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Summer Care for Orchids

For Orchids that Perform

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Summer Care - Orchids

Everyone, that includes me, if at all possible, should summer their orchids outdoors. Learn how to care for your orchids outdoors this summer. And, if outdoor summer orchid care isn’t possible, learn how to give your orchids the best indoor summer orchid care. 

Benefits of Outdoor Summer Orchid Care

  • More Flowers. Natural sunlight will provide added energy in the form of photosynthesis for more abundant flowers.
  • Reduce Fertilizer Salts. Summer rains wash away salts found in fertilizers.
  • Disease Prevention. Sunlight can kill bacteria and fungi that may otherwise damage the orchids. 
  • Fresh Air + Natural Light + Gentle Breezes + Nighttime Dew will all contribute to revitalizing your orchids after a long winter.
  • Ease of WATERING. For us indoor growers, watering is so much more convenient outdoors than indoors. As natural rainfall may not be enough, you can use an irrigation system. such as a sprinkler or a mister, to water your orchids. To make it even easier, install a timer to go off every morning and a few days in the evening. Don’t let your orchids disrupt your summer vacations!

summer care for orchids

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What if you live in the desert?

This is a valid concern. Where I live, in a high mountain desert, my outdoor humidity levels hover at about 0%. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. If you too live in an arid climate, install a misting system. 

TIP: If you live where temperatures are well above 100°F/38°C, such as in the American southwest, summering your orchids outdoors may not be an option, even with a misting system.

Who should bring their orchids outdoors for the summer?

Everyone, but most especially those of us who are windowsill and artificial light orchid growers.

When should I bring my orchids outdoors for the summer?

Wait until nighttime temperatures are above 55°F/13°C before bringing your orchids outdoors.

Where should I place my orchids outdoors? 

The transition from inside to outside and back inside again can be traumatic. To help your orchids adjust to outdoors place them in an area where the light intensity is similar to what they are receiving indoors. 

Under a Tree

For example, if you have a large tree that would provide dappled light, you have an ideal spot for your orchids. 

On Your Porch

As an alternative, I am placing my orchids on my north-facing front porch since the sun is so intense where I live. Wherever you live make whatever adjustments you can to help your orchids get the most benefit from their months outdoors. 

In a Lath House

Another option is a lath house. This is like a pergola with slatted sides and a flat slatted roof. Place the slats about 3/4″ apart for 1″ slats for 75% shade. Many narrow slats are preferable to fewer, wider slats as the sunlight will be more evenly distributed. 

Preventing Sunburn on Orchid Leaves

Sunburn is a real threat during the summer months. After bringing your orchids outdoors, monitor the amount of light they receive. If your orchids are under a shade tree, look for open areas where the orchid might be overly exposed to sunlight. As the sun moves, watch to see how much light the orchids receive especially during the afternoon when the light is most intense. Remember that lath space about 75% of the width of the lath provides the best shade to sun ratio.

Summer is a Time of Active Growth

For most orchids, summer is a time when roots, leaves, and flowers are all growing. Now is the time to fertilize your orchids. Use about 1/2 to 1/4 of the recommended dosage. The easiest fertilizer to use is a complete, balanced non-urea fertilizer. Use fertilizer week-weakly, flushing regularly to leach away unwanted fertilizer salts. 

Summer can also be a good time to pot your orchids. If you notice new root growth, that is the time to pot your orchids

Watch for Pests

Keep an eye out for bugs. If you do spot mealybugs, scale, snails or other pests take action right away. It is much easier to take care of the bugs before an infestation occurs. Simply wipe down the leaves with rubbing alcohol. Or, if you notice an infestation use neem or horticulture oil. To learn more about treating pests and disease, click here.

Indoor Summer Orchid Care

If outdoor summer orchid care is not possible for you, here are some things to keep in mind to help your orchids get the best indoor care.

Open a window

Weather permitting, leaving a window open for your orchids, especially at night, will benefit your orchids. 

Watch for Sunburn

Sun intensity is magnified during the summer months. Keep an eye on your orchid’s leaves to make sure that they aren’t in the path of direct light. This is another lesson I learned the hard way. If your orchid leaves do get sunburned, simply remove the affected leaf with sterilized scissors and move the orchid to a safer location.

Summer Care for Orchids

No matter if you are an outdoor or indoor summer orchid grower, remember that summer is a time of active growth for orchids. In terms of care, this means that your orchids will benefit from using fertilizer. If your orchids are growing new roots, summer is the best time to pot. And, summer sun means that it’s an important time to keep an eye out for direct sun that may sunburn your orchid. 

If at all possible, bring your orchids outdoors and let them bask in the fresh air, nighttime humidity, and improved light. The result will be healthy orchids that reward you with abundant flowers.

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13 Comments
  1. Nan says:

    I am brand new at growing orchids and I know nothing about caring for them. Your information is invaluable to me and I wanted you to know how much I appreciate you source for information. Thank you.

    1. Anna says:

      Thank you, Nan!
      Anna

  2. nargis latif says:

    thank you . i have learnt that summer does help more flowering; more humidity more sun .

  3. Norma Halfmann says:

    I wish I could take them outside but I live i: San Antonio, Texas where the daytime temperature is around 100 degrees and night temperature is still around 80 or so.

    1. Anna says:

      Norma,
      So true! It is a real pity, especially since you have such high humidity levels!
      Though, it would be even more tragic if they all died from too much heat.
      Yours,
      Anna

  4. Nancy says:

    I am worried about rain getting in the crown causing crown rot. Should i just water and not allow rain?

    1. Anna says:

      Nancy,
      If you are worried about crown rot you can keep your orchid from getting wet in the rain – especially if the orchids are grown upright. If the orchids are mounted they grow more horizontally and naturally drain. Thanks for bringing up this important point.
      Anna

  5. Hannah says:

    Very helpful, thank you 😊 🌹

    If I grow my orchid under artificial light, how many hours do you suggest the light be on during summer?
    What about during winter?

    1. Anna says:

      Hannah,
      Good questions!
      June: set lights to 16 hour days
      July to November: shorten by 1 hour each month
      December: by this month lights should be on for 11 hours
      January to May: begin lengthening by an hour each month until June when lights are again set for 16 hours a day.

      Thanks again for your thoughtful question!
      Anna
      PS if you forget a month, just add an hour the next month.

  6. Nancy says:

    How long should orchids be left outdoors?

    1. Anna says:

      Nancy,
      Bring the orchids back indoors when nighttime temperatures dip below 55F/13C.
      Anna

  7. Joni says:

    Any suggestions on growing in a greenhouse?

    1. Anna says:

      Joni,
      I don’t have any experience growing orchids in a greenhouse.
      Anna

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the ONE email you'll open every week

Saturday mornings I send out an exclusive email sharing my best tips on how to grow healthy orchids.

YES! THANK YOU!