Orchids Love Fog

Orchids love fog. That’s one reason why the Northern California coast is a great place to grow orchids outdoors. Frequent fog, especially in areas closest to the ocean, creates a perfect humid climate for cool growers.

Fog in Pacifica California, fog moving in from ocean, Highway 1 at bottom right of photo, part of Montara Mountain in the distanceFog coming in above the Transamerica Pyramid, looking up to the top of the pyramid from ground level with trees in foreground, San Francisco, CaliforniaFog and trees in Tilden Park, Oakland, California

Orchids want at least 50% humidity. Fog occurs when levels reach 100%, and the air is saturated with enough water to see visible drops. Here on the coast, cool ocean water evaporates, and winds carry the moisture inland. The gentle breezes and strong winds which blow the fog onshore minimize fungal and bacterial problems with the plants. In fact, the fog perfectly mimics the cool, breezy, cloud forest homes of many orchids native to high elevations in the Andes and the Himalayas.

The next two rows of photos show orchids I have grown outdoors for years in our Pacifica garden, and previously, in our San Francisco garden. These cool growing Cymbidiums, Epidendrums, Odonts, Coelogynes, and Pleurothallids are all very happy when the fog creeps in.

Cyrtochilum macranthum, aka Oncidium macranthum, orchid species flower, grown outdoors in San Francisco, CaliforniaEpidendrum x obrienianum, orchid hybrid flowers with water drops, grown outdoors in San Francisco, CaliforniaCymbidium hybrid flowers, grown outdoors in Pacifica, California

Odontoglossum Bic-ross, orchid hybrid flowers, grown outdoors in San Francisco, CaliforniaCoelogyne mooreana, orchid species flower, grown outdoors in San Francisco, CaliforniaBrassia aurantiaca, aka Ada aurantiaca, orchid species with orange flowers, grown outdoors in San Francisco, California

It’s not just water vapor in that fog, either. Fog is actually a good source of fertilizer, since it can carry essential plant nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, and sulfur. It’s just another great reason why orchids are a perfect match for gardeners who live in foggy areas.

The final row of photos show a few more of the huge number of cool growing fog lovers. These three shots come from 2015’s Pacific Orchid Expo.

Masdevallia Zieglers Love, orchid hybrid, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaRestrepia antennifera 'Cow Hollow', orchid species, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, CaliforniaDendrobium kingianum, orchid species, Pacific Orchid Expo 2015, San Francisco, California

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

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One Comment on “Orchids Love Fog”

  1. John Says:

    I needed to thank you for this wonderful read!!
    I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it.