse-bought grocery store Dend who probably already hates me for leaving it in that hideous pink pot.

    Good luck, Trish

  5. #5
    cindiras's Avatar
    cindiras is offline Senior Member
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    Trish! Get it out of that pink pot! They have no drain holes!

  6. #6
    pavel's Avatar
    pavel is offline change is the only constant
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    A cool mist humidifier in proximity to you r growing area may help. Sounds like dryness could be you're biggest issue.

    My humidity -- if I'm lucky -- gets up to 30% in the winter ... and that's with 2 humidifiers running. My temps tend to be in the 70's all winter long. Because I have central air and 'critters' in addition to orchids, I don't let the temps get too low.

    You will have to keep an eye on the orchids you eventually choose for hints as to what they are doing over the winter. Some warmer growers may, for all intents and purposes, essentially go dormant with you chilly night temps. If so, just be aware that you will then cut back on your watering and fertilizing during this period.

    Your phals will probably do well with that day/night temperature shift.

    Milts will likely suffer if you are unable to get some humidity in the 60% range or better.

    Personally, I have found my minicatts to be very durable. The one possible caveat for you is they require fairly high light to bloom.


  7. #7
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    ischel1 is offline Senior Member
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    You might try Miltassia. They do well in cool temp and low humidity 30-60%

  8. #8
    DManley is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for all of the responses.

    I wasn't planning on getting all of the plants on the list! I don't have that many windows... I was trying to narrow down a list to find what would work with my conditions. The milts looked like they would do well with my temperatures, but I think the humidity rules them out. I am now looking up Miltassia. They look neat.

    I am glad that the mini catts sound like they should work. There are several really nice ones available, they seem to have a reputation for being beginner proof, and I happen to like some of them a lot. I will give them center stage in the window that lines up with the gap in the trees, or I can summer them out on the deck. Can the minicatts tolerate getting rained on? If I keep them by the side of the house, they will get some rain protection from the overhang, but they won't get any shade from it. A good South breeze will get rain on them however.

    I found another site that calls the phals warm growers. I know they take a pretty drastic temperature change to induce blooming, but I am afraid that my nighttime temps may fall too low too often. (Although the one I started with last Summer not only survived last winter at my house, but came back bigger, stronger and with more blooms than before.)

    Thanks again everybody. I will keep searching for more infor after work tomorrow.

    Dave

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