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  • 1 Post By Alplily NH
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  • 1 Post By raybark

Recommendations for high altitude home?

This is a discussion on Recommendations for high altitude home? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Do I have a challenge for you! It has been a long time since I ...

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  1. #1
    Alplily NH's Avatar
    Alplily NH is offline Senior Member
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    Julie
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    Like: all, Able to grow: phals
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    Default Recommendations for high altitude home?

    Do I have a challenge for you!

    It has been a long time since I last posted. When I lived in New Hampshire USA, I could grow and bloom nearly anything in my home (except for the plants that are far outside of home conditions). I now live at 7,500 feet in Colorado and can hardly grow anything. My phrag sits looking sullen and has never bloomed. My phals occasionally bloom, but not like they did before. I gave away most of my many plants before they plumb croaked on me. I am fairly knowledgeable, but can't figure it out. Is it my tap water? Do my newer condo windows have a coating on them that starves my plants of a critical band of UV? Do I not have enough of an average temp differential between night and day to induce blooming? I dunno. But I want to try again.

    Looking for recommendations for compact growers that like drier conditions (my winter humidity is kept at 30%, but it is much drier in summer). I provide gravel trays. Light is generally northeast to east. I have a window that gets early sun, then not much, and none in winter (with temps ranging from 52 to 65F in winter), and one window that gets sun until about noon (temps ranging from 55 to 68-70F, and one north window (temps ranging from 53 to 65F). Temps in summer are all over the place due to altitude and lack of air conditioning. I can put plants outdoors in summer as long as I take care that nighttime temps don't drop too far.

    Looking for big bang for the buck, hardy, adaptable plants, compact growers, compact inflorescence, fragrance would be a great bonus as would long-lasting blooms, or multiple blooms per year. No common phals, please, or floofy catts, or Onc Twinkle/Sharry Baby. Plants that require a dormancy or are deciduous would not be a good bet.

    I am already trying:
    Den. kingianum
    Zygopetalum 'Blue Blazes'
    Sedirea japonica
    Neostylis Lou Sneary 'Bluebird'

    Go! (love you in advance!)

  2. #2
    raybark's Avatar
    raybark is offline Senior Member
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    Ray Barkalow
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    Default

    Well Julie, it certainly isn't the altitude itself that's the issue, nor a lack of UV, but I'd first get a water analysis from your provider, or if on a well, get that tested.

    There are lots of plants that like the cooler temperatures, but few really do well in low-humidity conditions. Pebble trays won't to anything to help that (read this), so you really ought to consider a better way to boost your RH - 50% is better for them, your health, and for the structure of your home.

    There is a vendor whose marketing phrase is "orchids on a stick" that has a pretty good search tool, allowing one to plug in cultural parameters and search for likely plants, so will give you some good leads, even if you don't buy from them.

  3. #3
    Alplily NH's Avatar
    Alplily NH is offline Senior Member
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    Julie
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    Like: all, Able to grow: phals
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by raybark View Post
    Well Julie, it certainly isn't the altitude itself that's the issue, nor a lack of UV, but I'd first get a water analysis from your provider, or if on a well, get that tested.

    There are lots of plants that like the cooler temperatures, but few really do well in low-humidity conditions. Pebble trays won't to anything to help that (read this), so you really ought to consider a better way to boost your RH - 50% is better for them, your health, and for the structure of your home.

    There is a vendor whose marketing phrase is "orchids on a stick" that has a pretty good search tool, allowing one to plug in cultural parameters and search for likely plants, so will give you some good leads, even if you don't buy from them.
    Thanks! Water quality is quite good, but there is some sort of additive my community puts in it to help keep the pipes from rusting (!!!). Yeah, I know it isn't the altitude so much as the dry conditions up here. I live at the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. My humidifier is routed through my forced air furnace, so that is how I can keep it at a fairly consistent 30% in the winter (but humidifier doesn't run in the summers). If I go much higher than that, I get condensation running down my windows due to low outdoor temps, but I will try to nudge it up. Misting is pointless (as you know). I will search for the vendor you recommend. Appreciate the response. (in contrast, in NH, I could grow and bloom Phal, Phrag, Den, Max, Sediriea, Enc, Onc, Intergens, etc. etc. *sigh*)

  4. #4
    raybark's Avatar
    raybark is offline Senior Member
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    Ray Barkalow
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    Yes, I remember the condensation issue when I moved from GA to KY. One way to prevent that is to direct a fan at the window, accelerating evaporation.

    The key is finding a way to trap the humidity around the plants. After I had sold my greenhouse but before moving, I had my plants on "Bakers Rack" shelves with lights, and that was covered in a clear humidity tent with zippered door. Water evaporating from the potting media and the drainage that was in the nursery trays the plants sat in provided plenty of humidity.

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