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 Post subject: General problems
PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 10:30 pm 
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I used to live in a flat and could grow phal orchids without problems. However in my house half of it is too bright*, half too dark. I put artificial lights in the dark kitchen and they still only just survive - certainly will never flower.
*Even in February the light will scorch orchids in parts of the house.
Any ideas? I think the kitchen is badly ventilated which probably does not help - or rather the window is.
Is there anyway I could make the very bright bits darker so Orchids can survive?
Any other ideas? I do give them water twice a week and feed them for most of the year.
We do have a persistent scale insect problem.


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 Post subject: Re: General problems
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 10:20 am 
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You may want to get the pest problem under control as quickly as possible, these pest will be draining the plant and this will not help with getting the plants to re-flower - here's an RHS link on Scale Insects. Even if you get all the other conditions correct, if you have a pest problem the plants will still suffer.
https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=224

As for reducing light, a simple voile or net curtain can diffuse the light coming in through the windows. But remember double glazing reduces light more than single panes. After that it would be a matter of finding the best distance from the window. The further away the less light reaches the plant.

Watering Phals twice a week seems a little be too much in my opinion, but if your conditions are drier than mine it should be OK. I water about once a week depending on when the roots go silvery, dilute feed with at least one flush every fourth water.

A simple desk fan set up somewhere near by will help with heat problems as well as providing air movement. It wont actually cool the air in an enclosed environment but will act just like a pleasant breeze on a scorching day. It's like the difference between a Hot Still day and a Hot day with a breeze. Ventilation by opening a window also works, but you just need to be careful the conditions outside wont be detrimental - A cold snap and an open window will cause a cold draft on plants near by (Which isn't necessarily 'liked' by certain plants). But this should not be as much of a problem as summer approaches.

Hope that helps a little.


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 Post subject: Re: General problems
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 11:09 am 
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Michele V wrote:
You may want to get the pest problem under control as quickly as possible, these pest will be draining the plant and this will not help with getting the plants to re-flower - here's an RHS link on Scale Insects. Even if you get all the other conditions correct, if you have a pest problem the plants will still suffer.
https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=224

As for reducing light, a simple voile or net curtain can diffuse the light coming in through the windows. But remember double glazing reduces light more than single panes. After that it would be a matter of finding the best distance from the window. The further away the less light reaches the plant.

Watering Phals twice a week seems a little be too much in my opinion, but if your conditions are drier than mine it should be OK. I water about once a week depending on when the roots go silvery, dilute feed with at least one flush every fourth water.

A simple desk fan set up somewhere near by will help with heat problems as well as providing air movement. It wont actually cool the air in an enclosed environment but will act just like a pleasant breeze on a scorching day. It's like the difference between a Hot Still day and a Hot day with a breeze. Ventilation by opening a window also works, but you just need to be careful the conditions outside wont be detrimental - A cold snap and an open window will cause a cold draft on plants near by (Which isn't necessarily 'liked' by certain plants). But this should not be as much of a problem as summer approaches.

Hope that helps a little.

Thanks for that, the fan idea is a good idea and the watering is as well. I will try harder with the scale insects.
The window is double glazed and has net curtains but still burns them - I could try some see through plastic to reduce this.


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 Post subject: Re: General problems
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 12:13 pm 
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southlondonnewbie wrote:
The window is double glazed and has net curtains but still burns them - I could try some see through plastic to reduce this.


Is it a South Facing or overly large East/West window? If so you may find even with extra shading the light is just too much for Phals.

I have used opaque white plastic before now (the sort found wrapped bunches of flowers) to reduce light when needed and it works well enough. But if the plants are still burning behind a current net curtain I would be tempted to move it further back from that particular the window.

I do have Phals in a room with a south facing window, with a Bulbo and 2 Catts quite close to the window itself (with no current shading) and doing very well but they also act as shading for the plants (such as Phals) that are further in and closer to the back of the room (and there's a fan going most of the day). So far the Phals are not getting burnt - I have learned that in 'my conditions' keeping any phal up against any of my windows without some sort of light shading can end up with the plant scorching (Cloudy days are rare where I live and temps a bit more mid range compared to elsewhere in the country).

I can not give precise instructions as your conditions will not be quite like mine, so it may just take a little trial and error until things start working. Just remember if and after you move a plant give it at least couple of weeks before moving it again (time to adjust), unless the plant suffers greatly.

Another factor that can occur that will make the plants suffer if all other conditions are adequate is the quality of the Mix that the plants are currently potted in. Depending on how quickly the media breaks down (Usually Bark for Phals) you will have to re-pot ever 1-2 years or so (For Phals - Other Orchids may vary). Media that is breaking down can cause problems with the roots - and trust me when I say if the roots are suffering for too long you will just end up with one very unhappy, hard to recover, plant.

All the best!


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 Post subject: Re: General problems
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 12:32 pm 
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I have one South facing and one West window (not sure exactly which direction). However they are so bright that even Cattelya got burnt in Feb. Sadly the boss doesn't help much with moving the plants - which means moving further away is tricky.


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 Post subject: Re: General problems
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 2:58 pm 
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BTW are there any orchids that flourish in really strong light.


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 Post subject: Re: General problems
PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 9:04 am 
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Wow - That's pretty strong if it's burning your Catt! :shock:

If you are running out of space and have to keep your plants nearer the window, it seems more shading may indeed be required! If the Net curtain isn't working try a more uniform Voile or muslin type fabric (basically not lace or net). Should still allow light through, and white voile or muslin is usually thin enough that if needed you can double it over and light will still pass and get through - just not so much that it ends up burning the plants. Another way of using shading curtains, rather than doubling over, you an make one that is wider than the window it is to be used for. That way you can gather (for less light) or flatten (for more light) the folds in the fabric, which can allow to to increase or decrease light levels as and when required - to a degree. With the gather method you can potentially even shade two different plants on the same window with varying light.

Just don't use any shade but White (or creams at a pinch), this will allow for the full to near full light-colour spectrum to enter the room. Coloured voile, muslin and net will be removing part of the light spectrum.

Again a simple fan, should help relieve at least some of the heat stress but may not entirely negate scorching of the plants.

As for High Light + Heat plants, someone else may have a better idea! I always classed Catts among the most light tolerant!

Not advertising here, but I did see an interesting plant holder from Ikea (similar probably supplied elsewhere too or if that way inclined could be easily made) - it could be a partial solution for your light problems as it has it's own light fitting.
Full Range
http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/indo ... ltivators/
Single Plant
http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/products/indo ... -30351690/
.....Just a thought. :)


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 Post subject: Re: General problems
PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 8:53 pm 
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southlondonnewbie wrote:
BTW are there any orchids that flourish in really strong light.


There are several that spring to mind, although it might be a different story in a dry windowsill. Firstly i would look at some of the terete leaved vandas, like papiolanthe teres.

Doritis pulcherhima also grows in full tropical sun and we have tried those in a sunny windowsill with no problems (but not directly south facing).

If you like doing research and reading around look for plants that grow in deciduous lowland or low highland forest, those guys should be able to take strong sun and hot temperatures.

Dendrobiums might be a good place to start. If you can get one of those rescue hybrids from the supermarket for a few quid i would give it a try.

Some coelogynes also tolerate full sun, C. barbata for example, but it prefers cooler temperatures, there are some warmer growing species. Usually the lithophyte species are exposed to full sun. The names escape me for the moment... :character-oldtimer:



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 Post subject: Re: General problems
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 5:55 pm 
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My vanda has dropped most of its leaves, the ones that are still on are light green and seem to be dried out. The roots look dead (the look brown even after watering the roots). I keep my vanda at a sunny place. I water the roots by spraying water once a day or just keep the plant for minutes in water. It is most likely that the plant has had too much humidity. Please help!


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 Post subject: Re: General problems
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:05 pm 
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Thalyagirl wrote:
My vanda has dropped most of its leaves, the ones that are still on are light green and seem to be dried out. The roots look dead (the look brown even after watering the roots). I keep my vanda at a sunny place. I water the roots by spraying water once a day or just keep the plant for minutes in water. It is most likely that the plant has had too much humidity. Please help!


I would not be surprised, that you need to mist your vanda's more often. I am in northeast China and it is bone dry (5% Rh) in the winter months and 30 to 50% Rh during spring and summer. So we have to mist them two or more time a day, my personal vandas, when I must travel, I place a bowl with water and let about an inch of a few roots sit in the water, so far I haven't lost any vandas in almost eleven years now.

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