Even though it’s early September, fall seems to be in the air. The days are slowly getting shorter, the nights cooler, and some trees are even beginning to lose their leaves. The kids are back in school and our summer “routines” must change.
Most of us are creatures of habit. Watering our plants every Saturday morning and fertilizing once-a-month, whatever it may be. What one must remember is that as the seasons change, the climate conditions change, thus, the care of your orchids must also change.
Fall brings shorter days, cooler nights, and lower light intensities. These conditions are necessary to push many orchids into spike. However, the care we give them must change slightly to accommodate the new season. During the fall and winter months, the plant growth of orchids slows down and, in some cases, stops entirely until spring. Because of this, we usually cut back of our watering and fertilizing. It is good to switch foods to a blossom booster formula during the fall and winter. Blossom booster cuts back on the nitrogen and pumps up the phosphate, a combination that encourages blooming. With the lower light during these months the orchids simply do not use up as much food, so make sure to reduce your fertilizing frequency and/or switch to a blossom booster.
The plants also do not use up as much water during the fall/winter months. You will want to water your plants thoroughly as usual. However, due to the darker, cooler days, it may take longer for your plants to dry out. The best thing to do is to evaluate and change your orchid care as the seasons change. Be aware of the plant growth and moisture content. Don’t get caught up in too much of a “routine” of caring for your orchids. Learn to study the plant and decide on it’s specific needs for that week, month and season.