Growing Orchids Under Artificial Lights

When using artificial lights or even just using natural light it is important to know the species of orchid you are working with.  Most, but not all,  orchids come from the tropical regions around the world.  Below the jungle canopy they will be used to a diffused sunlight, not a direct strong sunlight.  The sunlight will come through the canopy in a dappled pattern, but wont strike one area for too long of a period.  Placing your orchid in a easterly facing window will allow it to receive the early morning sun, but be shaded during the strong afternoon sun.

When you first get your orchid plant, or even before, you should research the specifics about that type of orchid.  Gather what information you can from the person that you are getting it from.  If they have had the orchid for a while they may be able to tell you if it prefers sun or shade.  If you are buying it, you should be able to get details of the species from someone at the store.  Most stores will have someone knowledgeable about orchids working in the plant department.  At a minimum the information with the plant should give you the type of orchid in the form of it’s proper name.  Armed with this information you should be able to determine it’s growing preferences from research on the Internet.  While at the store purchasing your orchid you may also want to look into a grow-light for creating some artificial light to help the orchid grow.

In orchid growing circles there are two terms used to classify orchids as to their tolerance of sun:

  • Soft growing orchids – thrive in shady conditions
  • Hard growing orchids – prefer sunny conditions

Orchids of the soft growing variety will bless their owners with a thriving plant with less blooms, whereas a hard growing orchid will produce vibrant blooms it may not have much plant.  A hard growing orchid in these conditions may also exhibit yellow and stunted leaves.

A grow-light is one way that the orchid plant can be provided with the proper amount of light.  Combining the artificial light from a grow-light and an inexpensive timer you can insure that you orchid is getting the proper amount of light.  In years past it was thought that only the hardiest of botanists could successfully grow orchids, but with this simple way to giving your orchid the required light, orchids can be grown by the most novice of individual.

Know where your orchid species originates from is key in know how to take care of it.  Orchids from the tropical regions near the equator are going to be expecting nearly 12 hours of sunlight a day.  The farther away from the equator you take the orchid the more you may have to supplement the orchid with artificial light from a grow light.

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