With the onset of winter, most of us will be putting on our central heating to keep warm. For most orchids growers, this can present a challenge – keeping humidity up. Humidity doesn’t have an adverse affect on Phals (at least in my experience) however, it can affect Oncidium type orchids.
The grow space for my orchids is ideal – good ventilation, light, heat and of course, humidity. My collection sit within a deep bay window in our living room, and it seems to suit them very well. However, it does have single glazed windows and the night temperatures in winter drop to lower than I am happy to allow my orchids to be in given that they like intermediate temperatures (18c-25c). Even purchasing a tube heater hasn’t made a big enough impact on the night temperatures, so they have all been moved!
Now these orchids are in the house properly, I face a problem. Low humidity. In the bay window, the orchids had between 45% – 75% humidity which was perfect for them all. In their new space, the hygrometer has yet to show a reading above 38% and the effects of this drop in humidity are already appearing on my orchids (I only moved them a few nights ago). This is predominantly caused by the central heating being switched on. The heat from the radiators makes the area inside the room drier than in the bay window space.
As I said, my Phals don’t really seem to show any signs of low humidity being a problem for them. I am referring to my Oncidium type orchids.
The worst affected so far is my Oncidium Twinkle. She is a compact grower with very small pink flowers that fill the room with fragrance when she is in bloom. When she is not receiving enough moisture around the roots, leaves and flowers, she is very quick to let me know she is not happy about it!
You can see from the photograph that her leaves are beginning to crinkle. This started to happen not long after I moved her more indoors. You can see how tight the crinkles are. If the whole plant does this, I could have problems. The wrinkling leaves will never un-wrinkle and can cause problems when other leaves or flower spikes start to grow. The crinkling can cause the new leaves to crinkle and the flower spikes to buckle or bend in strange directions if left to their own devices.
What to do about it then? I already mist my orchids once every day, and this worked very well when they were still resident within the bay window. Now they have moved, I need to look at increasing the humidity somehow. The most obvious option would be to increase the number of times I mist them everyday, which I am already doing. However, this is only a short term fix – the humidity around my orchids only lasts for a short time. Another option then would be to add humidity trays to increase the moisture around my orchids. There are also humidifiers on the market at relatively low prices that could be purchased – but I’d prefer to use what’s available to me first before I start spending money. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to post a comment!
I’ll keep you updated on this topic. Hopefully I will find a suitable solution soon.