Garden & Greenhouse


Stretching Your Orchid Growing Conditions

Posted April 6th, 2018 by Garden & Greenhouse in ,

I am a big proponent of analyzing your growing conditions and acquiring plants that are well-suited to the environment you can easily and routinely provide. Sometimes, however, one just has to have a plant (or plants, more likely) that are a stretch. This article gives you some ideas that will allow you to stretch your growing conditions to accommodate them.

Sure, you can crank up the heat in your home, or air condition your greenhouse, but what if you don’t want to make that kind of investment? No worries! There are easy ways around those issues. Plants that like it warmer: This is an easy one – use a seedling heat mat under the pots. A 9″ x 19″ heat mat fits perfectly inside of a standard nursery tray. It will boost the root zone temperature by about 15°F above ambient, while drawing only 17 watts of electricity, it won’t “break the bank” doing so. Other sizes are available for those wanting to “convert” larger areas.

Plants that like it cooler: This requirement presents a bit more of a challenge, but can still be achieved quite simply. If you grow your plants in semi-hydroponics™, switching from a plastic- to a clay pot (standing in a tray of water to act as the reservoir) will increase the evaporation rate through the side wall of the pot, enhancing the evaporative cooling. If you do not grow in semi-hydroponics™ culture, you can still take advantage of the evaporative cooling by nestling your pot inside of a clay pot of LECA.

Ray Barkalow has been growing orchids for over 45 years, and owns First Rays, which offers horticultural products to the hobby grower. He may be contacted at and you can visit his website at

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