Orchid Growing Tips

How Much Sunlight Does Your Orchid Need?


Orchid Sunlight NeedsThere are several growth factors to keep in mind in order to be successful at growing orchids.  One of the most essential of these is to consider the climate in which the orchid grows, particularly regarding sunlight.

Of course, sunlight is essential for growing orchids, but it must be remembered that not all types of orchids need the same amount of light.

Some varieties of orchids, such as the Phalaenopsis, only need 10-15% sunlight in a normal day, which isn’t a great deal: even on a mostly cloudy day, you will have 10-15% of sunlight, so places that don’t get abundant sunshine should still be suitable to grow these types of orchids as long as you have the correct temperature and relative humidity (see below).

Another type of orchid, the Cattelya Hybrid, only needs 20-30% sunshine, so a mostly cloudy climate will still tend to serve the Cattelya Hybrid well, as long there are the correct relative humidity and temperature (see below).

This is not to say that all types of hybrids can function with relatively little sunshine.  As was mentioned on a Squidoo lens Orchid Care Guidance, sunshine is important to the growth of orchids, and some types, like the Arachnids Maggie Oei, the Vanda pensile, and Vanda quarter need 100% sunshine.

Therefore, these need to be in an extremely sunny place to thrive.  For example, the Oncidium Hybrid, needs 60-75% sunshine, so a mostly sunny climate will be necessary to grow the Oncidium Hybrid successfully.

Certainly, though, sunshine is not as essential as has been claimed.  Therefore, if you read the lens Orchid Care Guidance and thought, “Darn, I don’t live in a sunny climate therefore, I have no chances of growing orchids,” that is not necessarily the case.

Of course, climate and sunlight are not the only factors that go into growing orchids.  You also need the right amount of relative humidity and a suitable temperature.

The ideal temperature for almost every type of orchids is 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) to 28 degrees Celsius (82.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

The specific temperature varies based on whether you have a cold, medium or warm type of orchid, as the author explains.

The correct amount of relative humidity for virtually all orchids is between 60-85%.  This percentage of relative humidity requires that virtually all orchids are grown in a tropical or subtropical climate.

Even so, there are tropical and subtropical locations that don’t get a tremendous amount of sunshine – if you live in one of these places, don’t give up on your dream to grow your own orchids, as many types of orchids don’t require 100% or even a constant amount of sunshine.

Please submit a comment below to let me know what has worked for you and your orchids.

For more information on orchid needs, click for more Orchid Care Instructions.

Your Comments

9 Comments so far

  1. Edmond says:

    How do I identify the type of orchad I purchased at a local grocery store last year?

  2. Thi-Sy Tran says:

    I had Killed lot of rare Lady-sliper orchid specimens till I’ve read some pages written by Mary Ann on internet – Now I think my orchids conditions be improved – My orchids look more thrive and I even hope some of them could give their flower when sping season will come.

    • Mary Ann says:

      Thank you so much for letting us know! It’s wonderful to hear the success stories. Keep up the good work, and let us know when you get your first flower! It is quite rewarding. – Mary Ann

  3. Brenda Greenidge says:

    hi Mary Ann,as I said before I live in the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, I have some phals, some dendrobiums, vandas and also a few scorpion orchids, only one has bloomed so far, twice last year and well it is in bloom right now, I have that scorpion orchid in full sun on my porch( I live in an upstairs apartment)some of my orchids are on the eastern side and get sun from around ten am until about one pm,some are on the north eastern side and do not get any sun on them but free air movement and bright light from about seven am until about five pm, when the sun starts to set. I would like to send you some pics of an orchid that is in bloom now but I am not too sure which kind it is, maybe you can help me. I am glad I live here because orchids seem to bear almost all year round. I have two dendrobiums that have flower spikes now but I do not know the name, all of the orchids are planted in some soil with stones and dried coconut husks in clay pots, wire baskets and concrete pots too, those like the scorpion are held up on pieces of wood from a poui tree, and also a fruit tree (sapodilla) which are both hard wood placed in the pots and surrounded with coconut husks to keep them in place, the orchids seem to love all of this. Well that is all for now. Brenda

  4. Mano says:

    Thanks for all your articles.

  5. Tom Page says:

    I am coming to the end of my first year “doing orchids.” From what I can tell things are going fairly well. They spend the warm seasons out in an enclosed porch with windows for a breeze. The cold months I have them indoors in an enclosed greenhouse to control heat (60/70 degrees) and humidity ( 75/80 percent), under artificial light. My initial orchids purchased are now beginning to bloom again. The problem is the stems holding the blooms are not near sturdy enough, they do a 90 degree plus bend, right at the bloom. They didn’t do that when I bought them last year. I notice liquid droplets forming on the stem. So I figure I am contributing to this issue. The blossoms are about what they were a year ago size wise.They are Cat hybrids. The way I see it is either too much light, heat or humidity. The greenhouse cools off in the evening hours 5 to 8 degrees . I get a lot of good looking root growth which I like. Any ideas?

    • Mary Ann says:

      You might want to try using stakes to provide your plant with extra support for the flowers. It sounds like you have some honeydew. That’s not a big deal – just wipe it off. 🙂 It could also be aphids or scale, so check into those options too. If it’s not clear liquid, please let me know! – Mary Ann

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