Autumn Orchid Chores

Depending on your local climate, autumn brings shorter days, cool temperatures, and some corresponding autumn chores. As temperatures dip, you’ll need to bring warm growing orchids inside.  Take the opportunity to clean off dead leaves and weeds. Check for pests, paying attention to the undersides of leaves and the potting media. Although I try to keep pesticide use to a minimum, a little prevention now can save a lot of headaches later. I give my orchids a dose of mild insecticidal soap before they come inside.

If you fertilize with a high nitrogen fertilizer, like 30-10-10, its time to switch to a low nitrogen variety, such as 10-30-30. No matter what kind of fertilizer you use, start to taper off with weaker solution and less frequent doses. Many orchids are beginning to enter a dormant stage. Start to reduce watering for Cattleyas, Cymbidiums, Dendrobiums, Epidendrums, Miltonias, Odontoglossums, Oncidiums, and Vandas. This mimics the start of the dry season in their jungle homes, and it’s part of the annual cycle they need to bloom. Maintain good humidity as always, and compensate for the dry air of home and office heating.

If a few lower leaves yellow or drop, don’t panic. Some Dendrobium varieties completely shed their leaves, but they’re just dormant, not dead. Continue to give them good light and humidity, and they’ll spring back to life in a few months.

If your Phals aren’t blooming right now, give them a few weeks of cooler nighttime temperatures. This can cause them to start growing a flower spike. Then you’ll really have some fall color to enjoy.

Explore posts in the same categories: Dormancy, Fertilizing, Growing, Problems, Watering

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6 Comments on “Autumn Orchid Chores”

  1. nancy Says:

    Don’t forget that central heating makes the air in your house super dry, so they need good humidity inside. We keep ours in a warm room that also has a fishtank, so its damp.

  2. AboutOrchids » Blog Archive » Seasonal Light Says:

    […] In addition to the autumn chores I wrote about recently, this is a good time of year to look at light conditions. […]

  3. Larry Says:

    Very helpful…thanks

  4. GreenThumbGuy Says:

    The mild insecticidal soap isn’t strong enough sometimes. I use pesticidal oil instead.

  5. Rita Davis Says:

    Thanks for the tip for cooler nightime temps

  6. ThomE Says:

    I’ll second the part about the furnace drying out the air. Any tips for improving humidity?