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Shifting Orchids Inside
The weather is taking a turn and you need to shift your orchids inside as the temperatures outside have started dipping. Some orchids need to be shifted much earlier than others. These are those orchids that are temperature sensitive. These orchids are mostly those that grow in tropical regions where the temperatures normally do not touch freezing point. Orchids like some Dendrobiums (hard cane type), Phalaenopsis, Vandas belong to this category and these do not like temperatures below 10°C ± 2.
Shifting the orchids for protecting from low temperatures does not mean that you pick them up and take them in your living room. Orchids need to be moved depending upon the temperature ranges in your area. If the temperatures do not fall too much, then the orchids can be simply moved under a tree and can also be bunched together. These can also be placed under some cover, such as cloth or plastic sheets. Or your covered porch can also serve as a good shelter. But if the temperatures fall quite low then it would be better to shift them inside. The garage is another option, if you do not want to bring in the added wild life that lives in and around your orchid when outside.
In winter, it is not just the low temperatures but also the wind conditions that can affect the orchids. Low temperatures accompanied with gusty winds are quite harmful to orchids.
The symptoms of injury due to low temperatures in plants do not appear immediately but become evident much later. So it is better to shift the orchids to safer place before outside temperatures start touching freezing point. As the dew on leaves can cause harm on freezing. Even when the orchids are shifted inside, they are placed sometimes near windows, in order to give maximum sunlight in the winter months, but be careful not to place the plants very near the glass or the leaves touching the glass will again get harmed as the window glass can get very cold especially at night. Susceptibility to viral and bacterial infection increases after injury due to low temperatures.
How to know your orchid has cold injury
Symptoms of injury due to exposure to low temperature depend upon extent of exposure and the level of temperature the plant was exposed to. Chilling, cold and frost injury happens when orchids get exposed to different levels of low temperatures.
1. Water soaked regions can be observed on the plants exposed to low temperatures.
2. The leaves turn black and soft or there are necrotic spots, then the leaf tissue is dead and the rot is most probably due to viral infection. This can spread quickly to rest of the plant, so the affected area should be cut and removed.
3. The bulbs turn brown and dry.
4. If the leaves turning brown and hard, then this is not due to cold but the leaves have suffered sunburn instead. This happens when sometimes we think that the orchid needs more sunlight because of cold temperature in winter, but the clearer skies and full sun for longer period can be just as harmful in winter as it can be in summers.
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