What is your budget?
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This is a discussion on Humidity question... within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; hi! again all - had the beyond wonderful experience to visit a huge orchid nursery ...
hi! again all - had the beyond wonderful experience to visit a huge orchid nursery last week(what a dangerous place!). I could have stayed in the main greenhouse for days! But there is NO way my indoor orchids get anywhere near the humidity that I found there - and it was not hot - it was very comfortable with lots of air movement - that's what all the orchid info calls for BUT it was very noticeably cool MOIST moving air. So how do I keep my new babies(OK I got some new plants) happy? I am not convinced that the wet pebble or humidity trays provide much air moisture.(there is some literature that discusses moisture content inches above those set-ups not nearly 50%) Are people with plants indoors using humidifiers? Cool? Warm? Continuous? Intermittant? any words of wisdom appreciated - oh! somewhere I read intermingle ferns with the orchids because they respire a lot of moisture...thanks in advance for info. P.S. we heard the most depressing virus lecture
What is your budget?
I grow indoors (both windowsill and under lights) in Knoxville - not quite as humid as SC. Haven't used humidity trays but regularly open the house up to outside air for at least part of each day so my orchids aren't constantly in low humidity/air conditioning. Otherwise all I do is watch the media and water accordingly depending on orchid type. Less for catts, more for slipper orchid. Even a couple of vandaceous.
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O moderately poor in money - rich in everything else...can't afford a little greenhouse(would like one...) could afford a little humidifier like used for kids colds...plants are all indoors on shelves with grow light - was thinking about partially wrapping shelves in shower curtain - 3 sides anyway and humidifying weekly - unwrapping between times(I read an blog of someone doing that) Thanks 28T
I am in Oregon, on the coast. the humidity is fairly high. I use those long plant saucers and sit my orchids on inverted round 6" saucers in them. that way when I water the drainage creates my humidity tray. I also have a window fan gently blowing several hours a day. My humidity is usually 70-94 %. It's very low tech, but does the trick on my very low budget. Remember, your orchids transpire at night, creating their own humidity.
Katherine, Another good idea! Oregon, the home of dahlias, at least one large nursery (had 3 dahlia gardens every summer for about 6-7 years)....another "gift" from Mother Nature! Like yourself, I've adopted a low-tech humidity operation. No window sill for me as I have cats & around 50 orchids. As long as I keep my evaporation pads damp, (not soaking wet), and fan speed medium, I can maintain a more consistent humidity level, somewhere between 70%-75%, without fussing too much/making any adjustments to anything. IF MORE HUMIDITY IS DESIRED, that's when more maintenance becomes necessary. In Michigan, winters are EXTREMELY dry, making the maintenance of consistent humidity levels a challenge! Adopting your method, IN ADDITION to what I already have, will certainly help.....thanks for another creative post!
Whatever you do, DONT get a cool mist humidifier (the ultrasonic ones that you can see visible mist coming out of). Even when I used pure water in them, I got this film of minerals on everything in the room- furniture, walls, etc.
Second : if you want to get a humidifier, check THRIFT STORES. Sometimes you may even be able to find a "whole house humidifier" that is huge. I think that the evaporative humidifiers are best because they cool the air. They are the kind that have the spongy filter thing that wicks up water. Get one with a humidistat.
Also the shower curtain idea is good. I have constructed a 1/2" PVC pipe enclosure around my growing area and then covered it with cheap painters plastic. Then I have a shower curtain on the top PVC pipe for easy access to the grow shelf. I now have a nice little area I can sit in and enjoy the brightness and fragrance of my blooming plants.
Sometimes there are thrift stores for building materials like wood, PVC, doors etc and the one in my little town is run by a relief agency kind of. Anyway, they have all kinds of stuff. The PVC is cheap anyway, but the connector pieces are a couple bucks each normally, so if you can find them at one of these places, you'll save some money.
Anyway, my enclosure is 8x8x8 and holds two shelves with two light fixtures and my giant humidifier is about 2x2x2. Himidifier was about 120$ but I've had it for years now and it can bring the humidity up to 65 percent in about 10 minutes.
My most important recommendation, however, is to get the biggest humidifier you can find. (If you go that route). You may think its overkill now, but orchid collections have this nasty habit of getting bigger so it pays to invest in what you think is overkill because you WILL NEED IT LATER LOL.
Also- a very important thing about humidity: this stuff can rot your house and get in between the walls and on windows. Keep it at or below about 50 percent in the winter. If you notice condensation on windows, it's too high. Ideally you could make a nearly air tight enclosure around whatever your orchids sit on (shelves are good) and just keep the humidity high in the enclosure. It would be easier for me to just enclose each shelf, but I wanted a little seating area/ indoor greenhouse to enjoy.
Also- if your shelf or whatever sits on the floor, be sure to cover the floor with plastic as well so you don't ruin the floors,
I grow underlights in the house and have many happy paphs, phals, and oncidiums. I use a large Duracraft cool water continuous humidifier, it has 4 1ftx1ft pads and a fan on top that pulls the moisture out of the pads and displaces it in the air, kind of works like a swamp cooler. I keep it on low in my kitchen right next to 8 4ft shoplights for the orchids, the humidty rarely ever drops below 50%, for air movement I have a small usb fan on each shelf blowing across the lights 24/7. On days I water I turn on a smal box fan to move the air about until night time.