Orchid full sun is the notion that may hurt the orchids in several ways, like scorching, dehydration, curling, and wilting. Therefore, it is critical to manage the sunlight if you want your orchids to stay healthy and bloom colorful flowers.
Fortunately, there are some proven ways to protect your plants and help them get the light they need simultaneously, which we have discussed here, so, keep on reading to have a better understanding.
- Is Orchid Full Sun Exposure Good or Bad?
- What Are the Issues that Orchids in Full Sun Face?
- How To Protect Orchids From Sun Damage?
Is Orchid Full Sun Exposure Good or Bad?
Full sun exposure is bad for orchids; some orchid species can tolerate brief periods of direct sunlight, but most prefer filtered or indirect light. However, the light should be bright because darkness or complete shade can stunt growth and stop bud development.
Most orchid species naturally grow on trunks and branches of trees in rainforests, and in such a manner, the tree canopies provide shade and protect them from direct sun rays. Therefore, you should mimic the natural environment for orchids, and give your plant in direct sun.
Orchid gardeners prefer to grow white orchids; keeping this in mind, you see the reason for the worry of do white orchids need sunlight. Be mindful that this is one of the most common causes of worry when it comes to orchid-related queries by orchid enthusiasts. Hence, you should not put white orchids under direct sunlight, too, because exposing orchids to the sun can lead to different problems, one of which is the plant facing great stress.
What Are the Issues that Orchids in Full Sun Face?
The issues that the orchids in full sun face sunburn and scorching, and this would change their features. They would also face dehydration or water loss because of the evaporation from the heat, having the leaves look wrinkled and curling, and the flower will start wilting.
– Sunburn and Scorching
If you notice leaves turning yellow, it is a sign of sunburn or leaf scorching, and now, the ultraviolet or UV rays cause sunburn on orchids. They damage the leaf cells and cause their death. As a result, discoloring marks or patches appear on the surface.
These patches may start as small spots and gradually enlarge if the exposure continues and may also cause the whole leaf to become weak. This discoloration occurs in the top leaves first.
With time, the sunburned areas become dry and brittle. When this happens, the affected leaf parts may lose their turgidity and feel crispy.
– Dehydration or Experiencing Water Loss
Sunlight damages the outer layer of the orchid’s leaves, disrupting the protective barrier that helps retain moisture. This damage allows water to escape more rapidly from the plant through evaporation.
Moreover, orchids start to heat up under the sun; as a result, the water evaporation speeds up even more, introducing a cooling effect. When this happens, orchids signal roots to start absorbing more water.
Now, the problem worsens when there is no moisture near the roots, and here, the water in the medium can also vaporize within a few minutes during sunny days; in short, dehydration happens.
– Leaf Wrinkling and Curling
High levels of ultraviolet radiation, specifically UV-B, can also force the leaves to curl up. The curling is, in fact, the orchid’s defense mechanism. As a result, you will now see that the water evaporates rapidly from the orchids when you leave them under the sun.
Orchids then give signals to leaves to curl up to prevent water loss, and when this happens, it will have a response that reduces the exposed surface area, which slows down evaporation. Furthermore, this leaf response can also reduce the plant’s temperature.
Still, you will see wrinkles on the leaves; in addition to it, photosynthesis and other physiological functions also slow down due to curling, so, it is not a desirable orchid state.
– Flower Wilting
Exposure to direct sunlight can cause orchid flowers to wilt, because now, the sun’s rays can heat the petals, causing them to lose water. When these petals dry up, the bloom loses its beauty and cannot stay on the plant for long.
Moreover, intense sunlight can lead to a phenomenon known as photoinhibition, where the excessive energy from sunlight overwhelms the plant’s photosynthetic system. When this happens, the normal functioning of chlorophyll gets disrupted.
As a result, the plant’s energy production and metabolic processes slow down, leading to wilting of flowers; in short, you should protect orchids from direct sun.
How To Protect Orchids From Sun Damage?
To protect orchids from sun damage, grow those species that can tolerate sunlight and heat to some extent. You should still relocate them to a 60 to 70 percent shady spot, provide shade, and enhance air circulation to deal with high-intensity sun rays.
– Grow Sun-Loving Orchid Varieties
To prevent sun damage, choose orchids that can tolerate direct sunlight. Only a few orchid species can thrive under the sun: the Cattleyas, Dendrobiums, Oncidiums, Vandas, or even Miltonia orchids.
However, they should not be exposed to sun rays during the peak sunny hours. These orchids can tolerate high temperatures and UV rays for some time. After this, they can also feel stressed. Therefore, you should take extra sun-protective measures.
– Relocate the Plants to Sun-Free Spots
Shifting the orchids to a shady spot is the most effective measure to deal with sun stress. However, placing these plants in completely dark sites can limit their growth too. So, where to place orchids indoors, may be your next thought to give it the right spot, and the best place to grow orchids indoors is near east-facing windows or doors.
Morning light enters through them, which helps the orchids in photosynthesis and other critical processes.
At times, you may worry about the notion of, do orchids like bathrooms and those orchids that prefer high humidity, like Miltonia orchid, can flourish in bathroom settings. Still, it is a great choice that you give them a break and put them outside or in any other room for a few hours daily.
In such a manner, you may also wish to know where to put orchids outside, as the orchids grow best under the shade of a roof, awning, or any tall structure. Growing orchids on the east side of trees and walls are also recommended outside. However, everything changes during the cold season.
But what about in winter and where to keep orchids in winter? In short, it is a good choice that you opt to relocate the orchids indoors when the summer ends. It will protect these plants from low temperatures, frost, and other winter complications.
– Provide Shade
Providing shade is a good option if you don’t have any shady place to shift orchids. You can use shade cloth to filter out harmful rays. But don’t put it directly on top of the orchid. First, construct a frame or support structure, cover it with cloth, and then place your orchids.
Furthermore, you can also use large patio umbrellas or shade sails to create shade for your orchids. If you have placed orchids near west or south-facing windows, prevent sun rays from entering the room using nettings or curtains.
– Get Help From Water
“Do orchids need water?” is a common question of new orchid gardeners. Orchids undoubtedly need water, but their importance increases when sun or heat stress occurs because hydrating the plants can tone down the impact of sun damage and help them stay healthy.
water evaporates quickly from the leaves and potting medium when direct light falls. So, the leaves curl up, and orchids get dehydrated. Therefore, you should regularly monitor the potting soil or mix and pour water when it feels dry, and you can water orchids early morning or late afternoon.
The reason is that the sun is less intense during these times, so, the moisture won’t evaporate, and roots can easily absorb it.
Choosing a suitable watering method is also critical in this situation, and you can choose different styles such as bottom watering, pouring, misting, and the ice cube method. In bottom watering, water enters through the drainage hole so that you can fill a bucket, a container, or a bathtub with water. Put the orchid pot in it, and let the water enter and soak the medium; now you may take out the orchid after a few minutes.
Misting with a spray bottle is also an excellent watering technique during hot days. It cools off leaves and stems, reducing the damage to sunlight. You can even lightly spray your orchid plants every day.
Before you add water, you should observe the pot first. Water only when the potting mix becomes moisture-less. But if it is soggy or wet, wait for it to dry out. Also, remember a crucial orchid care point during the watering- “drainage.”
– Rotate the Orchids Weekly
An effective plant care point most people neglect when dealing with sun stress is rotation or even turning them. When you turn the orchid, each side will get one week to recover. As a result, the plant won’t get any irreversible damage this way.
Furthermore, rotation can also allow the orchids to grow seamlessly. These plants show phototropism, which is a behavior in which they stretch toward the light source. If only one side faces the light, the spike will grow abruptly and droop down. But if both sides get equal light, the growth will be even.
– Focus on Air Circulation and Monitor the Light
Heat buildup is one of the most common problems during sun exposure, which can increase the orchid temperature. You can deal with this issue by enhancing the air movement, so for this, you must keep some distance between the orchid pots, as grouping them can build up the heat.
In addition, you can also use outdoor fans to provide ventilation or opt to prune the orchids and remove old parts to improve oxygen passage, and lastly, try installing a vent system is also a great idea.
After taking the above steps, you should ensure the light stays suitable for the orchids. You can use a light-measuring instrument, like a light meter. Its sensor measures the light intensity near your orchids and gives an accurate reading in lux or foot-candles, which are light units.
You can check the orchid light requirements chart online and match the numbers with the light meter reading. Remember that the orchids need bright light to keep thriving. However, different orchids prefer different intensities.
Some like low-lighting conditions, while some prefer brightness. So, find out about the light requirements of your orchids from the chart and try to manage the conditions accordingly, and this way you can know it well and see the orchid growing in the right light.
In a nutshell, sun exposure is not good for orchids. It can lead to sunburn, dehydration, curling, and wilting. So, if you notice direct sunlight falling on them, you should take strict steps, which are:
- Relocate the orchids to an area where bright and filtered light falls.
- Provide shade using shade cloth, netting, umbrellas, and curtains if shifting the orchid is impossible.
- Manage the air circulation to reduce the heat buildup.
- Water appropriately to help the orchids deal with the stress.
- Monitor the light intensity with a light meter to ensure the plants flourish smoothly.
These steps will help the orchids to recover from sun damage and produce gorgeous flowers!
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