How to prepare your orchids for a hurricane!
By Milton O. Carpenter
- If your collection is small and mobile then certainly bring all into the home and place away from windows.
- If some of your plants are growing on trees you might want to tie a small piece of shade cloth around the plant (and tree-trunk) so that (a) the plant is less likely to be “gone with the wind” and (b) if all the leaves are blown off the tree the plant is less likely to suffer sunburn from the increased light (no – do not put sunscreen on the leaves as a rule).
- If you cannot bring all the plants into the house, take them all off benches and put them on the ground where they are less likely to be blown over. Be careful to keep them above any flood water.
- If plants are still in your shadehouse (or greenhouse) and some of the shadecloth has been blown away, replace it immediately. It only takes a few hours to really sunburn the leaves – and this damage does not generally go away.
- If plants have been blown over and are starting to come out of the pots, check the roots as this may be a good time to re-pot. Generally most orchids respond to re-potting immediately after they have finished blooming.
- It is a good rule to have enough spare shade cloth on hand (kept in your home or elsewhere) to replace all shade cloth the orchids are currently under.
- Because your plants left in the storm will be wet for some time – have plenty of fungicide – Captan, etc. – on hand to apply as soon as the rain is over. You can even use ordinary kitchen cinnamon in a pinch. Then try to let the plants dry out well before watering again.
- Don’t leave orchids in bloom outside if possible - - the blooms will probably be ruined and the wind resistance can cause the plant to fall over. Consider cutting the flowers and put them in the house.
- If plants are left outside, remember the possibility of the tags becoming lost. Tie name tags to the plant itself so the name and other info will be retained.
- If plants are left outside, do everything possible to protect the leaves from wind-blown bruises, sunburn, etc. Remember the leaves are the “food factory” for the plant, converting sunlight into sugars for the plants to live.