‘Essential’ factor for orchids to flower – avoids failed blooming

Alan Titchmarsh details method for keeping orchids flowering

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While it is crucial for these houseplants to receive sufficient water and light, temperature also plays a vital role in orchid blooming. In the wild, it is the drop in temperatures that triggers orchids to bloom. When orchids are grown in the home, you can encourage blooming by mimicking that temperature change at the proper point in your orchid’s growth cycle. 

Amanda Matthews, orchid expert at Orchideria, explained that temperature is “essential” to influence an orchid to bloom.

She said: “Finding the correct temperature for growing your orchid is essential for it to bloom. 

“You can water, apply humidity, provide light, and fertilise correctly, but if there’s not a temperature fluctuation at night, most orchids will refuse to bloom.”

According to the expert, all orchids need at least a 10 to 15 degree Fahrenheit temperature drop at night to bloom. 

The expert added: “This cooling off period at night removes the excess heat from their leaves. This aids in performing adequate gas exchange, since most orchids perform their main ‘breathing’ process at night.”

The expert warned that if owners grow their orchid in the same environment year-round, with no variation of temperature, the first signs they’ll notice will be as a result of heat stress.

Amanda explained: “Heat stress occurs when the orchid shuts down its gas exchange (stomata) pores to preserve humidity. It does this because it’s too hot, and will lose humidity if stomata are opened.”

To avoid this, turn off the heating at night. Besides saving energy costs, your orchids will appreciate the drop in temperature.

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It is important to note that orchids have temperature preferences, too. Not all orchids like to live in the same climate or habitat. 

If gardeners have kept their orchids outdoors and are bringing them indoors, they’ll need to recreate their existing habitat within the home. 

The expert wanted that if you place a cool-temperature orchid next to a warm one and give both the same treatment, one, or both, will have a “hard time” growing.

Nighttime temperatures that are too low will produce blackened tips on the leaves and cause the flowers to wilt.

There are “three distinct categories” for temperatures: cool, intermediate, and warm-growing orchids.

Cool orchids tolerate temperatures of 10 degrees during winter. During the summer, the maximum should be 24 degrees.

Intermediate orchids prefer 13 to 30 degrees, whereas warm growing orchids range from 18 to 32 degrees.

Usually, if the orchid is exposed to a colder temperature, like from the greenhouse to your home, “bud blast” can occur, according to the pro. 

This causes leaves to wrinkle and curl up on themselves. However, these are reversible situations and can be avoided in the future.

If you purchase an intermediate-growing orchid, and constantly keep it at a sub-par temperature, mould will start to grow on the crown and leaves.

But if the orchid is exposed to year long exposure to temperatures that are sub-par, they probably won’t blossom. 

Leaves can dry up and fall off prematurely and flowers can wilt. The growing period will take longer, and new roots and flower spikes will take forever to appear.

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