How far will you go to accommodate your orchids? Pics

meyermike_1micha(5)March 4, 2012

I have been spending the last few weeks following the sunlight, and now finding ways to prevent the sun from burning my orchids from Cattleya seedlings and Oncidiums, to Dendrobium and so on..

Many times through the year I find myself placing the orchids that like certain light levels at certain places throughout the home, and especially the greenhouse.

Today, now that the sun all of sudden starting feeling hot, I took all the full sun loving tropical plants I have, and placed them on the right side of the greenhouse, than took all my orchids that were scattered about and rearranged them so that the ones that like the most diffused light are now on the top of my shelves on the left side of the greenhouse, with medium light ones half way down, and then low light ones on the bottom.

I also hung a huge gardenia and a few other plants in the center of the greenhouse so that many others will get bright dabbled light underneath the canopy.

I have taken many orchids I had in full sun in the windows of my home, and placed them to the right or left of my south facing windows so they would get morning and late afternoon sun.

I took a few pics to show you what I did in the greenhouse this am.

Please, if there are any experts here that can give me suggestions, I am open to any. Many orchids I do not know the name of since they came with no tags, so I will have to generalize. tomorrow I will take a shade cloth and start at the pitch of the greenhouse, and drape it over all my orchids. I am afraid if I don't by the time the sun comes out, the full afternoon sun will burn them.

Please, take a look:-)

Top shelves

Middle shelves and under shelves

Bottom under all shelves in most shade and under dabbled light


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I'm blown away, Mike! I didn't know you had such a lovely collection!

Just a heads up, but we got cold temperatures last night, and it actually snowed! It's still on the ground this morning, so a front may be moving in your direction. We've had the strangest winter, as you know, and after the warmer weather of February, the last thing I expected was snow and cold now... but here it is! Just so you know. :-)

But seriously... I am blown away! Your plants are positively wonderful! The blooms... oh my! I can almost feel and smell what it's like to be standing in the midst of all that!

Just what I needed on a chilly, snowy morning... thanks, Mike! :-) Hi, Mom!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 8:51AM
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I love the look of a full greenhouse. Yours looks lovely. I just this summer built my own little lean-to greenhouse and find myself moving stuff around to try and find just the right spot. I am currently trying to figure out an easy way to open and close my shade cloth- it is usually pretty cloudy here all winter- but when the sun does come out, boy does it shine! I worry that my 'chids don't like the too much / too little sun rotation. But this little obsession of mine keeps me from obsessing about less fun things- so accommodate away is what I say!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 10:19AM
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There is a law at work here: 'No matter how big a greenhouse is, the number of plants attempting to live there will rise to it's maximum capacity and then exceed it. If you enlarge the greenhouse, refer to the previous sentence to get the number of plants you may add.'

For practical aspects, there is no maximum as no matter how many plants you may have, there is always room for just one more.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 12:07PM
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That's so true, Nick! I don't have a greenhouse but my 4-season sunroom is situated so it gets the southeast sun in 2 of the 3 sides (the room is open to the music room at one end). I have a 4-shelf unit under fluorescent lights that holds the cattleyas on top, then the oncidium types that like a little less underneath. Opposite them on the west facing wall, I have a 3 shelf unit for the phals, beallaras and some other hybrids. I know the shelves are full, yet I went out yesterday afternoon and came home with a Miltonia "Ruby Robe". I figure I can always toss a couple that aren't performing.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 1:52PM
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James AKA lumpy_j

Sorry Jodik that cold front was my fault. I put some plants outside on Saturday. Whenever I move something outside the temps drop 20 degrees, It could be May or June but every year its the same thing I move somthing outside and the temps go way down. FIY I'm going o drain the gas from my snow blower this weekend so expect a blizzard next week sometime.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 3:08PM
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Lumpy!!!! Lololol. Keep your plants inside for a change will you, and please, keep the gas in there! lol

Jodik! Did I surprise you? Ha. I have been growing some for a while now, playing around with them and hoping I could get at least a couple to rebloom, and I did. I did and I have you and many others here to thank for all your support! This in the ONLY place I have been secretly visiting until recently, and now, well, I guess I have come out of the

I was telling 'Bob' the other day, which of whom was a complete joy to chat with, that I was raised with orchids around me since I was a child in the Carribean, but just never put my heart into growing them here until recently.
I did try and failed at one time.
Watching them grow as I did has given me common sense on a lot of them lately, but still I question my ways? I never have enough confidence in myself that I can succeed at something new.

I remember growing up never seeing an orchid exposed to full sunlight, and many that had high light had yellow leaves, smaller roots, but huge flowers!

I never saw the growing on teh ground or dirt either, but very deep fluffy leaf mold under trees. Those never flowered, but just survived with tons of green leaves.

Those that got medium light had greener leaves and they were usually Cattleya's hanging from Coconut tree crevices, roots always locked into place.

Those like Dendrobiums got high light and would always look drabby, but the flowers were amazing and teh roots were hard and snug against the trees and even wires!

The Phaphs would hug the trees like rope, and I would always find those under dense leaves with huge flower stalks. many would have this live moss all over the roots too. They were like weeds to us.

I love orchids, always did, and now it is my job to try and mimick what they like in the wild, and let me tell you, not only has this forum helped me tremondously, but also living amoung them.

There is ALWAYS room for one more, and there will always be those of us trying to accommodate our plants, sort of like what we do for loved ones and friends coming for a long

I wonder if anyone here actually chases the sunlight all year like I do?

Lisa, gotta love the greenhouse! Keeping it warm has always scared me with the cost of fuel, but for now, I will continue to have fun and keep making more room.

Nick, that is what I say everytime I see a new Citrus tree in bloom even though I have over
There is always room for one more!

Jodik!! Just a heads up. It will be in the 60's come Wednesday and it will feel like the middle of spring maybe hitting 70 by next week.
Can you imagine if the real cold we missed out on decided to visit us after everything has blossomed out a month early? I hate to think of it:-(
Great on the heating bill though considering the oil per gallon is a dollar more a gallon this winter standing at 389 a gallon! That's a 1000 dollar fill up every other month in cold winters!


    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 6:56PM
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Gee, thanks, Lumpy! ;-) I'll be sure to keep all my cold weather gear handy!

Honestly, I wouldn't have minded a decent snow cover this winter, which would have helped insulate the gardens, and we have tons of roses, but I would not be happy about a blizzard this late in the season! Although... it would sure beat the heck out of tornadoes, and we live awfully close to tornado alley, as we call it, where everything is flat... and occasionally, you can hear that freight train rumble off in the distance during a bad storm, indicating that one is touching down or swirling nearby. We've been really lucky so far, knock on wood.

Mike, you have no idea how often I dream of living in the Caribbean, where the weather is warmer and more humid, and I can hear the surf hitting the beach... I know it would be a lot better for my body, considering, but the husband would never go for it... he hates hot weather and loves winter, and would never want to move that far away from the kids. So, the most I can ever hope for is a vacation someday! I wouldn't really want to move far from the kids, either, though... the grandkids are just way too great, and as grandparents, it's now payback time! ;-)

But seriously... Mike, those are some awesome plants! I'm so glad you shared them! They really brightened my morning! I was thinking of taking my few orchids out to the greenhouse this spring, once weather allows, and see if I can get them into better shape. They're doing ok, but it's just so dry up here, and I haven't had time yet to isolate them into a little plastic cover to help with humidity.

I've been busy putting a business plan together, and getting inventory done, and a lot of other stuff, so my plants get a bit neglected. The one thing I am religious about is taking my vitamins and doing the protein thing every morning. I'm starting to feel a little better already!

Gosh, how great would that be to have so many thriving orchids of different kinds growing around you that you actually thought of them as weeds! Oh, would I be in heaven! :-)

Your skills show up every time you post a picture, Mike... you're doing fine... better than fine! You're doing great! Your plants always look so healthy, and so happy! Don't over guess yourself... you'll drive yourself nuts. You've got the fundamentals down, you know the science, the physics, and it just comes down to learning what each type of plant you have requires, culturally speaking. If you're unsure a plant needs watering, wait a day.

I don't have the luxury of chasing the sun... I have 3 windows indoors... east, south, and north. The east window is loaded with plants. I keep some in the south window, but it's in a stairwell and partially blocked by large sycamore trees. I also keep a few plants in the north window, and believe it or not, they do ok. They're mostly Amaryllids, and one Ponytail Palm. I have to bring in anything that can't tolerate freezing, because we cannot afford to heat the greenhouse. It's too exposed in location. It would cost a small fortune.

So... anything that does come in for winter gets jammed in with everything else, or propped up on shelves as close to the windows as I can get. I do have supplemental lighting, just a couple of shop type fixtures with one cool and one warm bulb in each, but they don't really do that much. Even so, any help is better than none.

I must say, though... yes, I was highly surprised! I'm just drooling over those white flowers, Dens, I'm guessing... and the "coconut" orchid is definitely one I'm trying this spring. I'm saving up to make a stop at Oak Hill Gardens next time we go north to visit the kids... I need some bark, and of course I'll have to walk around the greenhouses... and in the process, I'm certain that a few small starter plants will beg me to take them home, and how can you say "no" to such cute little things, I ask ya? :-)

I was told at one point that a Bl or Bc (can't remember which) "Yellowbird" would do rather well in my home conditions, so I've got that one in mind, too. When I see something I think matches to the environment I have, I write it down. The list is growing!

Again, Mike, thank you for sharing those pictures... I bow to your growing skills... you're really doing an excellent job. Honestly, everything is just beautiful!

Well... I need some rest... it's been a very long day for me. Lumpy, nice to make your acquaintance, and please... try to keep that blizzard on lock down for now! ;-)

As for everyone else, have a lovely evening, and Happy Growing!

And, as always, my best to you and Mom, Mike! :-)

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 9:52PM
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Jodik. Thank you so much!

It never fails that you always have something nice to say and have a way to enourage me and others. You are full of kindness and not afraid to pat many off the back when deserved..
We need more like that on these forums, to encourage others to keep the faith that they can succeed!

Those white flowers are one of the most fragrant orchids I ever smelled in my life. The fragrance almost blew me away when I opened the door this am:-)

Jodik...You make me laugh! If I am not mistaken, it's a Blc Cattleya. I have quite a few of unique ones of those, although I would do anything to find a 'JACK COLE' cattleya! here I go again on the search, unless someone knows and if they do, please let me know:-)

I am always happy to make you smile Jodik and I hope I can make others happy by sharing and being a part of these forums, since I am fairly new here.

Bob, if you see this, thanks again for all you have done, and for your kindness along with the many others here:-)


    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 6:24PM
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westoh Z6


No problem, I've already filled up the free space :-)


    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 6:53AM
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It's my pleasure, Mike! You've been such a good friend, and you posses qualities as a human being that one doesn't find that often these days. I'm honored by your friendship, truly. Encouragement and support come naturally when you care about your friends... and you and Mom are very special people. :-)

And your skills as a grower have just exploded! I think we all begin with enthusiasm, but sometimes it's the industry, itself, or all the myths and general misinformation that have been a part of container growing and gardening forever... sometimes we end up feeling like we're fighting a losing battle, and it can get a little frustrating or depressing.

But once you find that set of basic fundamentals, that include a bit of science, physics, facts, and common sense... well, that can put us on a new track to greater success. And we've found that.

There's no luck or magic to having a "green thumb". It's all knowledge... a green thumb is simply applied knowledge.

As you know, Mike, I spent decades doing everything the conventional way... the way that the industry in general leads us, with the products it offers, etc... if someone had taught me a few basic truths when I was a lot younger, I'd be much farther along in my growing success.

I think if the first thing I ever learned was "growing within the confines of a container is exceedingly different from growing in the ground, because they're two entirely different environments with differing variables", I think I might have been off and running in the right direction.

Anyway... if you didn't deserve the praise you get, Mike, you wouldn't get it. You've taken what you've learned, and you've applied it... and look at where you're at today. Look at all your fruit trees, your Jades, your orchids, everything... you're doing a tremendous job, and it shows in the health of your plants, and in the fact that they are re-blooming for you!

Everything looks so happy, so green, and the blooms are wonderful!

One of these days, I'll have a better place to grow plants, that I won't have to share with my husband's work space, which includes a lot of electronics and technology that requires a drier environment. And that's part of our livelihood, so I can't introduce a lot of humidity. But there ARE things I can do a little differently, and this year, I'm bound and determined to find that happy medium.

This apartment is simply too small to have both dry and humid areas. So... either I find a way to work around that, or we try harder to improve certain aspects of our lifestyle... and I'm thinking while either would work, I'm up for moving closer to the kids, and having a larger space to work with. Like many others, this economy hit us harder than expected, and we have adjustments to make. But it will all come together... like a boat in changing weather, we simply have to lay in a slightly different course, and we're on it. :-)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 10:51AM
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Jodik, I have also figured out lately that, growing in the confines of a container is also different than growing on the bark and crevices of trees! Now, that is something I am just learning after all thse years!

Jodik, you have absolutely encouraged me to the hilt and I thank you so much for that. I don't think I could of understood the basic fundamentals, that include a bit of science, physics, facts, and common sense, unless I had learned from here.
Although, the 'common' sense I would have to say was the only first one thing I did understand with some hard thinking, after living in the tropic all those years, by watching how plants react to their native environment, something I wish I had applied years ago.

Not only are you too kind, but very good yourself! I know that you will be posting pics of your beautiful plants here real soon, just as soon as they bloom, like Josh's did.

Look at Josh, whom has been learning the same things as I, who managed to get a rare, special 'Cattleya' to bloom for his first time, whey he even surprised his Grandpa! Good for him!

We can grow them together Jodik, and I will work with you.
I have a feeling the only reason why your little bud aborted was just because it was too dry. With a little more air moisture, like in a dome type structure or over lots of wet rocks, you will, can do it!

Thank you for being a part of my life, this forum, and for just being you. I am blessed with a few good people like you!

Bob, so far so good!!!:-))))


    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 2:01PM
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Now, you're making me blush, Mike! :-) You're too kind!

You know, having the background you do might help you a lot more than you think. I'm willing to bet a lot of memories have been jogged by thinking back to that tropical childhood, and the things you've seen and experienced. And that should help you find the types of orchids that do best for you, and help you with memories of where they grew naturally, and what they seemed to like. So, all in all, I think you're one step ahead of the game, already!

It just dawns on me that the shelving units I use came with plastic zip up covers. All I need to do, really, is reposition one so it's directly in front of the window. That, I think would help a lot!

The only trick is... it entails tearing apart my whole arrangement and starting from scratch in that alcove... and it's a huge job. However, it had to be done at some point, so... it looks like I have a new project! :-)

Thank you, Mike... for all the kind words, for the help, and for making me think about it all a little deeper. I CAN provide a better environment... I just need to dig in and move everything around! :-)

I know, Josh's Catt is just beautiful... and I also drool over the offerings at ebay now and again, just to keep updated on what people are growing, and to see the lovely colors and shapes...

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 7:11AM
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Hey Jodik!

I never realized how much would come to mind in respects to orchids from childhood just a few years ago.
I also remember how humid the air was, and now that is something hard to replicate for many, but is doable.!
It was so humid, your pants felt damp and hair curled all day!
It never get's that humid in my greenhouse, but pretty darn close to it if I spray everything down with water on a sunny morning.

Sounds like you have a plan up your sleeve. Wonderful! It will work.

Want to hear something else I discovered?

In just the short time I have been growing these, I noticed that the roots towards the top of some of my mixes were happier than the bottom portion.
It tells me that my mixes were staying damp too long towards the bottom, while the top half in the pots were getting dry to rapidly, and were doing the best with frequent watering while the ones at the bottom suffered.

So I use peanuts on the bottom of some pots and I also created a mix for some pots that is more coarse, bigger bark pieces, and place them on the bottom so the roots there will dry out as fast as the mix on top. Does this make sense? It balances my mixes as they dry out from top to bottom.
The mix starts out small on top and gets bigger as you go deeper into the pots.
This way it accomodated the roots as a whole.
It's been working for me:-)

It is 68 degreed today and I am stuck indoors! I can think of lots of things to do if I were off today outside.
How's the weather your way?

By the way, I just recieved two more Cattleya from Hawaii!

Everyone of them is fragrant and I can't wait until they flower:-)

Thank you for everything.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 1:22PM
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It's sunny, and hopefully warm out there, Mike... I haven't yet been out. Still brooding over morning coffee, and waiting until I can feel a little better.

Wait... I take that back... I just went and checked and it's a little chilly and windy, but not bad. Mild. I had to go let the cats out of the garage... they sometimes come in at night, but if you don't open the door to let them out during the day, they tend to make a mess rummaging around!

So, anyway... I have a lot to do, but rearranging my plant area is on the list. And I think I'm going to try the peanut thing and larger bark pieces for a couple of these plants, and see how much better it is... I do believe you're right when it comes to the orchids. Once I can give them a bit more humidity, the larger substrate will help.

I've noticed the same things with my own orchids... the upper and air roots are healthy, while the ones reaching down seem to be somewhat less so... so that would mean too much moisture being held for too long. Or, it could also indicate that my substrate is breaking down. Either way, it will soon be time for re-potting.

I hope you have a good day... I'm off to get my work done!

Tell Mom I said hello... hugs for you both! :-)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 11:58AM
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JOdik, are you feeling better today? I hope so. I hope the warmer weather is making a better impact on your body as well as your plants:-)

Mom says "right back at you":-))

Funny, you should see how many of those peanuts I have saved
They are hard to find these days, the ones not made of starch that

You should see the different kinds of bark and substrate I have Jodik!
Thus far, I seem to LOVE the Orchiada, I think that is how you spell it, bark the most. It's so smooth and stay a bit moisture than the fir I have found. The roots of many of my plants relish in it.

I usually mix it with the coarser perlite. I also love the mix Josh taught me to use. My Cattleya are thriving in that too. It's made of fir bark, perlite. and pumice. Light and dries out rather rapidly.
Some believe it or not like 'coconut chunks', yup. I said But I do notice this stuff breaks down more rapidly but it holds internal moisture quite nicely. It seems that once my orchids put out new roots from the surface, they take a nose dive right into it. Big fat green roots!

Who knows. This experimenting can be quite interesting and fun when you have several of the same species and can afford to see what does what in what conditions, pots, and mix.

OK, I am off to work. Take care and I shall see you soon:-) Hug!


    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 5:46AM
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