The following focuses on plant habitats, and in particular how they affect orchid culture in this country. One facet of natural habitats for most of the orchids grown in this country is significantly different from the conditions naturally experienced here, and this will be highlighted, together with other significant aspects.

HABITAT 1 
TROPICAL LOWLAND RAINFOREST HABITAT

Summary and culture

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In the study of habitats completed by G.F.S. Pabst and F. Dungs in Orchidaceae Braziliensis they have indicated the representative temperature range for this habitat is 23 to 35oC. with a typical maximum range during the year of 17 to 40oC. Humidity is typically within the range of 65 to 90%, with the diurnal temperature variation of 15oC. being normal. The maximum temperature differential is 23oC.

From the cultural perspective, this habitat produces plants generally classified as requiring warm or intermediate temperatures. Humidity should be maintained at a high level all year, with comparatively constant environmental conditions.

At the equator the widespread flowering trigger of day length is often not applicable, as there is little day length variation throughout the year in equatorial regions. It is often the variation in rainfall that is the factor initiating flowering, and the particular rainfall pattern relevant to a particular species can be of assistance where flowering difficulties are experienced.   If water can be withhold for a period during the plants natural habitat  dryer period this will often stimulate flowering of such plants.

To repeat an earlier comment, the fact that plants from this habitat often do not receive full sun much of the year is something we must consider, especially with the generally strong natural light conditions normally experienced in New Zealand. Remember, however, that plants generally flower better in bright conditions and the control of temperatures and maintenance of higher humidity levels and good air movement will facilitate success.

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Site established 9th May 1998