planning for winter...(drat!)

conjuay(9B)September 16, 2009

Okay, I AM jumping the gun a little, but the coming cold weather will be my first winter as an orchid owner (read "addict").

I was hoping a few of the more seasoned (sorry) growers would be able to give me an idea of when they move the more sensitive plants indoors.

My main concern is the dozen or so Vanda / Ascocenda I have.

I'm in Central Florida, so there are only a few cold days each year, but I hope someone who has been at this a while can give an idea of when everyone comes indoors,-is it the nights that drop to the upper forties, mid-forties or lower.

Would some poly over the shade house be enough to get them through? (approx 5W X 9L X 6.5H)

I'm asking now because I will need to get something in place to hold them if they do come indoors, as bare root vandas are a little messy to try to water when almost all the house is carpeted .

I need to figure out in they'll be inside a couple of nights or for two months straight.

Thanks in advance

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penelope14(5 WI)


I've dragged my orchids in once and put them back out. The cacti are staying in until next summer now.

I usually pull my vandas and other orchids into the house when the temps are in the mid 40's. I don't know about the plastic over the shade house. Perhaps some of the Florida growers can answer that.

Regarding the watering during the winter. Can you use a hose attachment in the bathtub? If not, what about a 2 gallon pressure sprayer or you can do what I do with my vandas. I have some 5 gallon buckets filled with water and each morning put the baskets in the buckets for a few minutes (like 5 or 10). Pull them out, drain them, and hang them up again. I'm assuming you've got plastic on the floor or trays below them to catch any drips.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 1:40PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

I'm messing around with a few "Vandas" that are supposed to be cold tolerant.

Lots of lumping goes on with Vandas and not all require the high night minimums as those with a strong Vanda sanderiana influence.

I think there are some types that will happily get through winter provided that you provide cover to protect from cold rain and you live in a climate where frequent sunshine provides a lift in day temps.

One of my "experiments" is going to bloom soon after getting through winter with most nights in the 40 to 50F range, but note that it is in a glasshouse. It is Vascostylis Five Friendship x something else.

So, you might need to do a bit of sorting out and perhaps consider indoor vase culture for any that need higher night minimums.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 1:51PM
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This is Lee Bredeson, president of the Deep South Orchid Society in Savannah, GA (probably 4 hours north of you?) I just gave a talk on winter prep so your question is right on time. Some prep needs procrastination time. In central FL you are less likely to get freezing temps. Below Apopka it is said that folks can let their orchids be 'yard pets'. But that stray cold front in extremes can wreak havoc all the way through FL.
With vandas there are two general groups which are referred to as 'terete' and 'strap' leaf. The terete type's leaves grow closing together in a cylinder shape resembling a straw. This type are more heat resistant but do not tolerate cold as much. I try to keep mine entirely above 60 degrees. I have found that even a brief fall to 45-50 degrees can (as in might) result in the lower leaves yellowing and falling. (When buying vandas look for one that has leaves all the way down to the mount/roots. Shows good culture). The strap leaf type vandas have a broader open leaf. These are generally not as heat tolerant. In my collection during winter they tend to ride along with the terete type and stay cozy warm. I think you will find they tolerate down to 45 degrees for several hours for a day or two. Better not to risk it. Some growers may say don't worry about 'em.
People here in Southeast GA/SC often wrap their shade house with 2 layers of poly leaving an air space between. The trick is to make it as air tight as you can. (Take care to vent during warm weather) With less than 300? cubic feet, one or two ?100 watt light bulbs should keep the wrapped shade house warm enough (not scientifically determined). For about the cost of an orchid you might get a thermometer for the shade house with a wireless monitor you can keep in the house. Let it record the high and low temps over the last 24 hours. Get one that will alarm if the temp falls to whatever temp you set it on. A small fan is helpful as almost all orchids need air movement.
Changing the subject a bit, I love fragrant vandas. If anyone runs across a Vanda Golden Doubloon, an old primary hybrid from Mr Motes, please let me know.
Lee in the swamps of SC

ps At long last... I am leading some orchid travelers to Machu Picchu!!!, Peru and Ecuador in November! I'll run a little photo blog for anyone who wants to 'hitchhike' with us.

Here is a link that might be useful: ClassicOrchid

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 4:43PM
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MsFlintlock(z7 N GA)

I managed to coax one pet 3 foot Vanda thru the winter by making it shower with me every morning. Once it drained, it went back to the South facing window. After I got up to 300 plants or so, the Vandas had to tough it out in the greenhouse with the other 'chids. That plant died (maybe he saw too much!), but other vandas have coped OK.

I'm in the process of moving the plants inside from the yard now. (I'm in NE Georgia). Vandas and warm growers first. Cymbidiums last, when the nights are in the low 40's to high 30's. I try to build in some 'procrastination' time, so I don't create medical bills doing too much too fast. But I try to wait long enough for cooler temps to maybe initiate buds in any plant appreciative of such things. Right now the greatest danger is buds rotting in sheaths from days of intense rain and low light levels. During the year Hurricane Ivan came thru, all the plants were incarcerated in the GH by early Sept for their protection. I hated that. I work toward having it done by mid October. My GH is shaded, so it takes until the end of October for the leaves to be off the trees and the GH light to be up to par. Timer lights have to do til then.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 10:00AM
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cjwatson(Z8 FL)

I move my vandaceous types into the GH when nights start to consistently fall below 60F in my yard, which is not necessarily what the temp is where the weather bureau takes it at the airport. Be careful with temps; my house, further inland, is always 8-10 degrees less than the forecast temps for the area.

In addition to honing in on your own specific conditions, there are microclimates in your yard which can vary as well; such as over sun-warmed pavement, under trees, up against the wall of the house, under a porch, wind direction. If you are going to leave tender orchids out, you have to be on top of what the temp is exactly where they are situated.

Of course, all the orchids end up in the GH during the winter months. Cattleya hybrids stay out unless the night temp is going below about 45F. Laelia purpurata stays out down to freezing along with a few other cold-lovers, like Neo falcata. But when it gets down into the teens, they are obviously all in the GH with the heaters pumping to keep the low temp at about 58-60F. The Vandas seem to do okay with this low.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 10:49AM
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