Growing Orchids Outdoors

Instructions for growing orchids outdoors aren't really all that different from indoor orchid care instructions. They need the right temperatures, lighting, humidity, and water, as usual. (Of course, these requirements differ for each of the orchid types.) If an orchid comes from a climate similar to your own, you may just be able to incorporate it into your flower garden design and leave it alone!

If you live in a dry climate, you might want to add an automatic misting system to your outdoor orchid growing area to raise humidity. Some people like to automate watering orchids that way, too, but I think a little individual attention in watering will benefit most orchids! You may find that you need to water more frequently outdoors, perhaps even daily. This depends a lot on wind conditions and humidity, though, so I won't overgeneralize.

If your climate's temperatures don't agree with what an orchid needs, keep it indoors!

Very few orchids like direct sunlight; shade cloth (or a shade tree) is usually required. Some people build a lath house, enclosed by strips of wood that provide alternating light and shade as the sun moves across the sky. That works too, provided the light doesn't stay in one place long enough to cause sunburn!

If you live in an area where you need to bring your orchids indoors for the winter, make sure to inspect them carefully for pests and diseases when you do so! Otherwise, you could introduce them to your other orchids (remember, the ones that don't like your area's climate? Keep them indoors!) You also need to pay extra attention to pests the whole time your plants are outdoors; it's much easier for bugs to get at them, and you're more likely to have to deal with things like caterpillars!

Some orchids, like Cymbidiums, need the temperatures to get fairly cold, such as into the 40's F (4-10C), in order to initiate blooming. If so, you need to carefully time when you bring them in for the winter!

Show Me YOUR Orchid Growing Area!

Show off where you grow your orchids, with pictures and descriptions! Whether it's a window, a greenhouse, an area outdoors, an orchidarium, or a special climate-controlled room in the basement, I'd like to know how you've set up your space for growing orchids. What were some of your main considerations in setting it up? Other readers will appreciate your story! (And many orchid growers enjoy boasting about their setups.)

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