Cold questions (overwintering)

goddess9(7b)September 24, 2012

My Hoyas are currently outside, growing like weeds. The nights are dipping to around 50 degrees, so I'm starting to think about bringing them back in. The thing is that I have many Hoyas currently rooting or finally putting out new growth and it makes me nervous to bring them back in.

(I don't know if I asked these questions before - my brain is shot. So forgive me if I have asked them.)

1. What do you with the plants you bring back in? Do you soak them to get rid of the creepies? Diatomaceous earth?

2. How cold do you let them get before bringing them in?

3. How do you Hoyas react to being brought back inside? Will new growth stay intact?

4. I bought a CFL bulb that has a 65K output with 1900 lumens. I know some of you give supplemental lighting during the winter - is this sufficient? (This bulb is for my rooting tank.)

5. How do you ween your Hoyas off the high humidity of a rooting tank? I have three separate tanks and two are outside right now. Most of them have a good root system but they've been in high humidity for at least a month...

Thanks so much guys. I know this forum is kind of slow now, so I hope everyone's Hoyas are giving you guys joy and not fits!

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Hi Goddess,

They can stay out awhile longer. I don't keep many of mine outside, but my GH is wide open (the windows are hard to get to to shut them...) It got down to 33 - yes 33 degrees! - Sat. night. I still had a few Hoyas (small ones) outside and a LOT of my succulents. Nothing seems to be any worse for it. Mind you, I don't usually allow them to get that cold, but it caught me off guard and I had to work that night, so I didn't get them in.

When you bring them in, you might notice their growth rate slow down. It's natural due to less light. They'll usually start growing again when they're adjusted to being inside, though I find some do go pretty darn dormant in winter.

Bringing plants out of a humidity dome isn't usually a big deal. Most domes have some vents you can open - I'd start by opening those wide for a few days. Then I'd remove the dome and keep all the plants in the tray for a few days. Just being in close proximity will keep the humidity higher. If you notice any acting wilty, you can put them back into a humid environment, but most will adjust just fine.

Denise in Omaha

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 3:03PM
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Thanks for the response, Denise.

This is my first winter growing Hoyas, so I don't want to kill anything via egregious error. I know what they like during the warm months but I am clueless as to the winter months.

Do you stop watering when they go dormant?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:14PM
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Hi Goddess!
I don't keep anything outside as far as Hoya goes. As far as watering they do slow down and I water less but some of mine do keep going and as long as they show new growth I try to water more to keep those going. The others will slow or even dry the new growth to the last node so these I water less and let them rest. At that point I use water at room temp soak thoroughly and then not water until the soil has dried more than when they are active. Does that make sense? My heat has already been on for at least a week and they are not showing signs of slowing down yet. My humidity is at sixty five percent and I do not have the heat on higher than seventy one. I also use less fertilizer keeping that to once a month instead of every watering while they were active. ~ Mary

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:52PM
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Thanks for the input, Mary! That was very helpful.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 7:34PM
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I have a winter question, too. Most of my hoyas are within a couple feet of my only decent sized bright window (SE exposure), which is a sliding glass door. This is the door I take my dogs out to do their business, so I open and shut it a couple times a day. Temps will be mainly in the 20s to 40s here in East Tennessee this winter.

Can some or all of my hoyas handle a brief, cold, somewhat indirect blast? Or would I be asking for trouble, especially with the real warmth-lovers?

Thanks, as always, for your advice!


    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 11:27AM
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I find that many of my Hoyas pout a bit during the change in seasons. Some plants even develop yellow leaves during this time of year but they all stabilize. I am quite sure that this has to do with watering and cooler temperatures. Some of the hot growing species really resent being cold and wet so be wary of these conditions.
Tropical plants can take a range of temperatures but it's impossible to to talk about tropicals as a whole. These plants differ dramatically in habitat conditions and plants living in the mountains are often subject to cool or cold conditions at night for at least part of the year. You have to become familiar with the areas your plants come from and then work to group them together, hot, warm, and cool/cold growers.
SRQ Hoyas and the Liddle catalog do a good job of giving temperature tlerance info so use this as a guide. Some Hoyas will do very poorly with exposed to 50F nights and lowland or hot growing tropicals are often best with a minimum of 65F.

Check out the link below and scroll down a bit until you see the temperature and elevation charts. This chart is applicable to all tropicals, some will of course be more sensitive than others. Knowing the range in elevation where a species prefers to grow will help you keep your plants happy.

Fans are very important to growing in either the home or a greenhouse. If you don't have a small fan in your growing area you should. Air movement stops moisture condensation, stagnant conditions, and cold or hot spots. Don't point the fan directly at the plants but instead use it to move the air around a room. A ceiling fan is perfect if you have one in a room already.
A short blast of cold air is probably not going to be an issue but if you leave the door open for 20 min while the dogs are outside you might see some problems.

Light is also important so if you notice gloomy conditions for days on end you should get supplemental lighting of some sort. Just a floor lamp with a daylight bulb pointed towards the plants will help keep them happy over the winter. You can also use reflective mylar to bounce light back towards plants.


Here is a link that might be useful: Internet Orchid Species Photo Encyclopedia

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 2:24PM
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I agree, Denise! It caught me off guard, too. Partially because I'm still a little out of sync with my plants. But still! Didn't I just turn off the air conditioning?

Mike, I wish I could figure out how to prevent the autumnal sulk. I don't feel like my indoor conditions fluctuate that dramatically especially since they are all under artificial light, but clearly they notice what's going on outside and don't like it. The year before last my plants stayed wet too long and then last year they got dry too fast. Is this going to be the year I do everything just perfect?

Of course it is


    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 3:27PM
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