Researching new orchids

I recently posted about choosing your first orchid. Today I will briefly discuss the importance of doing some research when you wish to expand your collection and try something new.

Not all orchids are the same; their care needs vary between species. Their temperature preference is a key factor to consider when purchasing a new orchid. Keeping orchids with completely different temperature requirements is not the best idea. I was almost caught out with this, and I’m glad it was bought to my attention.

There are a few different temperature ranges that orchids are happy to grow in; cool, intermediate and warm. Phalaenopsis orchids typically grow best in warm temperatures, which is why they are so well adapted to our home environment.

I had three Phalaenopsis orchids before I started to expand my collection. The first different orchid I purchased was a Miltoniopsis ‘Herr Alexandre’. He was sitting in a garden centre near where I live and I didn’t purchase him straightaway even though I knew I wanted to. After I got home I did some digging around on the internet to see if this orchid would grow well in the environment provided for my Phalaenopsis. Most Miltoniopsis orchids are intermediate growers. This means they benefit from a temperature range of 18-24c during the day time.

Warm-growing orchids – 21c to 29c

Intermediate-growing orchids – 18c to 24c

Cool-growing orchids – 16c to 21c

Growing orchids outside of their normal range for long periods of time can cause damage. It is therefore important to know what temperatures your new orchid prefers before purchasing; you can ensure it receives the best care you are able to provide. My collection is largely made up of orchids that prefer intermediate temperatures, but I can keep my Phalaenopsis with them. This is achieved by raising the temperature so that my intermediate growers are in the middle of their range, and the warm growers are at the lower end of their range.

There is a lot of information available on the internet, which should help you identify the care needs of a particular orchid. Consideration needs to be given to watering, fertilising, light, humidity and ventilation. As I said, not all orchids have the same requirements. You can adjust your care to your orchids needs as you notice any changes.

If you are purchasing your next orchid from a garden centre or supermarket, the label it comes with may provide some help in working out what care requirements it has. More often than not though, the labels are not accurate which makes it difficult. You could also purchase your next orchid from a nursery, who have experience in growing orchids and will be able to advise you about specific care. They will also be much more likely to accurately label their orchids so you know exactly what you are buying. Orchids bought from a nursery tend to be a little more costly than shop bought ones, but from experience, I find they are much better quality plants.

I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch.

Happy growing.

Clare

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