Where can i grow them?

by Lois Carolynn Roller
(Englewood, Florida)

I saw a video of a Caribbean Orchid preserve (?) taken by an orchid society member. One picture intrigued me so much, to me it was awesome. They were growing on a fence only - the roots dangling down the flower reaching to the sky. It started me thinking that maybe I could create an Orchid Garden on top of my mature boxwood hedge that surrounds my pool cage. It gets sunshine from about noon to later in the afternoon, probably about 6 hours but is coming through an extra fine cage screen that allows only about 30% of UV rays through. Is there a specific orchid variety that could tolerate this light for this long? I bought my first two orchids about 1-1.5 months ago - I just love them. They have now shed their flowers. I keep them on the lanai where the sun doesn't shine on them but for maybe 20 mins in the very early morning. I have joined the Orchid Society here in Englewood,
Fl. Thank you for your response to my email. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

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Jun 22, 2012
Cable's Reply
by: Cable Thompson

If the screen allows about 30% of light through, that should be reasonable for most orchids, a bit bright for the low-light ones like Phalaenopsis, and a bit dim for the the high-light ones like Vanda.

Temperatures are likely to be the main limiting factor on what orchids you can grow; since this sounds like an outdoor location, temperatures will vary widely between winter lows and summer highs. Most of the native orchids from your part of Florida seem to be terrestrial types, so I suspect that the winter lows are too harsh for most epiphytes. (Having roots in the ground helps plants protect themselves from cool temperatures.) You might want to think about keeping the plants mounted on slabs, or in hanging pots, so that you can bring them inside during temperature extremes.

If you want plants that can grow outside year-round, ask people at your orchid society! They'll know what they've succeeded with in the local climate. Encyclia tampensis grows wild in your area, so I would expect it to do very well for you. Reading up on places with similar climates, and Googling their native orchids might be another source of ideas.

I hope that helps; feel free to use the comments feature if you have followup questions!

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