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The first known references to orchids are found in Eastern literature in the writings of Confucius, a Chinese sage born around 551 B.C., who particularly notes their fragrance. The Chinese word for orchid is ran or lan—a typical quotation from Confucius being, "Ran gives the king's fragrance"—and this word recurs in the works of other poets and philosophers to express the epitome of purity, grace and fragrance.

The ideal daytime humidity for orchids is 50% to 70%. During the summer, when the days are warm and dry, humidity can be increased by placing plants in a shallow dish or tray containing pebbles and water. Be sure to keep the water just below the tops of the pebbles. Never let water touch the bottom of the pot; capillary action will expose the roots to too much water, causing them to deteriorate. To maintain the quality of water in the tray, remove the pebbles every 2 or 3 months and wash them in a weak bleach solution to remove accumulated salts and algae. Do not add bleach or algaecide to water in the tray when it is in use. You can also group your plants together in a single evaporation tray to create a humid microclimate and an attractive display. Just don't place them so close together that air circulation is restricted.

AS A GENERAL RULE: Again, it must be stressed that both temperature and light should be taken into consideration when deciding to increase humidity. Any form of watering, damping down or spraying should not be performed in the late afternoon or evening. Although some growers obtain good results with this method, Beautiful Orchids recommends that beginners avoid the practice. The falling temperatures toward the end of the day can cause unnecessary condensation if highly humid conditions are induced; plants will then become covered with a film of water droplets, which can lead to rotting.

RECOMMENDED BOOKS: Orthos All About Orchids by Elvin McDonald
...................................Orchids by John R. Dunmire and Jack Kramer

A. These near-blooming Masdevallias and Paphiopedilum are enjoying the bright light and high humidity by the kitchen windows. A porcelain humidity tray with black river stones and water just below the top of the pebbles create a healthy environment for the orchids.
B. Using the right orchid pot, like the terra-cotta with matching dish, can help individual orchids receive proper humidity.
C. A humidifier, available in any home improvement store, can increase the humidity by up to 50-60 percent.



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