Guest Author - Anu Dubey Dharmani
It is now middle of summers here, in the Northern hemisphere. Summers are good for orchids. Orchids, especially the tropical ones, lap up in this hot oppressive weather, unlike us. This is the time when many orchids produce flowers. Keeping in mind a few precautions, you can happily grow them outside. To grow healthy orchids, keep these requirements in mind:
In summers, we see an increase in the water requirements of orchids. This is because of two reasons. First, orchids need to cool down in the increased temperature. To do that, orchids lose a lot of water and consequently need more water to replenish. Secondly, for most orchids this is a period of active growth, which also increases the water requirement.
To water the orchids, follow a set regimen. Water the orchids twice daily in summers. It is always better to water early in the morning, when sun is not hot. Do not water orchids when the sun is overhead and temperatures are considerably high. This causes more harm to the plants, than good. Please avoid wastage of water, especially in these months. Install a drip irrigating system, instead of watering with a hose or a sprinkler. Tap water or water obtained from reverse osmosis can be used for watering orchids.
Orchids flourish when humidity levels range around 80%. If you live in dry area with low levels of humidity, then help your orchid by increasing the humidity around it. To do that, put orchid pots in pebble-filled flat water-retainers and fill these water-retainers with water. Another way is to bunch orchids together and place a water filled container in the middle of this group. Water evaporating from this container will increase the humidity around the orchids. Humidifiers can only be used in closed environments, like a greenhouse or within the house.
Orchids love the sun, but only in small doses. If you are planning to move your indoor orchid to outdoors, then acclimatize the orchid first. Move it in stages. For about a week put it in a shaded place. Then, if it shows no signs of distress, put it under a large tree and possibly in a group of other orchids/plants.
Orchids cannot tolerate direct sunlight, especially mid noon and afternoon sun. So give them only filtered/partial sunlight.
Twice monthly fertilizing is sufficient for orchids. Foliar application of fertilizers does not help much in growth, but adding fertilizers when watering is a good idea.