Air movement is another very important requirement of this type of plant, as it is with all natives, and shouldn’t be neglected. Hanging this plant, as we do with our best, is the easiest way to ensure good air movement. It also helps to dry the plants out quicker between watering and makes it harder for the bugs to eat them. Mind you, orchid-chewing bugs can walk on water, and read tags, and have an overwhelming urge to eat your best plants first!
This is one of the main factors in flowering your native orchids and in fact probably the key factor, as it is for probably 99% of the world's orchids. Here in the Southern Hemisphere the ideal position for your orchid collection is to ensure it receives morning sun (north, northeast). In the northern hemisphere this would be the opposite (south, southwest). This allows the bulbs to warm gently as the sun rises which is conducive to better flowering & an overall healthier looking plant.
Shade cloth can be introduced to cut back on the hot afternoon sun, 60% is around the level you need depending on how open the area is that you have your orchids placed. Sarcochilus can tolerate a darker environment, so observe the colour & appearance of their leaves. If they are turning a little yellow or shrivelling, it could mean a combination of excess light & insufficient water.
Summer is the main problem time. In Summer water during extremely hot weather when the plants need it. Water very early in the morning so that the water can dry from the plant before the intense heat of the day kicks in. If there is no indication that the high temperatures are going to end, water very late in the afternoon or early evening when the sun has gone off your plants. Make sure you saturate the bark mix as well as watering the foliage.
Winter is another story. Being epiphytic, most orchids live on moisture in the air. As a general rule of thumb, water if they need it. During last winter the nursery plants were not watered as such, merely the floor under the benches received 3 or 4 drenchings. Thus when the water evaporates the plants take up the rising moisture. Never water at night in the winter, cold & wet is not a good combination to encourage healthy plants.
These general rules apply to the greater percentage of orchids, both species & hybrids.
We hope this information is helpful to you in your growing of Tropicools™ & native hybrids and species as well as all your other exotics.
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