Creating an orchid greenhouse
Create your own orchid greenhouse to bring beauty to your home
Orchids are among the most exotic and beautiful flowers in the world. Because they are exotic, many people think that it is too difficult or complicated to grow orchids as a private gardener, but that's simply not true. Many people have success in growing orchids in their home, but if you intend to become a serious orchid gardener, you will want to set up an orchid greenhouse.
Types of greenhouses
Lean-to greenhouse: A lean-to orchid greenhouse uses one wall of your existing home. This can make it easier to heat your greenhouse. One thing to consider with a lean-to greenhouse is local building codes; often when building on to your existing home, even for a greenhouse, you will be required to obtain a building permit.
Freestanding greenhouse: A freestanding greenhouse is separate from your existing home. If the greenhouse is less than 150 square feet, you will usually not need a building permit, but be sure to check your city or county building codes.
Placement of your greenhouse
When deciding where to build your greenhouse, the main thing to consider is sun exposure. Orchids need direct sunlight, so a southeasterly exposure is generally the best. If you live in a climate where you receive a lot of snow, don't place your greenhouse close to your home where it can receive heavy deposits of snow sliding off of your home's roof.
Your orchid greenhouse will need a foundation. You can use an existing patio or deck, or you can build a foundation of concrete, railroad ties, or treated lumber.
Your greenhouse environment
There are several factors to remember when creating an orchid greenhouse: shade, humidity, heat, circulation, and ventilation. These factors will vary depending on the types of orchids you plan on growing.
Shade: Depending on how much direct sunlight your greenhouse will get and what kind of orchids you are growing, you may need to provide shading. This can be accomplished with paint, roll-up shades, or cloth panels.
Humidity: The easiest way to create a humid environment in your orchid greenhouse is by having a porous floor, usually bricks on gravel or sand. By occasionally wetting the sand or gravel down, you can have continuous humidity in your greenhouse. If that is not an option, you can also purchase a humidifier system.
Heat: Decide what kind of orchids you will grow. Will they require low temperatures, moderate temperatures, or warm temperatures? The answer will help determine the heating system you need. You can use electric or gas heaters, and the number and size will depend on the size of your greenhouse, and the climate and temperature outside your greenhouse.
Circulation: The best way to create air circulation in your greenhouse is with an oscillating fan mounted to the wall.
Ventilation: You will need base vents at the floor to admit cool air, and roof vents to release the hot air. Electric venting systems can also be used, but you will need to watch that the system doesn't dry out the air in your greenhouse.
Purchasing your orchids
If you are a first-time orchid gardener, it is advisable to purchase mature plants. These plants will be stronger and more durable and easier to manage for the beginner. These plants will also bloom more quickly, giving you some quick gratification for your first experience with orchids.
When choosing plants, check the bulbs and leaves, as they should be firm. Check for uniformity in leaf color. Move the pot around a bit; if the plant moves, it has been planted too loosely. The plant should sit firmly in the pot. Check the soil; it should be moist, but not too wet. Check for signs of decay or fungus. If you buy healthy plants, you'll have a much better chance at success.
Creating an orchid greenhouse can be a beautiful way to bring these exotic flowers into your life. Growing orchids can quickly become a beloved pastime and will give you pride and satisfaction, while infusing your life with beauty.