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This is a discussion on Bottom Heat + New Roots + Heat Mats Alternative. within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Because of the early spring weather, my orchids have been placed outdoors daily, they receive ...
Because of the early spring weather, my orchids have been placed outdoors daily, they receive direct sunlight from 9 am - 10 am, and they indirect strong light in the outdoor shade from 10 am - 3 pm, and afterwards they are brought indoors.
I read that bottom heat induces the production of new roots and helps the plant get established faster when an Orchid is placed in a new Medium, in my case S/H (hydroton).
I have hot water heating system that runs in my apartment, the boiler is below the apartment, and the main hot water pipe runs under my bedroom floor, when the boiler is on (about 4 - 6 hours) each day, the floor where the hot water pipe runs under gets really warm.
Is it safe, to place the S/H orchid pots on the warm floor as a replacement for heat mats? or will this heat the water in the pots' reservoirs and cause damage to the plants?
Cant help as I have no experience on S/H maybe someone can give their expert opinion.
if i were you,i would give a try only one pot because i don't know how much "Warm" floor for you.may be too much for the plants.
The water was at room temperature at the beginning of the experiment 13c (55.4F), outside temp 6c (42.8F), temperature on the floor above the main hot water pipe was constant at 35c (95F). After 2 hours of placing the experimental pot on the floor, the temperature of the water rose to a max of 28c (82.4F).
so there was a rise in the temp of the water inside the pot of 15c (59F).
what do you think? is this rise beneficial for the orchids that are newly transplanted into S/H?
I'm NOT an expert in this area, but I wonder about a few things. First, orchids in general need that drop in temp at night in order to induce new growth, spikes, etc - we try to mimic their natural surroundings, and warming their water (and having that heat transferred to the hydroton as a result), especially at so great an amount of temp rise, seems to me to be a little shocking to the entire plant system. I've never used warming mats, but I would think they'd be providing a gentler rise in temperature. S/H aside, I also am concerned that your orchids (and it looks like you've got 3 phals in S/H, one in water, and an oncid of some kind in S/H) might not be getting their minimum preferred temperatures at all. Phals are generally warm-growers, and prefer 65F/18.3C as a night minimum. During the day, they prefer a 15F rise in temps and so on. So, I think your phals might be a tad cold, as is, and then raising the temps so much from below is going to leave them too cold on top and too warm below - in my experience, a recipe for root rot. Oncids can go down to 55F/12.8C at night.
From your post, I gather that the inside temp of your apt is 55F??? Isn't that a bit chilly for humans, never mind orchids? And you put them outside where it's about 43F and they're in shade (bright, I know) most of the day? Have you had them for a long time in this environment? Maybe they've acclimated to it, but it's really overall pretty cool for orchids - except for the real cool-lovers, like cymbidiums, some masdevallias, miltonias - and it still might be a bit cool for them. And judging by the deep green color of the phal leaves, they're not getting enough light. Phals ARE low-light plants, which is why a bright east-facing window is good for them, but the plants will tell you what's going on, anyway. One of the easiest signs to recognize is deep green leaves (not good for orchids) - very pretty, granted, but generally reserved for houseplants that don't flower.
Of course, if your plants have been flourishing, ignore all this advice.
I have gradually transplanted nearly all my orchids, including phals and oncids, into S/H in the past 2 months. Aside from making sure they get the light, temps, nutrition, and water they need, they're on their own to develop roots for S/H purposes. In other words, I'm still growing them the same way I did before, and so far I haven't lost any. Remember though, S/H is not a magic solution - all the other growing requirements apply still, and I still may lose some of my orchids - it just works out that way sometimes. But I'm pretty leery of heating them from the bottom - it's a bit like the equivalent of watering them with fairly hot water.
Just my own thoughts - your idea about warming mats certainly applies to germinating seeds, so gentle warming from below may help. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
I so happens that today we're having a snow storm. and I left the heater off in the room where i conducted the experiment, to be able to be accurate with my measurements.
As for the picture, it was taken in the shade on a sunny day where the temp was 25c.
Thanks for your help.
While Maura is quite right that most orchids need a drop to initiate spiking, I'll add my personal experience. I have used a bottom heat source (a cup-warmer) to help an ailing orchid grow new roots & recover (it was a half-dead warm-growing paphinia, which I realize isn't what you are growing!). My room temp was about 75*F, and I have no idea what the cup-warmer raised it to, but the moist moss it was potted in became warm to the touch. I'm sure though it was less of a range than your water going from 55*F to 82*. Anyway, the setup I used worked like gangbusters, & the orchid bounced back very quickly. Your results may vary...however, if you need to grow new roots, and your maximum is 82*F at the roots, I would think it is OK for a while. If/when the roots are well established, I would think letting them have a temp drop would be good, as Maura says. Whatever you decide, good luck!
Just wanted to say that I love the photo or your orchids.
There is a direct correlation between temperature and metabolic activity. Applying bottom heat, will encourage cell division.