Dear Docs - June 17
I need help with my orchids; the sun is turning them yellow. Can I put some greenhouse material over them until this heat has passed?
— J Hop
Dear J Hop:
If you place the mesh over the orchids and then remove it when the heat has passed, you will have another problem, as they will have got accustomed to too much shade. What I have done in the past is to spread a few palm leaves over them, just enough to take off a little of the direct sun. Please use one teaspoon of epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) each week on the orchids in a lot of sun; it will help to put back some of the green. Do not spray in the heat as that will result in burning.
I am always fascinated by the vibrant colours of the orchids you display. I live in Portmore, which is very dry and hot. What kinds of orchids can withstand those conditions? The sun sets on my carport.
Assuming that you would like to put the orchids at the front of your house where the sun sets, that area would be exposed to direct sunlight from about noon onward, when the sun is at its height. I suggest you plant a few palm trees along the driveway before you start with the orchids. I recommend you start with the semi-terete (sun vandas) and mokaras orchids.
Betty Ashley is an avid orchid enthusiast who has spent decades successfully cultivating orchids for herself as well as for orchid lovers across the island, earning herself the title 'Orchid Doc'. Send your orchid questions and/or concerns to: firstname.lastname@example.org.