There is no doubt that orchid is one of the favorite houseplants. We all love them for a fascinating flower display and they are quite easy to care for as well. Have you ever considered growing orchids in a greenhouse? Many growers dedicate the whole structure to grow different species of orchids.
Don’t have a greenhouse? Not a problem! If you have a pergola or arbor you can move orchid collection there in the summer. However, whether you are growing in a greenhouse or not, you need to install shade cloth because orchid is a shade loving plant.
So, what is the best shade cloth for orchids?
Generally, a 70% silver shade cloth is the best for orchids. The second best option would be a white shade cloth because it reduces sunlight but lets all light spectrum into greenhouse. If you can’t get a hold of silver or white shade cloths, you can use 75% green color cloth.
The amount of light orchid needs depends on its type. For example, Vanda orchid requires very high light. The percentage of shade cloth for orchids also depends on your location and elevation of the place.
What % shade cloth to use for orchids?
Shade cloth percentage % is the density of knitted or woven shade cloth that shows how much sunlight is blocked by this cloth. You can choose from a variety of densities: 30%, 55%, 63%, 75%, 80% and 90%. 30% shade cloth is suitable for growing vegetables.
50% shade cloth is good for plants that require partial shade and is widely used for nursery stock, pot plants, caladiums, lettuce and other plants. However, orchids are shade loving plants which need 75-80% shade cloth to provide dense shading.
As mentioned earlier, an important factor in choosing right shade cloth % is the area where you live. For example, the northern regions of Australia have higher temperatures in summer than southern areas. So people growing orchids in the northern Australia regions like North Queensland and the Northern Territory need to choose shade cloth of higher density (75-80%).
Also, you need to keep in mind the type of orchid that you are growing. Orchids can be warm, intermediate and cool growing. For example, Vanda orchid is native to a tropical Philippine rain forest and, therefore, needs very high light.
Other light loving orchids are Cattleya, Dendrobium and Oncidiums. Some Paphs also need high light. So, if you are growing these types of orchids or, for example, a mix of Cattleyas and Vandas you need to use a 50% or sometimes even 30% shade cloth depending on your location and how hot it gets.
Shade-loving orchids grow under trees or on forest floors in nature and receive limited light. These orchids are Macodes, Paphiopedilums, Phalaenopsis and Bulbophyllum. They prefer 30 to 60% light for about 4 – 6 hours a day. To achieve this light intensity growers can use 75-80% green color cloth or lay 2-3 layers of 30% shade cloth.
Not sure how to install a shade cloth or how to clean it? Click here to learn everything about the shade cloth!
What color shade cloth is best for orchids?
Shade loving plants like orchids benefit from growing in shade. For example, you might notice the difference in leaves shape – they tend to be bigger. Moreover, plant grows taller and has more nodes. The basic principle is that dark color shade cloth absorbs sun’s heat and light color shade cloth reflects sun’s heat.
So, the best shade cloth color for orchids is silver Aluminet shade cloth because it scatters the most of the light but does not alter the full spectrum of the light. The second best option is white shade cloth because it also reduces quantity of light and doesn’t alter the light spectrum.
You can find more information on the best shade cloth color in this article. After you read the article, you will understand that red or blue shade cloth colors can benefit specific plants at different stages by filtering different wavelengths of light.
There was a research conducted on light spectrum management using colored nets to control the growth and blooming of moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) which are low light orchids. The researchers were studying how different color shade cloth affects moth orchid flowering and biomass production stages.
The use of red shade cloth resulted in higher number of flowers than grown under blue or black shade cloth. However, more and larger leaves as well as roots were produced when moth orchids were grown under the blue shade cloth than the red and black shade cloths.
Although using different color shade cloths during maturing or flowering stages is beneficial, it might not be practical to invest into different cloths of different densities just to grow a couple of orchids. If you want to provide a balance of cool and warm light, consider installing grow lights.
I put together a blog post about the greenhouse lighting requirements. You can find information on how much light does a greenhouse need and what kind of grow lights are there. I would personally consider LED lights because they maximize blue and red lights.
Hope that you found this blog post useful and if you know someone who can benefit from it, share it with them! If you have any questions about growing orchids in a greenhouse or what shade cloth to use, please leave the comment down below or reach out by competing this contact form.