Care for Outside Growing
months are the active growing season for most orchids, especially if
they're outside. This means making some adjustments in
your plant care.
Outdoor light is much stronger and more intense than indoors.
outdoors can be 10 times stronger than sun that shines through a
the first couple of weeks outside, protect
keeping them in total shade - even "high light" orchids. In a couple of
they acclimate to
outside, start moving
light plants (Cattleya,
Dendrobium, Cymbidiums) into more sun. A couple hours of early morning
afternoon sun is ideal. Dappled sunlight throughout the
also works. Always avoid direct midday sun -
even high light plants
perfect for most orchids
As your plants transition to outdoor growers, they'll drink copious
amounts of water compared to indoors.
Sometimes as much as 2-3
times more! That watering schedule of once every 2-3 weeks will
probably change to once a
The good news is watering won't be a problem if you've set
up your plants properly (see setting
up your plants
Orchids spring to life outdoors in the summer. Water to
the "opt" marking on the gauge (that's 1/2 way up). When the
gauge reads "min" rewater - no dry period necessary. Always allow
enough time for the gauge to go down before rewartering however. Most
plants will use up their water in a week.
On the other hand, if a rainy period has your orchids standing
in water for a week or more,
I recommend forcing a "dry period". Using one hand to steady the
plant (and holding the pebbles in place) dump
out all the water in the saucer. If you're using grower trays,
from the tray and
out all the water. Don't rewater for several days. Those roots need air!
guidelines for setting up your orchids for "outside growing" and you'll
never have to worry about watering again -
even with a garden hose!
Your plants are actively growing and they're hungry! Apply full
nutrients every watering. (We use and recomend Dyna-Gro 7-9-5,
per gallon.) Occassional rain showers will flush the system.
If your plants are protected from the rain, flush out the system every
couple of weeks by pouring clear water (no nutrients) through the
pebbles until it drains out the bottom of the pot. The garden hose
works well for this.
I add Pro-Tek (1/2 tsp. per
the nutrient solution during the summer months. Pro-Tek adds
silicon to the mix which makes
plants more heat tolerant and drought resistant.
roots on a
(from last summer).
advantage to growing outside are the temperatures. Unlike
houseplants, orchids welcome
hot days and chilly nights. Most orchids enjoy temperatures into the
90's during the day and as low as 50-55
degrees at night.
Don't worry about hot weather. As long as your
plants are protected from
direct, mid-day sun they'll be
nature designed orchids to
heat by using the air moving
over their leaves
to keep cool. If your plants are getting a breeze, high temperatures
won't be a
gentle shower from the garden hose always helps too.