Ask a Question forum: How far to cut back on watering in the winter

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Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
Jan 1, 2016 9:25 AM CST
The above is probably an obscure subject but I'll try to explain further. This year I've setup another greenhouse for all the rest of my plants other than my Orchids and seedlings. Inside this one I have plants like Angel Trumpets, Datura, Oleander, Geranium, Asparagus Fern, Bougainvillea and a couple of Hibiscus. The humidity inside is usually running between 75-99% at all times so it's practically raining inside. In fact water does drop off the top and sides onto the plants. With this in mind and the fact that the low temp is usually around 50 and the high around 65 with my heater (unless the sun comes out) should I cut back my watering schedule to maybe every week and a 1/2 or even more?
Chris
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Jan 1, 2016 10:05 AM CST
Chris, you should water when your plants need it and that won't be on a fixed schedule because of weather variations such as the sun coming out as you mentioned, and individual plant needs. One of the easiest ways to tell if they need water is to lift the pot. Water when the pot weight feels light. Given the plants you have I imagine some pots will be too big for that, so the next suggestion is just to push a finger into the medium of each pot and water when it feels dry. Some of this will take a bit of experience so you may feel safer getting a moisture meter and testing instead - you can do that on a schedule more so than watering.
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
Jan 1, 2016 11:31 AM CST
Thanks Sue, the moisture meter sounds like a great idea. I'll take a look around to see what I can find. Happy New Year.
Chris
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
Jan 1, 2016 1:43 PM CST
I found the moisture meter works fine for plants in potting soil, like most of your tropicals but for orchids potted in chunky bark mix, it was rather undependable. Probably the large air spaces between the bark chunks Shrug!
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
chris1948
Jan 1, 2016 2:53 PM CST
Thanks Elaine, I was thinking about putting the orchids on a every week and a half schedule of feeding? But I don't know if that is good or not with a lot of them putting out flower spikes.
Chris
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
Jan 1, 2016 3:07 PM CST
As Sue said, it really can't be on too strict of a schedule for any of your plants, Chris. If you have a week of sunny weather and lower humidity, you might need to water sooner, than if you get cloudy, rainy or snowy weather with cooler temperatures and higher humidity.

The critical thing for the orchids is to make sure that the roots are getting almost dry between waterings. So really, sticking your finger in there every few days is the best gauge. In cool weather I'd err on the dry side. Overwatering kills more orchids than any bug or disease, for sure. As far as the fertilizer, just make the solution maybe half as strong if the weather is cold.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
chris1948
Jan 1, 2016 3:28 PM CST
That's what I was looking for on the orchids Elaine! So if I were to take the wooden skewers I used to use on them and put them back in, check every few days to see if they're damp or not that would probably be a better indicator than sticking my fat fingers into them? Since it's staying between 50 (night) and 70 (on cloudy days) at the orchid table I'd imagine that would call for my orchid food being 1/2 strength?
Chris
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
Jan 1, 2016 3:37 PM CST
The skewers sound like a great idea, and yes, 1/2 strength should be plenty. If it gets colder for any length of time, cut back to 1/4 strength for a while.
Elaine

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

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