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Temp dropped in Greenhouse to 35deg f - will I lose my orchids?

This is a discussion on Temp dropped in Greenhouse to 35deg f - will I lose my orchids? within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Help! I just put up my first greenhouse - using solexx panels. Last night there ...

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  1. #1
    scottfar is offline Junior Member
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    Post Temp dropped in Greenhouse to 35deg f - will I lose my orchids?

    Help! I just put up my first greenhouse - using solexx panels. Last night there was a power failure sometime in the night - I didn't wake up and the greenhouse temp dropped to 35 degrees fah. I don't know how long it was at that temperature. I didn't wake up until 7am - immediately noticed my remote temperature (next to my bed) and FLEW outside... and reset the heaters (they apparently TURN off in case of a power failure)

    I have mostly Cats but a few other species, including phals, paphs, dendrobians and half a dozen more...

    My question is - are they all toast? Will they slowly die over the next few days? Or might they survive. There's about 250 plants in there.

    Its the Holiday season and I'm swampted at my business (no day off for last 49 days)... so I did TWO electric heaters (plugged into different circuit breakers) as a stop-gap before investing in a gas heater. Until less than 3 weeks ago I've been an under-lights or windowsill grower. This is my first greenhouse...and this is what I feared (and to think I was panicking a week ago when it dropped to 58degress... eeek!

    I've immediately brought the temperature up... but don't know if there is anything else I can do... besides invest in a gas heater...

    THANKS for anyone who has experience here...

  2. #2
    Mehera's Avatar
    Mehera is offline Just Another Senior Moment
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    Aw Scott! No greenhouse experience here; just moral support. I hope your plants will be OK. I tend to think it won't be the disaster you are fearing. Let us know?

  3. #3
    scottfar is offline Junior Member
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    Default Thanks!

    Aww, how sweet! THANK YOU for the moral support. You know what? reading it DID make me feel better! THANK YOU! Happy Holidays...

    Scott

  4. #4
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Hi. Sorry to hear about the temp problem. But please do not worry. 35 is not freezing and if it was only for a few hours, I am sure things will be fine. Plants towards the center of the greenhouse will probably not be affected at all. The ones against the outsides of the greenhouse might show some damage, but it will probably be minimal. It could cause some of your plants to bloom better for you next year as some orchids do like a temperature drop (usually not this drastic - lol )

    With that many plants, it is wise to invest in a back up system for heat. A few hours will probably not hurt them, but extended time would kill them. We have a gas heater but use two electric (oil filled) radiator heaters to knock the edge off of the gas bill. I feel better knowing there is a back up. Something else we did that could help you until you are able to afford the gas heat is to install an alert bell. We purchased one that connects directly to the thermostat in the greenhouse. If the temp goes above a certain level or if it goes below a certain level this big grey school-house type alarm goes off and makes a terrible racket. -Anything for the orchids!

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    Welcome to the forum!

    Cheers,
    BD

  5. #5
    scottfar is offline Junior Member
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    Default Thanks... hope your right...

    Thanks for the advice.. yes, been meaning to install a temp alarm just haven't had time since I put the greenhouse up to buy one.

    I actually have another greenhouse which will be my permanent set-up (10 feet by 24 feet) but won't get around to putting it up till spring. In the meantime, with the holidays I bought a small 8' x 8' greenhouse to just get the plants out of the kitchen! hehe.

    Meant to buy a propane heater for emergencies.. but it wouldn't have helped in this case because I would have had to manually turn it on.

    I have one of the Radiator style heaters and a regular coil heater --- and plugged them into different circuits in case they blew one of them.. but didnt' plan on a general power failure.

    I'll keep you all posted!.. and THANKS for helping!

  6. #6
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    ischel1 is offline Senior Member
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    Bless your heart Scott. I feel for you, but I don't think the temp drop will have too much of an impact. As BD said it will probably help them produce better blooms next year.

  7. #7
    JUDIUK is offline Senior Member
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    Tell me Bruce, do you have understanding neighbours?

  8. #8
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Quote Originally Posted by JUDIUK View Post
    Tell me Bruce, do you have understanding neighbours?
    LOL. We live in a very rural community. We really do not have any neighbors close by. The funny thing is that when the alarm goes off, the dogs make more noise than the blasted alarm. lol!

    Cheers,
    BD

  9. #9
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    Gin is offline Senior Member
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    Good idea Bruce !
    Scott if you can find one try to get a gas heater with a mechanical thermostat it will come on without power . Gin

  10. #10
    Ron-NY is offline rothaholic
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    I hope that they will be okay. It all depends on the temp tolerance of the plants. Catts are definitely hardier than Phals. I lost power once and the temps went down into the low 50's I wasn't worried but one of the Maxaillaria species I had at the time and my favorite one to boot, died with that temp. every other plant was fine.
    I have a few plants that would have loved that low. I leave them out until the first frost is predicted. I even have one that that temp drop would have caused it to bloom 10 days later.

    I think most of your plants should be fine.

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