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Help with placement for phalaenopsis

This is a discussion on Help with placement for phalaenopsis within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; ...

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  1. #1
    duckblue is offline Junior Member
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    Default Help with placement for phalaenopsis

    Hello,

    My phal got into trouble this winter: potted in bark, pot raised in huge glass container with pebbles and water at the bottom, the entire thing sitting on a table on the west wall close to a south facing window. Temps were >20C during the day and ~16-17C at night. Plant never got direct morning sun. However, with the winter, I don't think it got enough light. The leaves are quite dark and the plant doesn't look good, roots are fine but not too many and I only have a few small leaves left.
    Now I just couldn't resist and bought two other phals blooming.

    As I said, I think I'm having so much trouble with my phal because of the lack of light. It did much better until winter started. I don't have grower lights, so I'd like to know what you think would be the best placement for the phals:

    about >20C day, about 17C night:
    1. North-east window, just behind the windowsill, on top of radiator, in long water filled plant tray (with pots raised inside the tray). This is my office so I usually have some lights on in the evening in this room.
    2. South window, away from windowsill, away from direct sun (same placement as above), with a table lamp beside it during the evening. This is the warmest room of the house.

    about 20C day, about 16C night:
    3. east window, just behind the windowsill, on top of radiator, in long water filled plant tray (with pots raised inside the tray). I can have some lights on at night, not as bright as 4. but second brightest at night of all the rooms.
    4. east window, about 1 meter from the window, no radiator underneath the window, this would be the coolest place but the brightest at night (kitchen, pot lights in the ceiling that I could live on)

    I don't have a room that have all the requirements at once; all together the best might be 4., but I'm worried that it might be a bit too cool for a phal...so then it would be 3., but then I have the radiator issue.

    what would you do?

    thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    sadie's Avatar
    sadie is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    If I understand all of your scenarios, I would vote for #2. I wouldn't get more than a meter from the window, however. I grow my orchids inside close to a south-facing window and it has worked well. The light does change with the seasons -- so you may have to experiment a little to get it just right. I have found that eastern light doesn't last long enough during the day (at least in my house, the starts to get shady by mid-day). Western sun is too hot and northern sun is never enough. The radiator might make things too dry, so you will have to keep the humidity up, but it sounds like you are already doing that.

    Honestly, I don't count the lights that my plants get from lamps, overhead lighting etc. If they aren't grow lights or the plants are inches from the flourescent tubes, it really isn't doing them all that much good.

    Since your plant has been "in the dark" for awhile, I'd move it toward the light gradually. If you move it to a south-facing window all at once, it could get burned.

    Lastly, you mentioned growing it in a huge glass container with pebbles -- if it is standing in the water, you might have root problems.

    Really, a photo of your set up would be very helpful.

  3. #3
    smartie2000's Avatar
    smartie2000 is offline Senior Member
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    Listen to Sadie. Her phals are spectaular when I saw the pics of her growing space. South would be a excellent placement in the winter (here in Canada is all cloudy this winter). In the summer any window execpt north is fine, and a south window would need protection. Keep in mind not to place plants too far away from the window (I think 1 meter is a bit too far), especially in the winter.

  4. #4
    duckblue is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    thank you Sadie and Smartie!
    I did a tour of my house this morning with a sheet of white paper and my ruler. Gave me lots of surprising results!

    So locations 1,3 and 4 are out of the question: hand with fingers spread, I can only get a fuzzy shadow when my hand is about 3 or 4" from the paper.
    Location 2 is not that great either, only 4.5" away! I was shocked! the other locations in this room give me the same 'rating' or less. The pb with that room is that it's either full direct sun, or on the side walls, and as soon as I move away from the direct sun (in any direction), I get the 4" distance.

    So I checked for another location, downstairs (like locations 3&4), on a coffee table in front of the south facing window. We have a porch in front of that window, so we never have any direct sun. However, as much as I always thought it was a darker area than room #2, the paper test gives me a fuzzy edge shadow at about 6-6.5" from the paper, when the paper is 30" from the radiator.
    This room is about 16C at night and 20C during the day. A bit cooler than #2, but it seems I'd get more light out of it. There are pot lights here as well so I could turn them on at night for extra light in the winter.

    I'll post pics later of my current setting.

  5. #5
    duckblue is offline Junior Member
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    Cool Pics

    Hi again,

    Here are some pics of the different locations:

    Upstairs: ~ 17C night, > 20C day

    Location 1 (north-east, office):


    Location 2 (south-east/south, bedroom) (*excuse the mess!*):




    Sick phal (same location summer and winter, did fantastic in the summer, not too happy anymore. Roots are OK, but there's no growth of either the roots or the leaves; lost 2 big leaves during the winter):



    Downstairs: 16C night, 20C day

    Living room, south window behind porch, no direct sun (it was hard to take good pics as the light was directly in front of the camera:




    Thanks a lot!

  6. #6
    smartie2000's Avatar
    smartie2000 is offline Senior Member
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    Interesting test there. I haven't done that yet.

    The day/night temp differientiation will help initiate buds (I guess with phals it's not that important, they seem to bloom no matter what temps). My house has the same temp in the winter and my phals have been fine. They aren't very floriferous in the winter, but I'd blame lighting over temps, for the windowsill plants. Daylength has increased and many new spikes are coming

  7. #7
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is online now Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Hi Duckblue, check out this thread about posting. It might help with future posts and replys until you reach full member status and your posts are no longer moderated.

    Cheers,
    BD

  8. #8
    duckblue is offline Junior Member
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    Hi BD,

    thank you for the explanation and sorry for trying to post the thread twice. I thought it was an issue with the pics.

  9. #9
    smartie2000's Avatar
    smartie2000 is offline Senior Member
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    (I thought I posted this a hour ago but my internet disconnected when I left cuz the door rang for the delivery of a 200 pound item, time for me to switch back to my old internet service!)

    Beautiful spikes there!
    Wow they are placed quite a distance from the window. A bit too far. And the plants are placed to the side of the window, where lighting is the most limited, rather than pointing directly it. I suggest getting a decorative plant stand (if you care about decor which I got a feeling you do, but any table or shelf will work) will be most helpful and place it parallel to the window. Then basically any location would be fine. Location two would be my choice with a new plant table because of the size of the window light won't be a issue, and you can fit more plants too . Morning sun supposed to be the best, because it's not as hot. I have heating vents all over my windows unfortunately, but the mature plants do handle it fine as long as the roots are healthy and they are watered correctly (I'm not sure how bad radiators are compared to heating vents. Also be careful about over watering too)
    The plant in the very decorative set up is doing poorly because of the distance away from the window, but it should bouce back to health once it is closer. I think you have the idea already

  10. #10
    duckblue is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by smartie2000 View Post
    (I thought I posted this a hour ago but my internet disconnected when I left cuz the door rang for the delivery of a 200 pound item, time for me to switch back to my old internet service!)

    Beautiful spikes there!
    Wow they are placed quite a distance from the window. A bit too far. And the plants are placed to the side of the window, where lighting is the most limited, rather than pointing directly it.
    Exactly!

    I suggest getting a decorative plant stand (if you care about decor which I got a feeling you do, but any table or shelf will work) will be most helpful and place it parallel to the window. Then basically any location would be fine. Location two would be my choice with a new plant table because of the size of the window light won't be a issue, and you can fit more plants too . Morning sun supposed to be the best, because it's not as hot. I have heating vents all over my windows unfortunately, but the mature plants do handle it fine as long as the roots are healthy and they are watered correctly (I'm not sure how bad radiators are compared to heating vents. Also be careful about over watering too)
    I don't have a pb adding a new stand or table or something to put the plants directly in front of the window, my main problem doing that in location 2 is that the entire center of the bedroom is filled with sun from about 9-10am to 2-3pm. I don't think I should put them directly in that sun, right?
    Moving them away but still facing the window would block the path to the bedroom so that wouldn't work too much ;-), and they wouldn't get much light there either.
    Believe me, I tried this morning, the closest to that window I can get without hitting the sun or being too close to the rad is location of the white blooming phal on the right and the purple one on the left (see photos 4 & 5 of my post). And then they don't get as much light there...

    I moved them all downstairs to the living room. That's the only place I can have them straight in front of a south window without having direct sun on them. I can see the light going directly to them, compared to location 2 (bedroom) where the overall room is bright, but there was no specific light coming directly to the orchids. That living room end, in comparison, is darker overall, but the table gets direct light.

    I'm going to leave them there for a while and see how they like it. How long should I leave them in one location before assessing how the plant is doing?

    Thanks for your help!

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