Tips on Caring for Orchids in the Winter
As the chilly months set in with temperatures moving towards freezing it’s an indication that wintertime is not far away. Preparing for this time of the year means we must do all we can to ensure that our garden plants are well maintained as they go through those harsh winter months.
One plant in particular which needs our help during these freezing conditions is orchids, these tropical beauties with their beautiful rainbow color flower blooms create a tropical setting in a garden paradise that’s so inviting.
Orchids are one of my favorite plants that can be grown both in the interior and outdoor gardens as well. Although orchids are native to Australia and Asia these garden beauties can be found throughout the world in tropical regions.
Orchids belong to the family Orchidaceae which comprises some 25,000-30,000 species making this family one of the largest in the plant kingdom. Below however we will be taking a closer look at how to care for our orchids during the winter.
How to winter protect your orchids
Repotting your orchid plant
You may have to remove your orchids from outdoors to winter protect them, orchids that are hanging from trees can be easily detached by gently but firmly gripping from the root ball and giving a gentle tug try not to destroy the roots.
Once the orchid is detached place it in a 6inch container with drainage holes, the container should have about an inch of orchid bark mix followed by installing your orchids then backfilling with more bark mixture. Gently press this mixture to firm and stabilize your orchid.
Providing a sunny location
During the winter months, orchids should be exposed t0 the sunlight, a spot like a windowsill or other areas that gets indirect sunlight. Closing the curtains during the night hour will also act as an insulator against cold temperatures.
Container ground orchids should be weeded before bringing them indoors because weeds will compete with orchids for nutrients, water, and sunlight.
Inspect for garden insect pests
Inspect your orchids before bringing them indoors for these garden pests.
- Fungus gnat
- Snails and Slugs
Aphids, scales, spider mites, and mealybugs are sucking insects that cause yellow and browning of the leaves. The use of insecticidal soap or horticultural oil will bring control, before using pesticides read and follow the manufacturer’s direction.
Fungus gnats are small black flies that fly around orchids, these insects are known to bite into the leaves of plants spreading disease. The use of insecticidal soap and neem oil will bring control, sticky card traps placed near your orchid will also bring control.
Slugs and snails cause damage by eating parts of the leaves, handpicking these garden pests, and throwing them into a bucket of soapy water will offer help.
Providing water for your orchids
Because orchids grow slowly during the winter months it is best to reduce the amount of water, instead of watering your orchid every week water every 8-10 days.
Fertilizing your orchids
If your orchids are actively growing with signs of leaves and roots emerging give them a light feeding.
The right humidity
Humidity plays an important part in the life of indoor plants, insufficient humidity will cause browning of the leaves and stunted growth. To increase the humidity level place orchids on a pebble tray, all a pebble tray consist of is filling a medium to a large bowl with pebbles followed by adding sufficient water just below the surface of the pebbles. Placing an orchid container on top of these pebbles will increase humidity. Misting the leaves with water every other day will also increase the humidity level.
Be aware of drafts
Placing your orchids near an open door or air vent can cause damage, the warm dry air will have a negative impact on your orchids. An open door can bring in cold drafts, keeping your orchids from these areas will help greatly.
Orchids that are used mostly in the home garden
- Phalaenopsis Orchids
- Cymbidium Orchids
- Epidendrum Orchids
- Dendrobium Orchids
- Masdevallia Orchids
- Oncidium Orchids
- Zygopetalum Orchids
- Paphiopedlium Orchids
- Psychopsis Orchids
- Phragmipedium Orchids
The final word on orchid care during the winter
Preparing your orchids for the chilly months is a great way in getting your orchids off to a great start keeping them safe for the spring and summer months ahead. I have worked with orchids on many garden projects and have never been disappointed.
The results I got were pretty amazing with a tropical look like no-other so be good to your orchids helping them to get through the colder months so when the season warms up they will go to work for you with beautiful flower bloom.