How to protect outdoor orchids from the cold is a notion that you should accomplish as it is important if you want these plants to stay healthy and bloom captivating flowers. You should know your orchid’s temperature tolerance, water carefully, apply mulch and use frost covers.How To Protect Outdoor Orchids From the Cold

However, doing these things right can help the plants even more in the cold. Continue reading to learn how to protect the orchids from the chilly environment without hassle.

How To Protect Outdoor Orchids From the Cold?

To protect your orchids from the cold outdoors, know about these plants’ temperature tolerance first. If the temperature is lower than they can endure, add water appropriately, group the orchids together, and mulch the medium. Furthermore, cover the plants with frost clothes or blankets in case of extreme cold stress.

Whether or not orchids can survive winter outside depends on the species, if you are worried about can orchids survive winter outside. If the orchid cannot tolerate a temperature below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, then its chances of survival are low.

But if it is cold-tolerant, then it can stay healthy in winter. However, even cold tolerant orchids cannot survive freezing temperatures; as a result, death is inevitable if the water freezes inside the plant and within the potting medium.

When growing these beautiful plants, you may think about what happens if an orchid gets too cold, because if this happens, it can harm it, and as a result, its leaves become mushy. Furthermore, black, brown, and yellow spots also start to emerge. You will also see whitening on the stem and some other parts. If the temperature drops to freezing point, the orchid will die.

1. Know Your Orchids Temperature Requirements

Knowing how low temperature your orchids can tolerate is crucial before you take any protective measures. A great number of orchid species exist, and many don’t like extreme temperature drops. But their temperature tolerance differs from one another.Orchids Temperature Requirements

Phalaenopsis, also known as moth orchids, is the first choice of gardeners to enhance the beauty of outdoor gardens. Sadly, this plant is not a fan of the cold. Phalaenopsis temperature tolerance is 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Anything below this limit slows down the growth. You will also see black, brown, or yellow leaves in Phalaenopsis cold damage. Similarly, Dendrobium cold tolerance is also around 58 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if winter gets extreme in your area, this orchid is not for you, keep in mind that if you have a dancing-lady orchid, it can tolerate 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

On the other hand, cattleya orchids are ones that would be able to tolerate a maximum of 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and for boat orchids, 41 degrees Fahrenheit is the level that they cannot surpass. Lastly, you also have the Venus slipper, as 40 degrees Fahrenheit is a peak that it tolerates. In short, when the temperature exceeds this limit, you should protect your orchids.

2. Choose the Right Spot First

Choosing the right location or spot is critical to prevent cold stress. Keeping this in mind, you must select an area where bright light falls during the day. It is because it is warmer than the other spots, which allows the plants to recover quickly from low night temperatures.

Furthermore, take winds and frost into account when deciding a location. Select a spot that is near walls, trees, or buildings, and these structures will block most of the chilly winds. Similarly, don’t put the orchids in low-lying sites to avoid frost damage. But if the temperature drops below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, it will slow down the processes in orchids, and blooming will become nearly impossible.

In such a case, you must remember that orchids need cold to bloom, especially at night, because you may think about the temperature change and wonder do orchids need cold to bloom. The temperature should be around 55 to 65 degrees after evening for the buds to develop.

3. Put All Orchids as Close as Possible

Orchids growing is no doubt fun, but it can become frustrating when dealing with the cold. Choosing the right location is not enough to prevent winter stress.Putting All Orchids Together

To avoid cold damage, you should grow orchids close to each other. It will create a warm environment while reducing the flow of chilly winds. But during the daytime, you should keep the orchids apart, so they can get the light they need.

4. Build a Windbreaker as a Winter Care Measure

If strong chilly winds are common in your area, building a windbreaker is necessary after you group the orchids. For this, try to select a location at least two feet away from the outermost orchid. It is because installing a windbreaker near the orchids will cast shade on plants.

Now, you should take wooden stakes and securely anchor them, give them the right stability, and wrap plastic around the stakes. Ensure there are no holes in the plastic before you use it, or the wind can pass through, and try to recheck the stability.

5. Add Water Smartly

In cold weather, watering becomes a little different, and when you know, the temperature will go down in a few days, stop the watering and allow the roots to dry completely. When the cold arrives, apply room temperature water in controlled amounts, which is around 78 degrees Fahrenheit.Adding Water to Orchids

It will warm up the roots and potting medium for a few hours. You can also spray water on the leaves and stems too. But ensure the water does not go underneath the leaves. It is because air circulation is less there, so the chances of fungal diseases will become more.

6. Mulch the Potting Medium

Mulching the outside orchids is an effective way to protect the orchids from cold stress. It is usually done after watering because it traps moisture near the roots and keeps them hydrated.

You should begin by making a mulch by mixing leaves, grass clippings, newspapers, straw, bark, coffee grounds, or even some moss. Clean the orchid pot or ground orchid plants. If you see weeds or any dirt, remove them and make the surface even using a small trowel.

Now, you should water your orchid a little, and when the potting medium becomes partially moist, apply a layer of mulch. It should be around one to two inches thick. Adding more mulch can stop the air from reaching the roots, and this is why you should ensure the layer is not too thick.

The mulch will protect the roots from cold temperatures and winds by acting as insulation. In addition to the latter, you must also have in mind how this layer will decompose with time, releasing critical nutrients for the roots to uptake, and with all ease, it will help the plant as well.

7. Cover the Orchids

If the temperature is below 40 degrees and there is no forecast of it going up, then you should do some extra “orchid care” measures. An old strategy is to cover the plants. Fortunately, we now have frost clothes and blankets that can tone down the impact of low temperatures.

However, you can’t put them directly on the orchid. First, build a structure using stakes or PVC pipes. If you are a beginner, get a greenhouse kit from any big gardening store. Follow its manual to assemble the frame.

When the structure is ready, you can put frosted clothes or blankets on it, and clip them to ensure they don’t move away when the wind blows. The blanket will provide insulation against the cold and prevent chilly winds from causing damage. For this, you should try to cover your orchids at night and remove the blankets in the morning to allow the plants to get the light.

In addition, placing space heaters in the greenhouse to provide additional heat is also a good idea. Experienced gardeners also use LED bulbs to raise the temperature and provide optimal light. You can use digital thermometers to determine the temperature around the orchids and manage the heating devices accordingly.

8. Move the Orchids Inside if Possible

If you have limited resources and can’t do some or all the steps we have discussed above, the best thing to do is move the orchids into your home. The inside temperature is hotter than outside, which is why orchids indoors stay healthier during the cold stress than outdoors.Moving Orchids Indoor

If you have limited space and can’t put all the orchids in your home, that is when you may try to relocate your favorite ones. These are usually those who are flowering or about to flower. In addition, orchid seedlings are sensitive to temperature, too, so bring them inside as well.

You can easily manage the indoor temperatures with a thermostat. Furthermore, heaters and heating pads can also be used to raise the temperature. With a heating pad, you have to be careful.

You can aim to place a towel on a heating pad, or you can also go ahead and put a thermometer in the potting medium to measure the temperature. In addition, place the orchid on the towel, and now, turn on the heating pad, and just as the temperature goes above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, turn off the pad.

You can also put the orchids in the room where you rest. It is because such a space is usually warmer than the others. It will be better if there is also an east-facing window because the plants can get the required light to stay healthy, and you now know the right measures on how to save a frozen orchid.

9. Keep an Eye on Weather Forecast

When growing orchids, you should always keep checking the forecast. If it says the temperature will rise in the upcoming days, you can finally relax. When it goes above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, shift the orchids outside again and start doing the normal gardening.


Protecting orchids from extreme cold is, without a doubt, critical to keeping them healthy, so here, we have explained how we did this effortlessly:

  • Know your orchid’s temperature tolerance before deciding whether to protect it from the cold.
  • Let the roots dry before cold, and then add the room temperature water to warm up the potting medium.
  • During the day, they like it to be between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. After the evening, the temperature should drop by 5 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Build a small greenhouse or bring the plants inside if the temperature stays cold for weeks.
  • Regularly check the forecast to see how long you should keep protecting the orchids.

Doing these simple things will maintain the optimal health of your orchids and help them bloom elegant flowers when the time comes.

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