Would love to see your orchidarium
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This is a discussion on orchidarium growing question regarding fans within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; If you grow in an Orchidarium, do you put your fan on a timer? I ...
If you grow in an Orchidarium, do you put your fan on a timer? I am currently growing about 80 tiny, mounted orchids and I find that I have to water about twice a day to keep them from drying up. I have my light on a timer, but the fan has been running 24/7. Should I put it on a timer also?
I try to keep the humidity between 70 and 90% inside the case. I have been able to do that by spraying the orchids early in the morning and sometimes again in mid afternoon. I have pans of water sitting in the base of the case and it evaporates as expected.
Anyway, glad if someone who grows this way could offer some advice.
Would love to see your orchidarium
Maybe a smaller or slower fan running continuously would be a better option than putting the fan on a timer. Remember the fan is keeping the temperature more uniform, and without a fan running the top near the lights will get much warmer than it does now. Otherwise, running the fan for just a couple hours after watering will give most of the benefit of circulation but dry things out a bit less.
Thanks Kirk and Kitty!
I am green with envy! Well you know where to send all your extras and divisions.
Now on to your Q.......
Many factors can come into play. However, based on your situation I would say do NOT put the fans on a timer. Kirk's point regarding the circulating air aiding in creating a more uniform temperature, while valid, is a lesser IMO. Of far greater import is the role of the circulating air in providing a more uniform humidity so that you are less likely to wind up with areas of greater humidity and drier areas within the tank. And, perhaps most importantly, leaving the fans running 24/7 can have enormously beneficial effects with regards to limiting the growth of molds/fungi -- some of which could prove detrimental to the orchids. Many of us have had the sad misfortune of witnessing how quickly pathogenic fungi can decimate an orchid or even an entire collection -- and that is in the much larger scale of a greenhouse or larger potted plants indoors or out wherein there is always at least some minor air movement. With a large number of orchids as you have here, it is quite possible to develop pockets of moist stagnant air -- perfect conditions for fungi growth. Having the fans run 24/7 creates a constant motion of air which in turn helps to prevent the development of stagnant air pockets.
Depending upon just how that orchidarium is designed, you very possibly could install an automated misting system.
Thanks so much, Paul. I suspected that the fan should run around the clock. I just need to buy a better spray bottle - or the muscle around my trigger finger is gonna get huge.
There are some misting systems out there I have heard very good reports about so do keep that in mind (and contact me if you want the name of one of the brands I hear most about). Haven't tried one out yet but I am planning to -- especially as I have no one to spray my mini mini's down when I am gone for a week or so visiting family.
Forget the spray bottle -- I tore through quite a few of those before giving up on them. A bottle would typically only last me a few months before it would break. I finally got smarter and caved in going with something a bit more expensive in the short term but has turned out to be one of the wisest choices I have made -- that being one of those hand pumped sprayers people often use for spot spraying of herbicides in their yard. Got the idea from a friend of mine who uses one for watering purposes in his small (approx. 8ft x 12ft) greenhouse. [He actually has a couple of these sprayers which are used for various things but the one is dedicated to watering use only. Stating this for the benefit of any folks who might be unaware that any container used for a chemical should never be used for anything except that same chemical.] I picked up one up at a BBS for about $15.
Just to be clearer here's a link to one I randomly pulled off the net:
2 Gallon Pump Sprayer | Wash Safe
If Brutal Dreamer doesn't mind, I would like to tag onto post with a related orchidarium question.
I live in Central PA and have a very small orchid collection (less than 10 plants). I have intentionally kept the collection small, mostly because I am struggling with some growing challenges. Our summers here can be quite humid, but the winters can be incredibly dry. To boot, we often are burning our wood stove to heat the house in the winter, which can make the air in the house that much drier. I have tried growing orchids outside during the summer, but have not liked dealing with the insects, squirrels, birds, and other wildlife that fuss with my plants. The winter is presenting yet another spectrum of challenges - like watering my plants twice a day because it is so dry. I also live in a mid-century modern house that does not get a lot of direct sunshine in its windows. As such, I tend to grow orchids that like the same amount of light as an african violet. I'd like to try to grow some other species of orchids however. I have one Catt. that blooms reliably for me every year, but I have another BLC that I haven't gotten to bloom since I purchased it and I know it is because it isn't getting enough sunlight.
I have been researching orchidariums, trying to determine if this might be a nice way for me to have a contained area where I can basically have an appropriate micro climate where I could grow some orchids.
I am curious, Brutal Dreamer, did you build or purchase your orchidarium? I am aware that there is a place that makes them where they come with the fans, lighting, etc. They seem to range in price from about $500 to $3k. As I look at the more expensive models - I can't help but think that the price is high and wonder if it would actually be a worthwhile investment. When I read through this forum, many people post pictures of their growing areas and many are fortunate that they can tie orchids to trees in their back yard for year-round growth. Others have plants in windows. I know that people build their own orchidariums, vivariums, etc. - and my orchids currently live in a very large terrarium in fact - but I haven't seen anyone hand-build such a complete system yet. I would be curious how you came about your orchidarium and how you feel it is performing per the cost of the unit, etc.
Also, with the light, fan, and whatever else you are using, roughly how much has it effected your power bill? (Thinking to myself about possibly having this as a year-round solution.) I ran a 200 watt light one winter to try to grow some south African protea plants one year, and I certainly noticed the electric bill change a bit.
Thanks for your thoughts/suggestions on the matter.