Sunday, December 3, 2006

Hot and Steamy: What You Need to Know about the Ups and Downs of Orchid Temperature

Photo Courtesy of Allen Black's Photo Site

Temperature can be one of the trickier points of keeping orchids. Usually it is better to choose plants that conform closely to the temperature conditions you already have. If you choose plants for looks, or interest and ignore temperature, you will most likely end up with orchids whose temperature needs directly conflict.

Most orchids require intermediate temperatures. This means daytime high temperatures in the low seventies to eighties and nighttime low temperatures between sixty and sixty-five degrees. Luckily, this is also the temperature range that most closely resembles household temperatures. Cattleyas, most Oncidiums, Ascocendas, most Paphiopedilums, Brassias, Miniature Cymbidiums and most Encyclias fall within the intermediate range, along with a number of other specific species and hybrids. The most commonly grown orchids in the cool range are large Cymbidiums, Odontoglossums and Zygopetlums (which can also be grown in cooler intermediate ranges). Cool growing orchids grow well with a nighttime low temperature of approximately fifty-five degrees and a daytime high of about sixty-five to seventy degrees. Warm growing orchids include Phalaenopsis and Vanda orchids. They like daytime temperatures of close to seventy-five to eighty degrees and nighttime low temperatures between sixty-five and seventy degrees.

Seedlings like to be kept warmer than full grown plants and should not be allowed to get as cold at night.

General Orchid Temperature Guidelines:

Cool Growing Orchids: High 65-70F Low 55-60F Zygopetalum, Cymbidium, Zygoneria, Ondontoglossum

Intermediate Growing Orchids: High 70-80F Low 60-65F Cattleya, Oncidium, Brassia, Encylcia, Cymbidium (miniature)

Warm Growing Orchids: High 75-85F Low 65-70F Phalaenopsis, Vanda, Cochleanthes Amazonica

For more information about temperature requirements for getting different types of orchids to flower, check out my post Getting the Right Temperature Change for Orchids to Bloom.

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