Hello Orchid Growers March 2019
Orchid Growers Group in February discussed various orchid house designs and set ups. Russ’s revamped construction model was a big hit in the demonstration. Just because you have an orchid house does not mean you are guaranteed good culture.
Following are some of the various factors you need to consider for success.
The style of you roof (dome/flat/hip) will affect the light distribution in the area. North or easterly aspects will allow for better light quality. Be aware of the light variation and place various types of orchids appropriately to their requirements. Learn to read the leaves for the correct happy healthy colour.
Orchids like good air movement all year round. By having an enclosed area can result in a stale, stuffy environment. If it feels uncomfortable to you, then your orchids are feeling the same. Access by vents or clear space is needed to create air movement from the bottom to the top. Hanging fine ribbons from the top and under benches will indicate air movement. There are also the more expensive options of fans etc.
The area needs sufficient humidity and be allowed to dry out in cycles. Continuous high humidity will result in compounding fungal and bacterial disease problems. The flooring material, drainage and foliage plants on the ground all impact on the resulting humidity level. Water pooling for long periods of time breeds fungi and bacteria.
Pests and Diseases
Whilst one idea of an orchid house is to keep pests out, the opposite can result. Any pest or disease once in can be in a perfect environment to multiple. You need to monitor for presence of any pest and promptly treat them. Allowing fallen leaves to accumulate or sick plants to remain will result in compounding the problem. Have a separate area to place any sick plants and a bin present to contain any leaves/debris etc.
Within the orchid house (no matter how big or small) you can create microclimate areas of varying growing conditions. This can be achieved by bench placement, hanging areas, shading and/or covering. Using “A frame” type areas instead of conventional flat benches can result in a totally different environment which will accommodate a wide range of various orchid types. Hanging areas can be achieved by many different methods including circular mesh cylinders suspended on swivels.
The orchid house may incorporate different shade cloth levels depending on the aspect and exposure. It is easier to rectify too much light than too little light. Consider the practicality of adding extra shade and/or covering for different periods of the year over some areas. This will make your orchid house more productive and versatile. Some growers have opted for fixed water proof coverings year-round. A common mistake is to not have a gap of several centimeters between the covering and the shade cloth. Without a gap, temperatures will be considerably higher on hot days.
Next Orchid Growers Group will be on Saturday 6th April. Over the years many overseas nurseries have said to me “You do it hard in Australia – growing four season orchids is much more work” Here we have four distinct seasons of different weather patterns. The main topic for the afternoon will be discussing these factors and strategies for successful culture.
The following month we will be having a Sale/Open Day
SATURDAY 4th May 9am – 4pm
SUNDAY 5th May 9am – 2pm
There will be a wide selection of
- STOCK AT DISCOUNT PRICES
- NEW RELEASES
- DIVISIONS AND SELECT PLANTS
- PLANTS IN FLOWER
A special listing will be available at the nursery on the day. Please circulate this as widely as possible to your friends, orchids community and orchid societies.
Thank you for your support
Ross and Liz