Angraecum leonis

Monday, November 19, 2012

Angraecums & Old Man Winter

     This post should have been made about 3 - 4 weeks ago; as long as nothing is frozen over yet and there isn't several meters of snow, take the time to read it.  Especially those that haven't grown orchids through a winter season yet.

     For those of my Followers/Members and the many Regular Readers that live in the far reaches of the North and get to experience Old Man Winter at his most coldest and shortest of days; be prepared to pay extra attention to your Angraecums and other orchid genera's.  Believe me when I tell you that I have experienced winter.  I used to live in an area of the Northeast US that is greatly effected by Lake Effect Weather.  Examples follow:

     1.  Water turns to ice immediately upon contact:
2.  Rivers, lakes and your pool quickly freeze:
3.  The snow begins to fall, sometimes to much:
4.  How much clothing do you need to stay warm:
     If conditions are anything like the above images, its time to make some changes to your Angraecum/Orchid collection.  It is time to Winterize (actually, you should have started a couple of weeks ago)!
     As I have said in so many of these posts, "Angraecums are sub-tropical to tropical plants."  Think about putting your plants in areas that will not be as cold as the windowsill that they sat on most of the spring through the early fall.  Air temperature right next to that glass can be 10 - 20 degrees F cooler than a table that sits several feet away (1-2m).  Especially older homes that use the older type of storm windows if any at all.  The plants will deal with temperatures in the mid to upper 60s F (don't keep them there to long); but will fare much better in an area that is in the low to mid 70s F.
     If the air temperature is warm enough to keep them closer to the glass you may want to consider using a slight translucent material such as frosted plastic to soften the light. With the light coming in from one direction, you can rotate the plants every couple of days to prevent them from growing at harsh angles.
     Air quality is important.  Humans as well as plants can suffer when the air becomes stagnant.  Use a small fan to keep air circulation going.  When closed up in a house during these winter months, plants can begin to suffer without good air movement.
     You must also think about the amount of light you will loose when you move those plants away.  One option is to get a wire rack with shelves that can accommodate sets of grow lights.  The amount of time that your plants are exposed to light will be less during the cooler months.   If that isn't feasible, move the plants into a room or rooms that get east and/or west sunlight.  With the plants further away from the windows, the direct sunlight coming in from these directions will help.
     During drier and cooler times of the year it is suggested that the amount of watering be cut back.  This is a true statement, however, be sure to do the research on your plants (if unable to find the culture information for your Angraecum/Orchid, write in the comments section at the end of this post and I will certainly help).  Some of the Angraecums are year round growing plants and will require most of that moisture.  Keep the potting material moist/damp, do not let it dry out.  With winter's drier air, I suggest that you put the pot into a small dish with marbles in the bottom and keep the marbles just about, not quite submerged in water.
     One of the things I DO NOT forget to do is to fungicide my plants just before the on-set of winter.  It is warmer here in South Florida; but with temperatures getting ready to drop into the 50/60 degree average at night and even into the low 40s F, plants can be susceptible to fungus'.  Use a systemic fungicide and cover the entire plant with the liquid.  Do your best to get the underside of all of the leaves and the potting material in which your plant sets.
     You can back off on the frequency in which you fertilize.  That can be done by using a weaker dilution or by increasing the number of days in between fertilizing.  If you treat your plants every 7 days in warmer months; in drier and cooler months try every 14 days.
     For those of you that have green houses; be sure to continue to use fungicides.  Watering can be backed off as long as the humidity range doesn't drop below 65 - 70%.  Fertilizer can also be used with less frequency (every 10 - 14 days).
     These are suggestions.  Keep an eye on your Angraecums and other orchids.  Be prepared to deal with any and all issues.  I talk to numerous professional growers on a regular basis that successfully grow in these drier and cooler conditions.  I can only imagine what heating costs are when you're dealing with several feet of snow and temperatures that dip down below freezing.  I lived in that type of weather once upon a time.  I thoroughly enjoy the sand, sun and palm trees today.  But most of all, I enjoy the sub-tropical weather during the winter months that allows me to grow without a major fear of frozen plants.
     To all of you dealing with Old Man Winter, enjoy the skiing, ice skating, sledding (I miss this) and the snow mobiles.  In a couple of months, you'll be planting your gardens again and moving some of your orchids outdoors.  If you have any questions, please post it in the Comments section of the post or you can email me at .         


  1. Great and informative site. My Agrcm. Has 2 stems as we speak.
    Do you have a 'go to' systemic fungicide? I am in SW FL.

  2. Hi Susan, There are numerous systemic fungicides available to orchid hobbyists. Over the last couple of years I've used Thiomyl (one tablespoon per gallon of water). I treat my plants every 30 days. I do keep a quaart bottle of Physan20 on hand which is a topical fungicide in case I see something happening in between my monthly treataments. When treating my orchids on a monthly basis, I do mix my fertilizer in with the fungicide; it saves time from having to do everything twice. Be sure to cover the entire plant, especially the underside of the leaves and then the medium so that the roots get some of the fungicide. I would like to know what Angcm. you have and if you can email a photo of it to me ( ) If you haven't already, check out the face book page and click the like button and be kept up to date with all of the additions to the blog. The page is

  3. Mine is Crestwood and has two long bloom stems on it as we speak. I got it at a Sarasota Orchid Society meeting 6 or 7 months ago.

  4. Susan, you will see the Angcm. Crestwood do very well in SW Fla. I have friends in the Tampa/St. Pete area and their plants thrive there. If temps drop below 50 degrees F, be sure to move the plants into a warmer area. The entire lineage is tropical and the cold can get them. Be sure to treat the plants with the systemic fungicide every 30 days. Fungus has a way of creeping up on orchids after cold spells. Don't hesitate to give a shout out when you have any questions. Enjoy the blooms...


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