Solar’s Orchid Greenhouse

Orchid Greenhouse

January 2014

This is a Vanda Orchid in bloom. It grows year round inside a tropical greenhouse. The temperature is around 70 degrees during the day and 60 at night.  Vandas like high humidity and the greenhouse’s levels are around 50. Heating and cooling keep the plant happy, along with average light levels.

 Stanhope Orchids

December 2013

This is a stanhope orchid, var. hookeri. The orchid grows inside a heated and cooled greenhouse in Pennsylvania.  Shown in this photograph are new emerging leaves.  The orchid likes moderate light levels, high humidity, 75 degrees during the day, and 10 degrees cooler at night. Unlike regular orchids that bloom upright, the stanhopea orchids bloom upside down.  Their flowers push through the bottom of hanging baskets.

October 2013

Begonias are easily propagated to form new plants: simply snap off a healthy looking branch on an existing begonia plant.  The branch needs to be tall enough to sit above a 4″ flower pot, yet not knock it over because of too much height. Then, remove all but the top leaves of the branch, place the stem into a vase with water, and wait for roots to appear.  Fresh water should be given each week and shortly roots will develop. At this point, the stem can be planted into soil, and the new plant will grow.

August 2013

Miniature orchids are so tiny, they are often overlooked in a greenhouse.  The larger plants overshadow the smaller ones, taking away light and water.  By placing the orchids on a trellis meant for a vining plants, the plants find a better position in the greenhouse.  Bark mounted orchids easily attach to the trellis and receive better light and water.

June 2013

These orchids are growing on a gravel bench (which Solar Innovations, Inc. manufactures). This greenhouse bench is specifically designed for high humidity plants such as orchids and other tropical flowers. Plants of this type require humidity levels greater than 50% to thrive. The plants are placed atop a bed of gravel, water is added to the tray, and as the water evaporates around the plant, it receives humidity.

Orchid Greenhouse Gravel Bench
June 2013 Orchids

June 2013

This striking white Laelia orchid is currently blooming in the Solar Innovations, Inc. greenhouse. This orchid has been growing for three years, and this is the first time it has bloomed. The temperature inside the greenhouse is around 75 degrees with 40% humidity and plenty bright light.

April 2013

The photograph above is showing a Vanda orchid that is growing inside plastic netting. The orchid was dropping leaves, because it was not retaining sufficient water. In order to stop this process, I lined a mesh bag with moss and planted the orchid inside the moss. The plastic bag, was bought with seed potatoes.  Instead of throwing away the bag it was re-purposed into a flower container.

February 2013

Orchid Greenhouse Update

Solar Innovations, Inc. has several greenhouses on display at their manufacturing plant in Pine Grove, PA. Here, customers are able to walk through the greenhouses and see possible uses for the glass rooms.  The guest observes plants growing, different accessories in action, and the various layout patterns.  Our orchid greenhouse is full of blooms right now.  Many botanical gardens across the country are having orchid shows and our greenhouse is showing off phaels, dendrobiums, and specialty breeds.

October 2012

Vanilla Orchid

Solar Innovations, Inc.’s orchid greenhouse is getting ready for the winter months. During summer months the greenhouse has a limited number of blooms.  Over the holidays, the greenhouse opens into an array of orchid blooms.  Throughout the summer the orchids have been steadily growing preparing to set their blooms.  Photographed here is a vanilla orchid.  This orchid will not bloom this year but has been growing at a rapid speed.  In less than a year, it has climbed the entire piece of wood.  The orchid will continue to grow upwards, to 20 or more feet.  Our plan is to grow the orchid up the stucco wall which has veneered rocks that can be gripped.

September 2012

Our orchid greenhouse has a beautiful stanhopea blooming right now.  She opened yesterday and is in full bloom.  This is the first time she bloomed in our greenhouse.  One stem has an astonishing six buds on it.  There is another stem that will open in the next two weeks. The flower is creamy yellow with burgundy spots.

Growing the stanhopea species is fairly easy. It likes to remain moist and needs to be frequently watered, because it is in a basket and quickly dries. Warm temperatures around 80 daytime and 60 night are sufficient for the plant. As it grows new leaves, it needs high levels of humidity or the leaves will shrivel.  Each month it is fertilized and left to grow.  The buds come out the bottom of the hanging basket and give off a sweet smell as they open.

August 2012

Re-potting an Orchid

Orchids are typically slow growers.  They need to be re-potted less often than a regular houseplant.  Various orchid species enjoy a tight container.  In time, each orchid will need a new container.  This is a photograph of an orchid that was purchased at a trade show.  After I removed the plastic container, I was shocked to see how tightly the roots had grown.  There was no potting mix left, and the roots were growing into themselves.  This orchid was promptly re-potted into a much larger container, and the roots were cut apart so they would cease to grow in a round fashion.

Spring 2012

Spring 2012 – Gravel Bench

The orchid greenhouse has many colorful plants blooming at this time of year. The greenhouse is almost in full bloom. Many of the orchids grow on the gravel bench. This is a fixed bench which has a solid bench top with a lip. The top of the bench is filled with gravel and water. This combination provides an excellent humidity source to the plants. As the water evaporates, it surrounds the orchids which require high humidity levels. This bench is filled with water once or twice a week, and the orchids love it.

Orchid Room First Snow

December 2011

December 2011

Solar Innovations, Inc. Vanda Blooms
The orchid greenhouse is in active growth right now. There are many orchids with spikes. The first one to bloom is a beautiful vanda. This is a vanda lamellate. It is the first time this orchid has bloomed at our orchid greenhouse. Her bloom is very petite and almost seems fragile. It is a soft cream color with green edges and burgundy streaks. The plant has three blooms, and each one is only about an inch wide and tall. Vandas enjoy high light, in the range of three to four thousand foot candles with warm temperatures around 75-80 degrees.

December Orchid

December 2011

Orchids to Bloom

The orchids in the greenhouse are starting to give spikes. There are currently 35 orchids in this greenhouse and 10 of them are going to bloom. There are several orchids which have never bloomed in the past, and this is cause for great excitement. Other orchids were purchased blooming, and this is the first time for them to bloom in the greenhouse. These orchids will probably take between one to two months to come into full bloom. There is a dendrobium and several phaels that will bloom and whose names have been lost over time. We have a Vanda Lamellata, a Houweara Lava Burst, Little Stars, a Diorites Puckering, and the continual Paphiopedilum, Nike’s Sunny Delight. I am hoping that the orchids will be blooming in the middle of a snowstorm, as this would create the perfect indoor paradise. It is only thanks to the weather tight greenhouse and its heating system that we can grow orchids into the winter months.

Slipper Orchid

December 2011

Slipper Orchid Blooms

One of our newer blooms to the greenhouse is a Paphiopedilum, Nike’s Sunny Delight. The common name is a slipper orchid named for the pouch on the front of the plant which resembles a slipper shape. Most orchids in this genus grow throughout Asia and the Southeast Asian islands such as the Philippines and New Guinea. The plant is a sequential bloomer, meaning that one bloom opens and the next starts, ensuring a long progression of flowers. All blooms come from the same stem, so it cannot be trimmed after the first flower finishes blooming. A strong, healthy plant can bloom continuously for almost a year. This orchid is a medium-light orchid which works perfectly for the shortened daylight hours of winter, roughly 800-1000 foot candles. Water should be supplied in moderation, one time a week will normally suffice. Daytime temperatures should range between 70-80 degrees with temperatures around 60 at night with humidity around 50%.

November 2011

  The Stanhopea Orchid

We have a Stanhopea Orchid blooming in the greenhouse right now. This is truly a unique orchid. The blooms grow out the base of the plant like it is upside down. Each flower has a noticeable strong scent. I personally think the flower smells something like mint chocolate chip ice cream, but that is just me. Other people think the scent smells like strong spices. When I first bought the orchid it was in bloom. The smell overtook my car, and I had to lower the windows as it started to give me a headache. The flower itself looks like an abstract piece of artwork. The blooms are wide for an orchid, around two to three inches. Each spike produces numerous blossoms. The great thing about this orchid is that it loves humidity and water. It does not like to dry out, so it is a good orchid for someone who has a heavy hand at watering. If the plant dries out it will drop the leaves. It also likes bright filtered light.

GH Orchid

September Orchid

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