Windowsill Light and Orchids

pic-growareaMany of our society members grow and bloom their orchids as windowsill growers. Choosing the right spot for the plant is the key. When light enters the house through a window, the result is not always the same. The amount of light depends on the direction the window faces, shade from trees or overhang on the house, the distance of the orchids from the window and the climate (Michigan experiences more cloudy days and sunlight is less intense than in Florida or Southern California). Even the paint color in the room makes a difference—white reflects better.

With light entering from only one side, turn plants occasionally to keep them from becoming lopsided. However, do NOT turn plants in bud—flowers may twist at different angles as a result. Also, move plants out of very bright light once in bud or bloom. Too bright a light can blast buds and cause flowers to fade more quickly.

If your orchid does not bloom, move the plant to brighter light during the next growing cycle. Move it from lower light to bright light a step at a time to avoid sunburn. Many orchids require completely dark nights to bloom, so be sure to turn off all lights at night or close curtains if streetlights shine in windows. (Many other orchids require depend on temperature drops to initiate blooming.)

Take care not to burn or freeze a plant placed too close to a window. On very bright days or cold nights, use a sheer or close curtains to help protect your plants.