Orchids forum: Now worried about the cold!

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Name: Kate
Holmes Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Not all those who wander are lost.
Bromeliad Cactus and Succulents Orchids Foliage Fan Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader
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karmatree
Nov 27, 2014 1:48 PM CST
OK, I was reading about people bringing their orchids in when it gets colder than 55F....eek...I can't bring mine in and it's supposed to be 47-50F tonight and has been that a couple nights here and there over the last few weeks...none of my 'chids seem to be sad but is there a tipping point? Anything I should watch for? Mine are all mounted on an immovable wall of driftwood....I have some Dendros, some Phals, an Oncidium, a few Cats (and two unknown "rescues" from a trash pile...)
"A garden isn't meant to be useful. It's for joy." - Rumer Godden
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Nov 27, 2014 2:09 PM CST
Kate, I'm just down the road from you, and I did bring most of my orchids indoors last night. They will stay in tonight too, then go out once the night temps are in the 50's again.

But you can protect them from the worst of the cold with something as simple as an old sheet, curtain or blanket. If you can cover them to protect from the dry cold wind that is blowing right now, and retain some of the heat that rises from the warm ground, they mostly should be fine. Better yet, frost cloth from any good nursery or the big box stores will both protect your plants and let lots of light get to them if you forget to uncover them, or if there are several cold days in a row. (let's hope not!! but this winter sure has started out early with the cold)

I use bulldog clips (from the office supply store) to hold my frost protection in place. They're really handy for a lot of things around the garden.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
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tarev
Nov 27, 2014 2:43 PM CST
If by any chance your temps will hover below 40 like what happens in my area where we hit very low 30's to 21F in January-Feb then I will bring them in. I have learned my lesson very well about it..lost some even while being protected by my growcamp.

In the high 40's to low 50's that is still manageable, as mentioned by Elaine already. My Phals are always indoors, so they are okay. If your rescues are still very young or fairly new rescues, I would consider bringing them in now. They are already stressed.

Name: Kate
Holmes Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Not all those who wander are lost.
Bromeliad Cactus and Succulents Orchids Foliage Fan Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader
Region: Florida Tropicals Xeriscape
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karmatree
Nov 27, 2014 2:53 PM CST
Thanks Elaine and tarev! I wonder how we are in different Ag zones Elaine...Sarasota is probably 9 miles away from me! I'm on Anna Maria Island. My orchids/driftwood setup is in a corner surrounded on three sides by vinyl fencing, and the other side by the house. It's in the side-yard. So, they don't get much wind, thankfully...Even when it's blasting, I peek out the window and they are barely moving. But I will surely throw a sheet over them. I am fretting! I included some pics to better explain my setup. It's very new and unestablished (I just set all this up about 3 months ago!)
Thumb of 2014-11-27/karmatree/58abb6


Thumb of 2014-11-27/karmatree/043b79

"A garden isn't meant to be useful. It's for joy." - Rumer Godden
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Nov 27, 2014 4:46 PM CST
So pretty, Kate. You are a zone higher than me, because you're out on the island, surrounded by water. At this time of year, we cool off a bit more (I am maybe a mile inland) because the water is still quite warm, but come January into early February when the Gulf is cold, it doesn't make as much difference for you. So if you can set something up for cold night protection now, you will Be Prepared! when it's even cooler.

Here are pictures of a trellis I have with some orchids mounted on it. I roll the frost cover up out of the way in the daytime and when I'm not using it. The watering cans get filled with hot water before I go to bed to give just a bit more warmth under the frost cloth. Plus a little humidity.
Thumb of 2014-11-27/dyzzypyxxy/c693a9 Thumb of 2014-11-27/dyzzypyxxy/ad4667

Another alternative, if you do start to have problems with cold damage. I now have 3 of these little shelf units that come with a clear plastic cover so it becomes a mini-greenhouse. Got the first one online, but now Home Depot and Lowe's carry them. Again, the water containers act as heat sinks to hold some heat from the sun through the night. (the water has coffee grounds in it)
Thumb of 2014-11-27/dyzzypyxxy/c0caa9 Thumb of 2014-11-27/dyzzypyxxy/dfbbdc

Last night for the first time I tried what's known as a tea light heater, made with one tea light candle under a clay pot with a little foil cupcake liner over the hole so the heat will be dispersed. It worked absolutely perfectly. Just the tiny bit of heat inside the mini-greenhouse kept things above 60deg. all night, and one of the tealights was still hot this morning at 7am! I did get large tea light candles at IKEA that last for 9 hours.
Thumb of 2014-11-27/dyzzypyxxy/b4cb5c Thumb of 2014-11-27/dyzzypyxxy/df6f80

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
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tarev
Nov 27, 2014 5:21 PM CST
Oh, good to know you tried out the tealight heater thing, Elaine! That will be my plan when we start getting much colder here.
Name: Kate
Holmes Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Not all those who wander are lost.
Bromeliad Cactus and Succulents Orchids Foliage Fan Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader
Region: Florida Tropicals Xeriscape
Image
karmatree
Nov 27, 2014 5:47 PM CST
I cannot believe that tea light contraption! That is brilliant!!! I like that mini green house idea. I also really like the geometry on that trellis! I guess I got a little over zealous, having lived in Northern VA, in the mountains....we had such a miserably short growing season, and then I arrived here and thought, Wow! I'm wearing a tank top on Thanksgiving Day! Smiling Thanks for all the wonderful advice. I'm going out to tuck in my babies!!! :)
"A garden isn't meant to be useful. It's for joy." - Rumer Godden
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Nov 27, 2014 9:31 PM CST
I don't think you're over-zealous Kate. We often have winters where there is only one or two cold nights in total. In fact last winter was that way. Pretty sure I only pulled the orchids in twice and both times were in January.

This year? Who knows what we're in for. Rolling my eyes. One thing that is for sure though, your orchids may survive being exposed to cold nights, but they will do much better if you protect them when the temps drop below about 55deg. Phals do ok in cooler temps but the others just sit and pout for months like the tropical divas they really are.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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