What is the ideal temperature for orchids? That is a common question and rightly so. Temperature is important for orchids for several reasons. There are a few simple things you need to keep in mind when it comes to temperature and the health of your orchids. Let's first discuss why temperature is important.
Growth and Flowering
You want your orchids to thrive and temperature is an important factor to be mindful of. If you know what temperature is too hot or too cold for your orchid, you can avoid a range of common healthy issues. What temperature do orchids prefer? Many people think that orchids grow exclusively in warm, humid rainforests. That isn't true, though. It is true that some orchids thrive in those environments, but there are plenty of species that would perish in such habitats.
Temperature isn't only important for the overall health of your orchids, it also has a direct impact on growth and flowering. Three factors impact when an orchid grows and flowers, (1) the amount of light it receives (also known as the photoperiod), (2) the humidity or rainfall, and (3) the temperature of the environment it grows in.
Most orchids are tougher than you might think. Not only can they tolerate temperature fluctuations, they need those fluctuations to grow and flower. If an orchid grows in an environment with no changes in temperature, it is likely it won't bloom.
Temperature Range and Fluctuations
You need to know about two aspects when it comes to temperature, temperature range and temperature fluctuations. The temperature range describes the minimum and maximum temperature a species or hybrid prefers or tolerates throughout the year. We talk more about this in a moment.
Fluctuations in temperature occur on a daily basis. In most environments, including indoors and in greenhouses, the temperature rises during the day and drops during the night. As I wrote earlier, this is fine and something the orchid needs. In warm environments, orchids use the drop in temperature during the night to cool their metabolism. Orchids that prefer cooler climates need the cooler night to recover from warm or hot summer days. The fluctuations between day and night should ideally be within 5-15°F.
Cool, Intermediate, and Warm
What temperature range does your orchid need? When it comes to temperature, orchids are often categorized into three groups, cool, intermediate, and warm growers.
As I wrote earlier, not every orchid species grows in warm, humid rainforests near the equator. Cool growing orchids prefer cold cloud forests at high altitudes (e.g., Ecuador and Colombia). They prefer a temperature range between 10-24°C or 50-75°F.
It can be challenging to keep cool growers alive if you live in an area with warm or hot summers. It is typically easier to warm a room in winter than it is to cool a room during summer. Because orchids prefer a humid climate, cooling a room with air-conditioning isn't an ideal solution as it draws the moisture from the air.
Intermediate growing orchids prefer temperatures between 13-26°C or 55-80°F. Warm growing orchids prefer temperatures between 18-30°C or 65-85°F.
These temperature ranges are a guideline. Some summers are extremely hot and some winters are extremely cold. Cool growing orchids can handle colder temperatures, but they have difficulty coping with hot environments. The opposite is true for warm growing orchids. They can handle warmer temperatures, but they suffer if the environment they grow in becomes too cold.
Location, Location, Location
I talk about location a lot because it is so important for the health of your orchids. If you have a collection of orchids, it is important to group orchids that belong to the same category. If you don't, then some orchids in the group will pay the price.
The temperature range in a house can vary dramatically depending on the orientation of the room. A room with a small north-facing window won't get nearly as hot in the summer as a room with a large south-facing window.
Choose Your Orchids Carefully
As an orchid enthusiast, it can be tempting to buy a plant that isn't ideal for the conditions you can offer it. Don't buy an orchid if you know it won't thrive in the environment you have to offer. It won't be a pleasant experience for you or the orchid.
The good news is that the number of orchids you can choose from is vast and growers continue to experiment with hybrids that can cope with and even thrive in environments their wild counterparts can't. Explore and research before you buy is the advice.