Winter Care for Orchids
I posted a question about changing fertilisers at this time of year (see link below). It prompted another line of thought that I am posting here. They go hand in hand. Winter preparation.
I remember being lost as a new indoor grower last winter. While I shutter to think I will go through another winter locked up in z-5 with a couple hundred sleepy 'chids, I know this is reality.
Some people look at putting their orchids outdoors in Northern zones as a "break" from orchid tending. I am the opposite. For me & my collection, winter rest is "break-time".
I came from balcony growing in Fl to indoor growing with a very short outdoor season in Chicago. I never really thought too deeply about growing when I lived in Fl. (that was before I found this forum!) I only assisted Mother Nature every once in a while. Winters in FL, I was too busy with "high season fun" to care about orchids. Inadvertently, my neglect was actually correct; a winter rest period.
I wanted to start a thread since I see many new names on the board asking many questions. Today is the equinox. I thought it appropriate to open this discussion. It's a beast of a subject to handle. I need lots of help!
I clipped this post by WC8; an excellent discussion on the basics of rest:
This is a "soft intro" to winter care for orchids. It's difficult to get your mind around the concept as a new grower. A preview of the months to come
Water reduction/rest is connected with day length. If you grow in indoors; conditions also dictate watering habits; the amount of light being #1 on the conditions list.
Rest is also an emulation of situational conditions/ requirements in order to induce flowering the following season. Think about what we are growing; Mainly plants that come from places that go dry & sunny in winter and then are blasted by hurricanes and monsoons in summer.
This summer I read a few posts about Lycaste's not producing flowers or leaves. A strict winter rest is manditory in order to achieve a blooming cycle next spring. When the leaves are dropping my watering slows down. Then it stops. Last year I did roughly 3-4 MONTHS of rest. I maybe watered 4 times and tiny little sips if I saw the PB shriveling in any significant way. Other than that, I forgot I had them, kept them in the brightest light I had to give them. They are resting from water; not from light or temps; even naked PB's need good light. I iliminate all fertiliser at rest time. Kind of unthinkable to torture a Lycaste? No, not after the dozens of fragrant flowers I had this season and gorgeous scarf-like leaves!
Even though I have a "mixed bag collection", I can only think of 1 who doesn't get a rest or reduction in winter? For me Aer. odorata & my pleuro's; Dracs /Masde's. However, they do go a bit dryer in winter. I don't have the light to give them in winter and the day length is truncated.
Questions for the forum:
- Which orchids get a water reduction or rest in winter?
- Can anyone think of commonly grown orchids that do not require a winter rest or water reduction?
- How do you know which ones rest and which ones don't?
For the last question, I pull the Baker's culture sheet or ask the board
I don't fertilise anyone during the winter, with the exception of Dracs and Masdes but maybe 1-2x during winter. Hospital re-habs will continue to get High -N/ Superthrive. They can't rest or be reduced. They are too compromised. They have to be in fairly bad condition
Lycaste ( Dry rest)
Angs - let MB handle that one! (I emailed you but I am having incoming email problems)
Cloud Forest- (reduction)
Vandacious (neos, japonica, asco's) - Reduction
Japonica is an exception with respect to temps IMO. It will stay in very cool through a good bit of the winter. I will keep him in the shoppe, sans heat, long after I have moved everyone else into the apartment. Neos will join japonica for a time.
Can anyone add to the list?
Anything I have in s/h, intergens oncids, for example, go dry as a bone for a some days before I even think about filling the resevoir again. My disclaimer is that I have 70-80% RH and use a lot of rock as the substrate. Lava rock holds a lot of moisture.
When I say reduction, it is different depending on your indoor micro-climate. No one can tell you how many times a month to water. Maybe someone can recommend a % reduction ? I cannot. I will be on almost 100% artificial light but high RH. My waterting schedule will be different that someone who has more light to offer and less humidity.
Medium is discussed a lot. For me, it makes a difference only in winter. Orchids in spag will have to be watered less frequently that orchids in bark.
Well, the snake is out of the bag....
Looking forward to a restful winter
PS Anyone know what became of Spiced_Ham?
Here is a link that might be useful: Fall/Winter Fertiliser Discussion