Orchids forum: Cold Hardy Orchids

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Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Aug 11, 2016 7:26 PM CST
Today I went to a presentation on epiphytic orchids that can take the chilly, damp winter in this part of the country. The speaker, who lives about 50 miles inland, showed plants he has had growing outside, unprotected in temps as low as 15. Some were pretty cool like Phal wilsonii, Neofinetia falcata, various Den moniliformes, a totally cool, super tiny Oberonia japonica and the Green Fly orchids to name a few.

Most of his plants come from Andy. All of his were mounted, roots wrapped in long fibered sphagnum and tied with untreated raffia. Most unusual is that he does not water these plants. His theory is that no one waters in nature. Rain and dew are all they get, even during droughts. The balls of sphagnum (apparently this is a Japanese method) were bone dry but the plants looked good. These plants mostly came from the eastern parts of Asia. My computer and my phone are not speaking again. When they make nice I'll post pictures.

This guy is an electrical engineer who works in the research field. He approaches his orchid growing like it is one of his research projects. He just likes experimenting - your kind of guy Ken.

Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
[Last edited by ardesia - Aug 11, 2016 7:54 PM (+)]
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Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
Aug 11, 2016 7:47 PM CST

Moderator

Interesting!
Name: Jim Hawk
Odessa, Florida (Zone 9b)
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hawkarica
Aug 11, 2016 7:51 PM CST
Yes, very interesting.

Jim
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad
Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina Tropicals
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ardesia
Aug 11, 2016 7:53 PM CST
We all sat there incredulous and said YOU DON"T WATER???
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Ibis
Florida, Orlando-ish (Zone 9b)
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IbisFla
Aug 12, 2016 8:04 AM CST
*Blush* I'm a little embarassed to say this, but I don't water my Dancing Ladies for the most part, and they always put on a good show when they bloom. I just figured they were in a good microclimate and were getting what they needed. I was very good about watering my 2 Vandas, when I first got them, but I've definitely been slacking off on those too. Of course, this is Central Florida and very humid. And while one of my Vandas blooms about 3 times a year, the other one has only bloomed once for me (I've had it a year). They would do better I'm sure if I paid more attention to them.

This past spring -
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 12, 2016 9:08 AM CST
The cold hardiness is really interesting, especially the Neo's. I had the little Green Fly orchids out under my big oak tree for a few years, but I've lost them - literally! But I do have large swaths of Resurrection Fern in that tree so I'm hoping the orchids have seeded themselves there. I got my start from Mj some years back and she has lots of them growing on their property - inland, north of Orlando so it gets cold in winter there, too.

As far as not watering, while it's true that orchids survive in the wild with no help, our orchids that we coddle and care for probably perform twice as well, bloom more and live longer. So the question I'd have for your speaker would have been "have you tried an experiment where you water some (in dry weather) and don't water others?"

Because I don't want my orchids to just survive. Even my mounted Enc. tampensis out there on the oak branch get a spray with the hose if it doesn't rain for a week or so, and they get a taste of fertilizer once in a while. I do believe that the tree itself creates a friendly microclimate for the orchids, cooling it's area in hot weather and transpiring lots of moisture as well as dropping "stuff" all the time.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Aug 12, 2016 9:19 AM CST

Moderator

I always think that people discount the amount of dew these plants get in nature. So even if it doesn't rain, there is still a considerable amount of moisture around.
If Den anosmum etc etc grows outside in its native surroundings and the amount of rain is minimal in Winter (prompting us not to water during the Winter months), us witholding water when growing inside, would eventually kill that plant.
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad
Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina Tropicals
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ardesia
Aug 12, 2016 10:06 AM CST
The orchids he grows are native to areas without constant rainfall like you would have in the tropics. I learned the Green Fly orchids occur all over my corner of SC in trees with the Resurrection Fern just like you mentioned. Obviously I don't look up often enough. D'Oh! His plants are small statured to begin with, like the kingianums which are listed as "probably hardy", although he has not tested them himself. His slides showed large blooms many being highly scented. None of his plants were blooming yesterday but there were lots of spent spikes from flowering earlier this summer. He says many bloom several times a year and others only bloom in the winter.

Ursula, 15 degrees in SC is much different from the same in NJ, it usually only stays cold for an hour or two in the mornings here then it warms up some. The winter of 2014 was our coldest in history and all the plants he brought yesterday had been outside, unprotected through that winter.

He got to talking about how and why air currents flowing down the east coast of the US are different from air currents flowing down the west coast then he went into longitude and latitude numbers here and in Asia and at that point he lost us all. I would love to hear this guy again and record him so I could go back, listen slowly, and try and understand more of what he was saying.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
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
Aug 12, 2016 2:37 PM CST
Hilarious! Alice, you'd need a good pair of binoculars to spot the Green Fly orchids up in a tree. Next time you go out for a walk, take your binoculars and look right in amongst the ferns on the tree branches. I'll bet all the ferns are in their "dead" mode right about now because you've had no rain. It might be easier to spot the orchid foliage now. Mine had leaves at most 2in. long. The flowers were only 1/2in. across at most and they bloom in September into October here as I recall.
Elaine

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

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