Sunday, November 19, 2006

10 Things You Can do Right Now to avoid Bud Blast

Yesterday I explained that humidity levels are extremely important for growing and blooming successful orchids.

Here are 10 practical tips on how to raise the level of humidity for your orchids:

  1. Invest in a room humidifier, these can be inexpensive and add humidity to a whole room. I recommend evaporative pad humidifiers instead of cool-mist humidifiers.
  2. Group orchid plants together, as they release humidity into the air and add in other houseplants and companion plants that can be kept moist all the time. These will help to increase humidity over a confined area.
  3. Use humidity trays. These can help to raise the humidity immediately getting to the plants by five or 10 percent. There are two ways to make these, you can use a plastic tray filled with small gravel (I use a plastic drip tray for pots), and fill the base with water, keeping the orchid pots on the gravel, just above the water line. Alternatively, you can buy pre-made plastic grates that you fill with water and place the orchids on the grate, above the waterline. These are usually available from mail-order orchid retailers, such as Oak Hill Gardens, or Orchids Limited.
  4. I have recently acquired a “Mist Maker” that uses ultrasonic waves to create mist. These can be really effective, but they are a bit tricky to use and really raise the humidity, so be careful.
  5. Place the orchids in a location that is already humid. Don’t put them in a bathroom, because orchids hate for the humidity to fluctuate drastically. However, basements are often a viable option.
  6. Summer the orchids outside. In colder climates it still may be possible to keep the orchids outside three or four months a year. Avoid this option if you live in a desert region with low humidity and high temperatures.
  7. Buy orchids that will withstand lower humidity. Some orchids are from the cloud forest and hat low humidity, an example would be Masdevallias. Other orchids, such as Cattleyas Phalaenopsis and Encyclias can adapt to lower humidity levels, closer to 50%.
  8. Designate a room for growing. This will make humidity, as well as other conditions more manageable.
  9. Try to keep the humidity at 50% or greater, this is a general rule of thumb.
  10. Buy a digital clock that measures humidity. They sell these at target, as well as specialty nurseries.

Some of the information for this post and the previous one was taken from Charlie Baker, “Orchid Culturecmbaker@orchidculture.com and from Orchids For Dummies by Steven A. Frowine.

5 comments:

spadoman said...

Hello, I came over as a recommendation from my friend Bluegrrrrl. She told the blog world about you.

To be honest, I don't know a thing about orchids, and I don't have an interest in them. But if, in my travels, ever come across anyone who has this interest, I'll certainly tell them about your site.

I lived in Saint Paul/Minneapolis for many years. I am in Ashland, Wisconsin now, but i still have a daughter living in Saint Paul that I visit regularly.

Good to see your blog and any friend of Bluegrrrrl's is a friend of mine.


May Peace prevail on the Sacred Mother earth, (and in your orchid garden)

bluegrrrrl said...

OK, spadoman, that was seriously fast work!!!!!

Check it out Jonah, you're famous now!

bluegrrrrl said...

By the way, it thrills this RWS professor to see you citing your sources, young man! =)

Van said...

Hi there, U mentioned in one of the posts that you used a Mist Maker to increase humidity. Can you tell me more on how exactly did you use it? Do you put in in a water bowl and place it near your plants? Does it really increase the humidity in the room or it is just for decoration purpose (create fog). Plz let me know asap cuz my plant is suffering from bud blast that I think the main reason is low humidity.

Jonah Winn-Lenetsky said...

Hi Van,

I actually have a fairly complex system set up. I am using a room humidifier, but it seems to stop working when the filter gets old, so I combine that with a mist-maker. I would recommend you start with a room humidifier, that seems to work the best, in general. I think the mits-maker will raise the humidity by itself, but not as much as a humidifier. I have the mist maker in a plastic tub of water. Mist maker's tend to splash a lot, so it will need to be in the middle of a large tub (I tried a bowl, but these are too small). The mist maker can make a mess, or be a fire hazard if it's not set up right and if it doesn't have room to splash. I don't usually leave the mist maker on when I'm gone on vacation, or when I go to sleep. I also use plastic trays of water underneath the plants, this can be very effective in a confined area. Let me know if you have any success.