Outdoor Orchids in San Francisco, part 2

Here’s the second half of the list of orchids that I’ve grown outdoors in San Francisco. There’s no greenhouse, so they live constantly exposed to the elements. Sun lovers like the Epidendrums, Sarcochilus, Sobralia, and Zygo live on the back deck, and receive full afternoon sun when the fog retreats. Shade lovers like the Dracula, Pleurothallis, and Scaphosepalum live underneath the deck. Orchids underneath are slightly better protected from wind, but since we live about 4 miles (6.4 km) from the chilly Northern Pacific, there’s often a good breeze.

  • Masdevallias love San Francisco’s climate. Most kinds bloom annually; some more than once a year. Masdevallia coccinea sulks on hot days. Masdevallia chaparensis and several hybrids thrive, and receive some full sun.
  • Myoxanthus serripetalus flowers once every few years in the autumn.
  • Neofinetia falcata actually blooms indoors, where it lives for the summer. Summer temps are too cool for it to bloom outdoors. However, it lives outside for autumn, winter, and spring.
  • Odontoglossums do very well in this cool climate. Most flower annually.
  • Orchis graminifolia did well and bloomed over a couple summers before dying.
  • Panarica (Encyclia) prismatocarpa flowers every other year. This plant seems to prefer warmer temps, but manages to bloom outdoors anyway.
  • Pleurothallis palliolata and Pleurothallis restrepioides bloom most years over winter. The latter has set seed pods for the past few years, but I don’t harvest them, and don’t know if they’re viable.
  • Porroglossum muscosum has grown for years but never flowered. Maybe it prefers purified water instead of tap water, but I’m not set up for that outdoors.
  • Pterostylis curta blooms reliably in late winter or early spring.
  • Sarcochilus hartmannii thrives in this climate, and flowers for several months each spring.
  • Scaphosepalum verrucosum has remained in continuous bloom for years. Seed capsules form occasionally, but I don’t harvest them, and don’t know if they’re viable.
  • Sedirea japonica bloomed well each spring.
  • Sobralia macrantha flowers every year in late summer or early autumn.
  • Spiranthes cernua grew and bloomed well each year until it fried during a heat wave.
  • Stelis species has only flowered twice over the years. It might be more reliable if I used purified water instead of tap water.
  • Symphyglossum sanguineum has bloomed only once in 6 years. Possibly some of our nights are too cold for it.
  • Zygopetalum BG White ‘Stonehurst’ has dependably flowered twice a year for over a decade.

Explore posts in the same categories: Cool Growers, Growing, Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Intermediate Growers

Subscribe to the About Orchids Blog:
AddThis Feed Button

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

7 Comments on “Outdoor Orchids in San Francisco, part 2”

  1. W. Black Says:

    Wow! Interesting, you have so many orchids! I don’t know how you can keep track of them all. I have only two dozen (of course, I can’t grow outdoors like you do since I live in a dry area of Colorado, and it gets too cold also. All of mine are inside.

  2. Marc Says:

    Thanks W. This may seem like a lot of orchids, but it’s all relative. In a San Francisco apartment, space constraints indoors and outdoors have limited me to less than 100 orchids. That’s plenty for me, but many orchid lovers, especially those with greenhouses, may have hundreds or even thousands! Since I can barely keep track of what I have, I don’t know how other people do it, either.

  3. Michele30Rich Says:

    This is exactly what I was looking for, thanks

  4. Christine Lee Says:

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs far more consideration. I’l probably be again to read far more, thanks for that info.

  5. georgetz Says:

    Nice stuff, just great!

  6. nancy Says:

    So jealous! You have such a wonderful climate for orchids. I wish I could grow cymbidiums and zygos like you do. There too tough for me in upstate New York.

  7. Jai Says:

    Ah, i see. Well that’s not too trcky at all! It’s a remarkable web page, which is useful in favor of my knowledge. thanks