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 4. 
HIGH ALTITUDE TROPICAL 
or 
HIGH LATITUDE HABITAT

Temperature and altitude relationship

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From the tropical areas, as one travels to higher latitude localities, cooler temperate areas will be reached, and New Zealand lies in such an area Epiphytes are generally found here to a limited extent only as the cooler conditions are not conducive to their growth. There are, however, many terrestrial orchids able to thrive under such conditions.

ChartObject TEMPERATURE ALTITUDE/LATITUDE RELATIONSHIP

With respect to this habitat, both the ALTITUDE and the LATITUDE and the environment influences its character. Gilbert, in his book “The Charm of Growing Orchids” has quantified this relationship, and the chart shown above illustrates this. If you know the altitude a plant comes from, and the latitude of the country concerned, you can quickly gain an approximation of the temperature conditions likely to be applicable for that plant.

The typical climatic factors applicable to this habitat are a typical temperature range of 0-25oC. although the normal range is 5-18oC. The diurnal range is 15oC. Humidity normally falls between 25-55%, the lowest average of all habitats.

Plants cultivated from this habitat require cool conditions all year, with humidity between 25-55%. Relatively constant conditions are required, with good air movement. Winters are brighter, and summers will be shaded.

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