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How was your week? Our was very nice. We are leaving early next week to visit our daughter in college and can't wait. She plays soccer as a goalie (Oh, she told me "keeper" is the proper term). Hopefully we will see her play next Wednesday.
We are trying something new. Video is the new technology of Websites. I enjoy trying to stay up to date with technology. Today's newsletter will have a short video from the American Orchid Society for you. I hope that you enjoy it.
I can use your help
We had a large nimber of questions about orchids from some of you. As you know this is for my new book, Mastering Orchids. I want to be sure that I have covered everything and that I gave each of you a chance to send them in.
To thank you for your time and effort I will send you a copy of the new book, Mastering Orchids prior to its publication later this fall.
Here is our contact form:
I am trying to answer each question personally but it is taking some time.
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Just a reminder that we offer free second day FedEx delivery for you on any orchid plant you choose.
This month newsletter includes:
..Our Monthly Specials
..Our Monthly Tip - Winter and orchids
..And a special beautiful orchid video
Specials of the Month - for October 2006
There is a wide variety of "Fresh from the Grower" bouquets for the fall and our Very Special Engraved Roses from our partners. Take a look.
Here are some spectacular Orchids, right for any occasion. How about one for your home? What about a gift for that special someone.
Winter Care of Orchids
Depending on where you are located this article may relate to you. This orchid plants newsletter is aimed primarily for orchid lovers in the Northern and Middle U.S. Most Southern areas do not need to take special precautions for winter care of orchids except when a frost alert is in place.
For the enthusiast, hobbyist or orchid lovers who grow their orchid plants outside during the warmer months this article is for you.
We are talking about the lighting, watering and temperature changes that will affect the growing orchids. During the winter season we as adults feel the effects of less light and cooler temps giving rise to feeling lethargy or lazy. Orchid plants will also be effected. Orchids need a certain amount of light and temperature to grow and the winter season can change that. A significant number of plants will have this as a normal period of dormancy or rest needed to get ready for the next budding period.
What about the natural light? The days are shorter and the nights longer so plants that need moderate to high light intensity may get short changed. This means that orchid plants like cattleya, epidendrum, dendrobium and oncidium may possibly need some artificial light. The high intensity orchids need about 12 to 14 hours of light during their growing season and less than that puts them at a disadvantage for generating buds and blooms.
It is only in the extreme northern US latitudes that we don't find at least 14 hours of daylight. The intensity of the light may be diminished because the sun is lower in the atmosphere during the winter. So if your plant needs more light you may need to move them from an area where they used to get bright diffused light to a sunnier area of the home.
The use of grow lights is not out of the question either especially for those plants requiring high light intensity like oncidums and some phals. Lighting is an important aspect of winter care of orchid plants and if the plants do not get enough they will not bud.
Let's change our attention to watering. The winter care of orchid plants usually means less watering because there is a needed period of rest. Instead of watering twice a week try watering once a week or instead of watering once a week we need to do it every 10 to 14 days. Now this changes if your home has low humidity, in this case you will need to water more often.
The normal humidity that orchid plants love is between 40 - 60%. Most homes can get to 20 - 30% humidity, especially when the heat is forced hot air. If your home does not you may need to use humidity trays. These are metal or plastic trays that are filled with pebbles and then about 1/2 the height with water.
Another alternative is to put the plants in the bathroom where showers or baths will give off enough humidity.
The winter care of orchid plants cannot be complete without mention of the required temperature. Since most orchids need temps between 55 - 80 degrees F, the plants in the middle and northern US need to come indoors. There are certain things we need to bear in mind.
Normal home temps are usually good for orchid plants but we need to consider that if homes temps are kept low due to the high heating bills we may need to add some warmth during the day to the plants. It is not good to keep them at a constant 60 -65 degrees Fahrenheit, they do need times with temps higher.
I suggest that you place the orchid plant in an area of direct or indirect sunlight which will warm the area about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If the orchid does not need bright light you can diffuse it by shear piece of a drape.
Be careful of the setting as well, a window sill in the day time may be wonderful for the plants but at night it may get too cold. In order to protect the plants use a curtain as a barrier to the cold. On the other hand the window sill can also burn plants if it gets too hot. By the way this damage also occurs with lack of water and over heating of the orchid plant.
The most common signs of cold injury include injury to the plant leafs which can be seen as pitting marks, large sunken areas or the eventual discoloration which can lead to a brown leaf. The amount of damage varies considerably with the cold injury. If a plant is frozen you will notice this rather fast after thawing. The dead spots on the leaves as well as the flowers and buds is easily noticeable.
Orchid plants need to have air circulating around them. In the winter there is a tendency for enthusiast to put the plants are the sources of hot air. This should not be done. It will harm your orchid if there is a direct breeze on the day in and day out. Just be sure there is some air movement around your plants.
Just a quick word about fertilizing, as this period is usually one of resting the need for fertilizer diminishes as well. You should stretch out the fertilizing to be twice as long as you would during the summer.
For example if your routine for fertilizing was once a week in the summer than the winter care of orchid plants says that it now should be once every two to three weeks.