Will misting your orchid plants really kill the plant and the flowers?

Discussion in 'Orchidaceae (orchids)' started by photopro, Oct 2, 2007.

  1. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I received another question today asking if spraying or misting orchids will kill both the plant and the flower. I receive that question at least four times each year. It seems some people have decided if you get a drop of water on the plant or the flower it is gone! Well, then I've got a question.

    How in the world do orchids survive in a rain forest?

    I've been to a few rain forest and seen more orchids in bloom than I'll ever be able to grow in my atrium! I have an acquaintance who owns an orchid nursery in Panama and he tells me the best place to collect rare orchids in bloom in that country is in a rain forest so wet you'll always be slogging in mud! It is literally above the cloud line!

    So, has Mother Nature figured out a way to make those rain drops that fall almost daily miss each plant and flower? I don't think so!

    You may certainly grow your orchids any way you choose. Lots of people have many different methods. But sorry, saying if you get a drop of water on the plant or flower it will die is simply a myth! Think about it. Orchids live in very wet rain forests!

    Here's a piece I finally decided to write as a result of all the people who tell me the orchids I spray with a misting hose daily are about to die. Tell it to the orchids! I've got a bunch in bloom right now and I've been doing it for almost 20 years. The largest orchid growers in Florida use overhead misting systems daily!

    http://www.exoticrainforest.com/misting orchids.html
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It could do, if one uses tap water, which (in some areas) can contain various dissolved minerals and is also commonly chlorine treated; these could both harm orchids adapted to distilled water from clouds and rain.
     
  3. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Never had that mentioned by any of the large nurseries I visited in Florida. There is one west of Homestead that grows at least 10,000 plants at one time. Another smaller one I used to visit often uses tap water. We use plain old tap water which has both chlorine and is high in pH but the orchids just grow and bloom.

    Interestingly, the lady in our area who tells people this all the time uses tap water as well, she just won't let it touch the flowers or leaves.
     
  4. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    if you let your tap water (from a municipal system) sit in a container overnight, the chlorine will disapate and will be safe to use for your plants.

    other chemicals (fluride, ammonia, etc) will still be there and there and they might be harmful to some plants (especially the fluride).

    well water can have many chemicals/minerals in it and should be tested regularly to make sure it's safe to use - for you as well as your plants.

    when it comes to misting orchids and whether you should or not...

    duh!! their natural habitat IS rainforest.

    so, misting them when they are kept in unnatural conditions like our houses is a necessity!

    some people are just plain silly! ;)
     
  5. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Good point about the well water. I just sent an email to a friend who has a small orchid nursery in Florida. He says he uses well water. There would be no induced chemicals but there is a very high pH which indicates dissolved calcium and who knows what else. Since Florida ground water is so close to the surface (around 10 feet down in many cases) there is obviously some chemical runoff from the city of Miami. I used to have a friend who worked for the county and his job was to force companies to clean up their ground pollution. There is a lot of it in Miami!

    But I'll certainly admit some city water may not be good for orchids. In both Florida and here we use city water and never saw a problem. But your last statement is the best!!
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Raising humidity in the immediate vicinity of plants indoors can be accomplished by setting plants on trays filled with pebbles. When misted the plants are only damp until the mist dries, then are back in the prevailing conditions.
     
  7. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    You don't mist like I mist! Five minutes at a time! I do it until the water is draining quickly from the bottom of the container.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    With a small collection in an ordinary arid interior of a human dwelling, the air around the plants will then become dry again - whether they are misted for 5 minutes or 5 seconds. 5 minutes of misting might really amount to almost a watering, anyway, most will not be talking about a 5 minute interval when describing misting their orchids on the kitchen shelf or in the greenhouse window. That is what misting orchids will refer to in most instances, something being done to a sizeable collection or in a greenhouse or plant room is not really the same topic. Even where the plants are all being housed near a living room window if there is a substantial number of them grouped all together, more than most people will accumulate that number of plants will produce a different situation than normal. Just the water evaporating from 50 specimens close together will produce a greenhouse-like micro-environment. If these are also sitting on trays or other receptacles that give off water into the air around them there will be additional constant humidification that misting alone (in the usual sense, on the usual scale) cannot achieve.
     
  9. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    unwell water is even worse . . .

    ;-)
     
  10. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

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    /clap /clap /clap ROFLMAO!!!!
     
  11. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    Don't spray or mist orchids.....how ridiculous!!!!

    Ed
     
  12. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Ed, if you lived close to the "Orchid Lady", as we do, you'd hear it all the time!
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Global warming is interfering with cloud forest ecosystems in tropical areas by affecting temperature and precipitation patterns. A study was shown on TV where locally native orchids are being placed on frames in a cloud forest and monitored to see how their development is being affected by the current conditions, particularly "misting" by clouds.

    Hot belts are moving higher up tropical mountainsides and pushing cloud forest species right off of them, frogs (excellent climate and atmosphere indicators) are already dying out.

    Perhaps one of the most extreme examples of the importance of "misting" of flowering epiphytes in nature is the bromeliads (Tillandsia, Vriesea) that grow on cacti in the 'fog desert' of parts of coastal South America (Peru etc). It has been thought that their presence there is pretty much due entirely to the maritime fogs, the rainfall being extremely scant.
     

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