Culture Guide of Popular Orchids
Temperature: The ideal temperature for Cattleya Orchids is 80 degrees Fahrenheit on bright days, 70 degrees on overcast days, and 60 degrees at night.
Light & Shade: Proper light is an important factor in growing Cattleyas. To attain good growth and flower production, Cattleyas should receive 2000-3000 foot candles. When Cattleyas receive the correct amount of light, the leaves will display a light green color. If the plants are grown at your window (especially south exposure) they may need protection from direct sunrays through the months of March to August. It is important that a Cattleya receives no additional light past normal day length.
Watering: Basically Cattleyas should be watered as they approach dryness. This may vary from 5-6 days during sunny warm weather to 7-10 days during dark and humid weather. It is important to thoroughly drench the plant when watering. DO NOT at anytime let the plant stand in water. The Cattleya generally puts on most of its growth during the spring & summer months. At this time, watering should be increased. During winter months only enough water should be given to the pseudobulbs filled.
Feeding: Since most Cattleyas are grown in fir bark mixtures, fertilizing is a must. We recommend a high nitrogen fertilizer (3-1-1 ratio) for best results. During the growth period a full strength solution can be used every other watering or half strength at every watering. During Winter months when the plant is not in active growth, fertilizing should be curtailed to once a month. Humidity: 65% to 85% humidity is ideal for the Cattleya. However, a Cattleya in nature has dry periods, therefore they can be grown where humidity is lower. Potting: We recommend re-potting mature Cattleyas once every two years. The best time is in the Spring when roots and growth develop.
Outdoor Growing: When Cattleyas are grown in the home under artificial lights or by a window sill, it is recommended that they are summered outdoors. Care must be taken to protect the plants from direct sun during midday hours. A loosely leaved tree usually provides the correct amount of light. In the Midwest area, Cattleyas usually can be kept outdoors until Mid-September.
Temperature: Daytime temperature should ideally be kept between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Night temperatures should be 55 to 60 degrees. Higher night temperatures during the summer can be tolerated. However, during late Summer and early Fall night temperatures should drop to the 55 degree range in order to initiate bud spikes.
Light & Shade: Cymbidiums require a high degree of light (up to 8000 foot candles) especially during the Spring and Summer months. However, because of the higher temperatures during this period , some shading may be needed to keep leaf temperatures down. Usually no shading is required through the Fall and Winter months.
Watering: Because the Cymbidium is a terrestrial plant and has a rapid growth rate it should be watered frequently. This is especially true during the growing season (for most Cymbidiums, Spring & Summer). In the Winter, with less sun and shorter days, watering should be somewhat reduced.
Feeding: We recommend a dilute solution of high nitrogen fertilizer from January to May with every watering. At this point, in May switch to a high phosphorous feeding. Fertilize every second or third watering using clear water in-between. Continue this schedule until fall when spikes develop, then gradually return to a high nitrogen feeding program.
Air Movement: Good air movement is important to Cymbidiums, especially while in active growth. It is also helpful in preventing flower spotting.
Outdoor Growing: If the cymbidiums are grown in the home (window sill or under lights) it is important to summer them outdoors. Care must be taken to protect the plants from direct sun during the midday hours. A loosely leaved tree usually provides the correct amount of light. For best results, partially submerge the pot in a bed of soil. This will keep the root system cool during the hot summer days. Keep the plants outdoors until late Summer. Cooler evenings during this period should help initiate bud spikes.
Temperature: Most Dendrobiums do well in an intermediate temperature zone. Day temperatures should be in the 70-90 degree range. Night temperatures should be in the 55-62 degree range. Nobile type Dendrobiums require a cool period during the Winter months.
Light & Shade: We recommend a fairly high light intensity for Dendrobiums. Generally, Cattleya light (2,000 to 3000 foot candles) is most suitable. If Dendrobiums are grown in the home, a brightly lighted south or east exposure is best.
Watering: Evergreen type Dendrobiums require heavy watering in the growing season (Spring & Summer). As the new growth matures by fall, watering should be somewhat curtailed but not so much as to let the canes shrivel back. Deciduous Dendrobiums also require abundant watering during the growing season, but as the foliage drops, they require a definite rest period.
Feeding: Dendrobiums as a whole require heavy feeding during their growth period. But as with watering, feeding should be curtailed during the fall and winter months.
Re-potting: Re-potting at the proper time is most important for Dendrobiums. Spring is the best time to re-pot. Make sure the new growth (with root action) has started before transplanting. Dendrobiums like to be somewhat root bound. Allow a very limited space for the new growth. Use a coarse Fir Bark mixture that allows for perfect drainage.
Temperature: Miltoniopsis should do well in the average home or intermediate greenhouse. A night temperature of 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit and a day temperature of 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit is considered best. They, of course, will tolerate higher or lower temperatures but not for extended periods of time.
Light & Shade: We have found that Miltoniopsis requires a rather low amount of light. (1500-2000 foot candles). If grown in the home, we recommend an east or west exposure, or south with shielding from the direct sun.
Watering: Miltoniopsis like to be kept fairly moist with a slight drying between waterings. During warm dry weather, they may need to be watered 2-3 times weekly. During cool weather, 1-2 times weekly. A sure sign of underwatering would be the formation of accordion – pleated leaves. If this happens, pick up slightly on your watering. Miltoniopsis have very tender and fragile roots; for this reason, we recommend using rain water whenever possible.
Feeding: Since Miltoniopsis are vigorous growers, fertilizer can be applied almost every watering during the Spring & Summer months. This should be reduced to once weekly during Fall and Winter. We recommend a half strength solution of 30-10-10 fertilizer with each application.
Humidity: If you keep your Miltoniopsis well watered, humidity is not a critical factor. However, try to keep humidity above 50%.
Potting: We find Miltoniopsis do well in a finer grade of Fir Bark mix. It is, however, important that the pot is well drained. Miltoniopsis like to be somewhat pot bound so allow for only one years growth. Re-pot once a year in the Spring.
Temperature: The ideal temperature of Odontoglossums is 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 65 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. It should be understood though, that they can tolerate lower or higher temperatures and still successfully grow and bloom.
Light & Shade: Odontoglossums require a rather low amount of light (1000-1500 foot candles) for good growth. If greenhouse grown, light shading should be applied during Fall and Winter months; a heavier application during Spring & Summer. If grown in the home, an unobstructed north or filtered east exposure is considered best.
Humidity – Watering: Humidity and moisture are two important factors in Odontoglossum culture. Humidity of 60-80% is considered ideal. When the days become warmer during Spring & Summer, misting once or twice daily is beneficial. This helps keep the humidity up and the leaf temperature down. If greenhouse grown, evaporative cooling is highly recommended. Odontoglossums should never experience complete dryness at the roots. When watering, soak them thoroughly. This may need to be done 2-3 times weekly during warm weather, 1-2 times weekly during cool weather.
Air Movement: A gentle movement of air is essential to Odontoglossums. When warm weather arrives in the Spring, give as much ventilation as possible. As mentioned earlier, any form of evaporative cooling is very beneficial at this time.
Feeding: Since Odontoglossums do not have a dormant season, a very light but steady diet of fertilizer is recommended. A 30-10-10 formulation at half strength or less works best.
Potting: Odontoglossums can be re-potted at anytime of year, but it usually is best in the spring when new roots develop. Plants should be somewhat underpotted (small pots) for good growth. Re-potting should be done once a year. Fir Bark mixes have proved excellent for Odontoglossums.
Temperature: The ideal temperature for Oncidinae is 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 70-75 degrees F. during the day. It should be understood, though, that they can tolerate lower or higher temperatures and still successfully grow and bloom.
Light and Shade: Oncidinae require a rather low amount of light (1000-1500 foot candles) for good growth. If greenhouse grown, light shading should be applied during fall and winter months; a heavier application during spring and summer. If grown in the home, an unobstructed north or filtered east exposure is considered best.
Humidity - Watering: Humidity and moisture are two important factors in Oncidinae group culture. Humidity of 60-80% is considered ideal. When the days become warmer during spring and summer, misting once or twice daily is beneficial. This helps keep the humidity up and leaf termperature down. If greenhouse grown, evaporative cooling is highly recommended. Oncidinae should never experience complete dryness at the roots. When watering, soak them thoroughly. This may need to be done 2-3 times weekly during warm weather, 1-2 times during cool weather.
Air Movement: A gentle movement of air is essential to Oncidinae. When warm weather arrives in the spring, give as much ventilation as possible. As mentioned earlier, any form of evaporative cooling is very beneficial at this time.
Feeding: Since Oncidinaes do not have a dormant season, a very light but steady diet of fertilizer is recommended. A 30-10-10 or 20-10-20 formulation at half strength is best.
Potting: Oncidinaes can be repotted at anytime of year, but it usually is best in spring when new roots develop. Plants should be somewhat underpotted (small pots) for good growth. Repotting should be done once a year. Our Paphiopedilum mix has proved excellent for Oncidinaes.
* Includes Burrageara, Brassia, Colmanara, Miltassia, Miltonidium, Odontocidium, Odontoglossum, Vuylstekeara & Wilsonara.
Temperature: Oncidiums do best in an intermediate to warm growing condition. A 62 to 64 degree Fahrenheit night temperature and a 68-80 degree Fahrenheit temperature is considered best. Oncidiums will grow well in a normal home condition.
Light & Shade: Although Oncidiums are somewhat variable in their light requirements, most should do well with 2000-3000 foot candles of light. If grown in the home, an east exposure should give the best results. Oncidiums also do well under artificial lights. Plants should be kept about 6 – 8 inches from the lamps.
Watering: During the Spring & Summer months, Oncidiums should be watered frequently. We generally recommend watering twice a week during this period but this may vary with different growing conditions. Do not let the plant become totally dry between watering. During the Fall and Winter months when there is less growth, curtail your watering accordingly.
Feeding: We recommend a half strength solution of 30-10-10 fertilizer with each watering during the growing season (Spring & Summer). For Fall & Winter, this can be reduced to once every second or third watering.
Humidity: Oncidiums grow best with 50-80% humidity. However, most varieties will tolerate a much lower humidity.
Potting: If your Oncidium is potted in one of the bark mixes, we generally recommend re-potting once a year. If the potting material is still firm and the plant is not overgrown after one year, you may hold off re-potting for an additional year. The best time to re-pot is when new growth appears, usually right after blooming.
Temperature: Paphiopedilums, in general, should be kept in a 55-80 degree temperature range. It is not necessary to segregate the plain and mottled leaf varieties into cool and warm areas. It is, however, important for some Paph to have a day-night temperature difference to help initiate bud spikes.
Light: Paphs are known to adapt readily to different light intensities. Although they will grow with a low light intensity (900-1500 foot candles), a stronger light will produce much better growth and flower production.
Watering: Watering should be frequent, as Paphs are considered moisture-loving plants. They should not dry out in between watering. Fertilizer: A formulation such as Fertilade 15-5-5 or Jacks 30-10-10 are considered best. Paphs are particularly susceptible to fertilizer burn, so it is important that they are watered thoroughly on the next scheduled watering after feeding. Feed no more than once a month.
Important!: When watering plants that are in decorative containers with no drainage, remove plants from container water thoroughly, let drain, and then place back in container.
Humidity: Although humidity is not considered an important factor in good Paphiopedilum growth, a reasonable amount (40% or more) should be attained. Good air movement should be provided, but kept out of hot or cold drafts.
Potting: We recommend repotting Paphs once a year. It is usually best to repot in the Spring when new growths are developing. If you decide to divide the plants during repotting, make sure each division has at least two strong growths.
The Phragmipedium (commonly called “Phrag”) is the South American lady’s slipper orchid. This variety is very easy to grow in the home and is among the longest blooming of any orchid type. Phrags will produce flowers sequentially (one to two at a time) for a period of 3-9 months or more. Each individual bloom lasts 2-3 weeks. When expiring, they often fall off the stem in relatively good condition. Don’t be dismayed, another bud is ready to bloom right behind it! When the bloom stem has completely finished producing flowers simply cut it off at the point where it emerged from the leaves. Your next bloom stem will emerge from the new growth of leaves that developed during the previous blooming period.
LIGHT: Phrags like fairly bright light levels. Correct light can be achieved by placing them where they receive direct morning sun from an east window or bright, somewhat indirect sun from the west or south exposure. During the months of May through September, Phrags can be grown outdoors in a mostly shaded area, always avoiding direct hot sun.
TEMPERATURE: These plants are tolerant of a wide range of temperatures. When growing indoors or outdoors, a range of 50 degrees at night to 70 to 90 degrees is tolerable. A good rule of thumb is, if it’s comfortable to you, it’s comfortable for the plant. Keep in mind that the cooler temperature range will slow the rate of growth.
WATER: The easiest part about growing Phrags is the watering. They like to be kept fairly moist. One way of achieving this is placing them in a small saucer of water. When the saucer is completely dry it’s time to water again. They will tolerate some dryness periodically but not for a long period of time.
HUMIDITY: The Phrags love humidity along with their wet feet. Ideal humidity is 60-80 percent. When growing outdoors the humidity is usually quite adequate in the Midwest. Indoors, proper humidity can be achieved by placing plants on a humidity tray , misting in the morning and grouping plants together.
FERTILIZER: Phragmipediums are known for the constantly vigorous growth and extensive blooming period. Therefore, a regular fertilizing schedule is needed. We recommend using a 20-20-20 diluted 1/8 tsp. to a gallon of water. Apply this every other watering. You may want to mix your fertilizer ahead and store in a plastic container that can be labeled and capped. This ensures the solution is thoroughly diluted at room temperature and is convenient to use.
REPOTTING: The key to continued success in growing Phrags is keeping the constantly wet media from becoming rotten. Mature plants should be repotted annually and preferably right after their flowering period. Seedlings can be repotted every 6-9 months. Use a fir bark orchid mix. For the next 4-6 weeks do not let the plants stand in water, but keep the medium moist. Also, at this point keep the repotted Phrag in a more shaded, warm and humid area.
Light: Provide filtered sunlight 1000-1500 foot candles. If under artificial lights the timing should be from 14 to 16 hours a day.
Temperature: Intermediate to warm temperatures suit the Phaius best. In winter it grows well if it is given temperatures 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55 to 60 degrees at night.
Humidity: Phaius prefer humidity from about 40 to 60% humidity.
Watering & Fertilizer: Phaius require liberal watering with good drainage. They should never dry out between waterings. Fertilize the plants at every third watering with a balanced fertilizer (18-18-18) diluted to half strength.
Re-potting: Re-pot phaius orchids every two or three years. Use a fine bark with peat moss and perlite
Temperature: Phalaenopsis enjoy a fairly warm climate. The ideal night temperature being 62 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and daytime temperature 75 degrees Fahrenheit and over. Since this temperature range is similar to that of many homes, it makes an ideal house plant.
Light & Shade: Light requirements for Phalaenopsis are fairly easy to attain, (1000 to 1500 foot candles), seems to be the ideal intensity. If grown on a window sill, north exposure proves to be best, otherwise, diffused east or west light, no direct sun.
Watering: It is important to water your Phalaenopsis early in the morning. This insures complete water evaporation on the foliage, as well as the crown, by nightfall. Do not allow the root system to be dry at any time. Water the plant as it approaches dryness. Under most growing conditions watering is done at 5-10 day intervals.
Feeding: Phalaenopses are known for their fast and continual growth. For this reason, it is important that they are fed on a regular basis. We recommend a half-strength solution of a (3-1-1 ratio) fertilizer every watering. During fall and winter months, this should be reduced to every second or third watering.
Humidity: Phalaenopses are a monopodial growth without any pseudo-bulbs to help store moisture. For this reason, it is important to provide good humidity, 50-70% is considered ideal. However, if the plant is kept well watered, it will adapt to a lower humidity.
Flowering: If your Phalaenopsis is of substantial size (5-8” pot size), it is possible to flower it 2 – 3 times a year. After it has flowered the first time, cut the stem approximately half way back just above the nearest node. From this node a new flower stem should emerge. Within 120 days, it should re-flower.
Potting: Because the Phalaenopsis is watered frequently, the potting material is usually ready for replacement once every year. Spring is generally considered the best time for transplanting.
Temperature: Vandas are basically warm growers. Daytime temperatures should range from 65 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, nighttime 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. It is important to provide good humidity especially on warm sunny days.
Light & Shade: It is important to give Vandas a high degree of light. Terete leaf Vandas can adapt to full sun while strap leaf Vandas do better with some protection during the midday hours. We do not recommend Vandas for artificial light culture as there is not enough light intensity for successful blooming. If Vandas are grown in the home, a bright south exposure is best.
Watering: During the Spring and Summer months when Vandas are kept outdoors in bright warm areas, frequent watering is needed. Vandas should not be kept dry or moist over an extended period of time. Misting on warm sunny days is very beneficial.
Feeding: Vandas require a rather constant feeding during the Spring and Summer months. We recommend a balanced fertilizer 18-18-18 for best results. When feeding with every watering, a half-strength or less solution is best.
Potting: A coarse grade of potting material is best suited for mature Vandas. Chunks of coarse charcoal will do well. For younger plants use our multi-purpose potting mix in clay pots. Redwood baskets or slotted clay pots are ideal containers for mature Vandas. As Vandas become larger, they tend to get somewhat leggy. As the roots develop on the upper portion of the plant, you may remove the upper half and re-pot it as a separate plant. After this is done, the lower portion generally develops offshoots. When these offshoots develop roots, they too may be removed and re-potted on their own.
Outdoor Growing: If Vandas are grown in the home, it is highly recommended to summer them outdoors. Vandas should be hung up outside where they receive nearly full sunlight.
Light: Zygopetalums require BRIGHT indirect light throughout the year. May through September they can be grown outdoors in an area of bright light. They cannot tolerate any hot, direct sun. In the home, they can be grown in an East window or 1-2 feet away from a South window. Direct sun will burn the foliage.
Temperature: As an intermediate to cool grower they prefer temperatures 65 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 52 – 62 degrees Fahrenheit at night throughout the year.
Humidity: While outdoors humidity is usually adequate. Indoors, humidity should be 40-60%. Do not mist Zygopetalum foliage, a humidity tray should provide adequate percentages.
Water: Keep plants evenly moist, not soggy. During warm and dry climates watering may be 2- 3 times a week. Only when cool and dark periods persist should plants be allowed to become dry before watering. Leaves will often spot and pseudo-bulbs shrivel when plants are not watered enough. Always water thoroughly and drain well. Never allow the plant to stand in water.
Fertilizer: From January through August we recommend 30-10-10, or 15-5-5. Dilute to water 1 tsp. per gallon. Apply every 3rd watering. To promote blooming, we recommend using a high phosphorous bloom booster fertilizer (10-50-10) from July to September. Dilute the same.
Re-potting: Recommended to be done every 2 years. Best time of the year is August. Remove from the pot and shake off what old medium easily falls away from the roots, trim any dead roots. Select a pot that drains well and allows for plenty of room for the new roots. Use a Fir Bark orchid mix, moisten and firmly but gently pack the mix around and in between the roots. Allow medium to dry before the first watering.
Orchids By Hausermann
2N 134 Addison Road
Villa Park, IL 60181-1191