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Summer heat and orchids outdoors

This is a discussion on Summer heat and orchids outdoors within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I'm late this year getting my orchids out on the deck - the birds took ...

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  1. #1
    mauraec's Avatar
    mauraec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Summer heat and orchids outdoors

    I'm late this year getting my orchids out on the deck - the birds took it over during the winter and then made an enormous, foul mess, dropping seeds and having it all rot and mildew - so, I've been trying to sanitize everything and it's taken a good 10 days. Anyway, I haven't decided if I'll continue to feed them. Phillip was really the bird man, so I don't keep up on them as he would have. I'm leaning towards letting them eat elsewhere for the summer, and they will let me know they don't like that, I'm sure

    I now have the shelving clean and ready to go. My deck faces due south and has an overhang that extend abut 2/3 of the way out. Against the wall (sliding glass doors) it stays shady most of the day, until late afternoon sum hits it and it can get pretty hot. The nights are in the low70s and humid; the days are anywhere from high 70s to mid 90s. I have a hygrometer to measure the heat and humidity both under the overhang and out in the sun. There's no question that there are days when it's easily over 100 in the sun, and, occasionally in the shade. I bought some 10' x 10' grommetted 30% shadecloth and a hose that fits on my sink faucet and goes all the way out to the deck - yeehah! Now I need to think about ir movement and cooling and I'm not sure how to deal with that.

    Only the Catts., and Encyclias are going outside - the slippers and Phals stay in.

    Anyone have some ideas about how I can keep them from overheating? Does nyone else have a similar situation? Oh - and we regularly ( 2 or 3 times a week for about a couple hours) get thunderstorms. Occasional rainy days but not many. And do I have to transition the orchids to the outside? What kind of schedule would that be? Keep in mind that I now have about 60 orchids and at least half are going out.

    I'd REALLY appreciate some input. I'm getting a very late start this summer because of Phillip's death and a lot of travelling and now, tons of estate paperwork.

    Thanks - all you Senior Growers!!!

  2. #2
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    Geez Maura, I never think about these things, I just put them outside when I have the deck ready - which is late this year for me. I just finished painting on the water seal on the deck railings at 9AM. I'm going to power wash the deck on Sunday and Monday, including the balusters. Then if doesn't rain for 3 days next week I'll apply the water seal to the balusters. Once that's all done the orchids finally go out. Temp's are predicted for low 90's by then.

    Perhaps you could put them out in the evening so that they can warm up with the day the next morning. Hang the shade cloth in the morning. They are going to love the humidity. I don't think the thunderstorms will hurt them, has that happened in the past? - martha

  3. #3
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    gnathaniel is offline Senior Member
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    Hi Maura, most of my orchids are currently outdoors. Shade helps a LOT to mitigate the high temps, as does air movement. Keeping plants moister will help them cool naturally through transpiration, and air movement helps this work better when humidity is high. The biggest issues I've had with transitions are sunburn from higher light, even full-sun-lovers will burn if suddenly transitioned to much brighter light so keep things under shadecloth for a week or two to acclimate. 30% may let through too much for shadier growing plants but doubling it up in spots can be useful to make lower light 'microclimates'. Good luck!

  4. #4
    mauraec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teena View Post
    Geez Maura, I never think about these things, I just put them outside when I have the deck ready - which is late this year for me. I just finished painting on the water seal on the deck railings at 9AM. I'm going to power wash the deck on Sunday and Monday, including the balusters. Then if doesn't rain for 3 days next week I'll apply the water seal to the balusters. Once that's all done the orchids finally go out. Temp's are predicted for low 90's by then.

    Perhaps you could put them out in the evening so that they can warm up with the day the next morning. Hang the shade cloth in the morning. They are going to love the humidity. I don't think the thunderstorms will hurt them, has that happened in the past? - martha
    Actually, this is the first year I have the deck to myself - no competition from the bonsais, except for 2 (the others are SO happy sitting outside the entrance of our boarding greenhouse, and they're so big and awkward that I'm leaving them there for the time. Anyway, the bonsais always had the full sun shelves on the deck, which is also the side that gets pounded on in thunderstorms - so they were fine. The big change is not so much that I'd actually put my orchids out in the direct sun, but that I have the shaded side to shelve my orchids and I can extend it out further, since no one has to get to shelves in the sun. Does that make sense? In addition, I can have lower shelves in the shade for my orchids, so that they don't block the light coming in the window for the the phrags, phals, paphs, etc.

    Your deck - I happen to know - is lovely and sits in dappled shade with mostly pretty good air circulation (although Boston weather is never consistent). My deck is ancient, small (5'x7'), has been bombed by the birds who feed from our 3 huge Droll Yankee feeders (which is now discontinued indefinitely and they're furious with me), splintered, and not particularly clean, since that's not a priority for the apartment complex. I've done what I can, but NO WAY am I going to woodseal any part of it - I bought a 5x7 indoor/outdoor rug to cover the worst of it.

    This is the set-up and progress so far - not too pretty - notice the bird on the railing looking homicidally at me. I took this at 12:30 pm - pretty much the height of day, so you can see where the shade and sun is.

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  5. #5
    mauraec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnathaniel View Post
    Hi Maura, most of my orchids are currently outdoors. Shade helps a LOT to mitigate the high temps, as does air movement. Keeping plants moister will help them cool naturally through transpiration, and air movement helps this work better when humidity is high. The biggest issues I've had with transitions are sunburn from higher light, even full-sun-lovers will burn if suddenly transitioned to much brighter light so keep things under shadecloth for a week or two to acclimate. 30% may let through too much for shadier growing plants but doubling it up in spots can be useful to make lower light 'microclimates'. Good luck!
    thanks so much, Nat - it is particularly helpful that you're in Athens and I'm in Atlanta. I've been to Athens twice - to shoot pool, I'm afraid. Anyway, I'm trying to figure out how and where to rig up this shade cloth. I'm including some shots of the overhang, so you can get an idea of what I'm working with. I put photos of the deck floor etc, in my reply to Martha. I have lots of questions for you - which of your orchids go outside? What are they on/in? Do you ever have to bring them in because of the heat? Do you have some kind of fan? How often do you water? Is once a day spraying, instead of once a week soaking a better idea or do I need to do both. This is the third summer I'll have some of my orchids outside - but my learning curve has been steep (melted paphs the first year).

    Yes, that's aluminum covering on the overhang.

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  6. #6
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    Default

    You might want to consider a misting fan, or setting up some misting nozzles on the perimeter.

  7. #7
    mauraec's Avatar
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    Ray - that sounds like a good idea, but do you think I could do that without an outside electrical socket or an outside hose? What are misting fans?

  8. #8
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    When I met Angela at her home she kept everything outside in the sun and it doesn't come much hotter than Barbados all the year round. Her plants were fantastic so I wouldn't worry too much regarding heat.

    Ed

  9. #9
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    As I don't have your conditions, my opinion is obviously somewhat questionable. However, based on what you've shown us, I really don't believe you will have to worry about the catts or encycs at all with regards to heat per se. Yes, take some care hardening them off to full sun -- should you decide to put any there & assuming you have some that will take it. You may indeed require a sheet of shade cloth all summer long for those plants which can't quite handle full strength sun. How "late afternoon" are you talking anyway?

    Are the metal shelves (left side first photo) what you will be using or are you going to be moving/assembling a taller set to put on the balcony? If the shelves to be used are no taller than the railing, and if you were thinking of placing the shelves right up against the railing, then you could drape the shade cloth over the railing attaching it to the top of the railing and the bottom of the railing along the south & west sides of the balcony. I would not take the cloth all the way down to the balcony floor just so as to allow air to move under it easily. (I have absolutely no idea how much of an obstruction to a breeze shade cloth is.) Plants that can handle the full strength of your sun could sit on the top shelf where they would not be shaded.

    In the interim, while the plants are making the light adjustment you could attach shade cloth to the roof of your balcony like you have the birdfeeders. (For that matter, if the shadecloth has eyelets or if you can install some, you could possibly just use the hooks you already have up.) The bottom edge -- depending on the length of the cloth - could be draped over the railing or attached to it.

  10. #10
    pipsxlch is offline Senior Member
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    I wouldn't worry about the thunderstorms at all- my plants (a large chunk of which are catts and encyclias) are outside year round, and during rainy season sometimes severe storms can be a daily or almost daily occurrence. They are loving life this wet summer!
    The high humidity is beneficial, and as long as they are allowed to harden off to the light levels, they should do great. When I get a new (presumably greenhouse grown) plant, it gets thrown out. Usually they adjust without issue; sometimes there's some sunburning but only enough to be a cosmetic issue. My yard has high trees around so dappled sun, but more sum than shade.

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