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Humidity for Orchids

This is a discussion on Humidity for Orchids within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; As most orchids come from (warm &) humid climates, is it a good idea to ...

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    tawv is offline Member
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    Lightbulb Humidity for Orchids

    As most orchids come from (warm &) humid climates, is it a good idea to place pots over a layer of water (not touching the pot / roots) to evaporate? I saw this advised for some jewel orchids, like Anoectochilus roxburghii, but thought it would be practical for most. Is this true? (also for the simple Phals, for instance)

    I have pots that allow for this, so it would be easy to establish.

    And how about spraying: I do this every day (roots, leaves), but am not sure it is good for all types (I have about 25 different ones). I do include a low concentration of SuperThrive, is that OK?

    Looking forward to your experience & advice

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    I have most of mine in trays with water and pebbles underneath, and I spray them with water as well (I don't spray the blooms though, as that can damage them at times). It seems to work well for me. You do want to be sure you don't let water sit in the crown of phals, or others with similar growth habits.

    What kinds do you grow?

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    I agree with Kathi and you already seem to be doing the right things. The only suggestion I would add is to mist in the morning and not in the evening. Misting in the evening can leave moisture on the plant through the night which can lead to problems.

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    Different things may work for different people. My orchids are all upstairs under a variety of lights. I have them all, or almost all, in semi-hydro pots with clay pellets. The semi-hydro pots have holes an inch up the side rather than at the bottom, so they retain some water in the very bottoms of the pots that moves thru the porous pebbles to provide humidity to the roots. I put these pots in plastic trays with old shower liner plastic underneath. I water them in place from the top and assume that about an 8th inch or so of water will accumulate in the plastic pans. I have a ceiling fan running 24/7 that helps the water evaporate so it does not build up. This increases the humidity around the plants. It's certainly not like a greenhouse, but it works for me. I usually water 2-3 times a week and leave the plants alone if there's a bit of water still in the trays.

    Hope this makes sense.

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    I grow in a greenhouse, and try to keep the humidity between 50/65 % at all times. The only time the orchid leaves/roots get misted is when the temperatures are in the high 90's or 100's. I never mist or water in the late afternoon or evening. I always make certain that NO WATER gets into the crown or on new growth or flowers. This works for me and my orchids...Betty

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    That's great, thanks for the tips!

    I am on the right path: spraying in the morning (give them time to dry), not on the flowers and keeping the roots from being wet.

    Semi-hydro pots with clay pellets seem like a good idea Janet!

    Kathi, I am growing Dendrobiums, Cattleya, Cambria, Eria, Cymbidium, Doritis, Encyclia, to name but a few. I realize they have different care, so I have differentiated in environment: light, temps, etc. However, the humidity aspect seemed to be a recurring requirement.


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    Sounds like you have a nice collection! I look forward to seeing pics of your blooms!

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    I want to post some, but am not sure yet how...

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    I have about 4 x 2ft by 1ft shallow plastic trays 1-2 inch deep placed side by side and filled with bark top dressed with moss. It helps maintain 70 % min humidity with the addition of daily spray using 1 litre of rainwater. A majority of the 100 or so plants in this area are mounted and not in pots. Once a week the spray bottle has 0.25ml superthrive. Once a week general orchid 30 10 10 fertilizer except Dec, Jan. Once a week seaweed extract. Once a week a fruiting fert/ often tomorite 02 08 06 approx. The other 3 days of week plain water 1 of which is tap water with full fat milk added. In some circumstances for pest deterrent/ treatment specialist miticide and or insecticides.

    Could not stress enough though Alfred, if you are a frequent mister/sprayer take note and use caution as others have advised and watchout for water collecting in crowns and leaf axils. Once youve noticed its often too late and its so easily done and often goes unnoticed. Many orchids can be vulnerable to crown rot, its where a small body of water has collected without much air movement and cool temps at night for eg gives bacteria and fungi the chance to celebtrate costing the orchid its life in some cases. I often use a tissue rolled to a point at one end and wick certain plants to remove excess water in the wrong place.

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    Thanks for that Opaline. Some observations: 'full fat milk'? That is the first time I heard about it. What is that for?

    Will take extra care about the water remaining in the crowns. Spraying them around 9 in the morning, so they should have enough time to process, but will def check!

    So you also use SuperThrive? Good results? I hear it is mainly for growing roots, not sure about other effects (esp. blooming). So that is 0.25 ml on 1 liter? I use 0.1 ml, and use half a liter each day for all plants combined. Should I alternate with plain water?

    I don't collect that much rain water, but am not so sure about the quality anyway (we live close to an airport and a highway). How about reverse osmosis water?

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