|Tip: The only way to accurately measure light levels is with a light meter. Good light meters are expensive. Borrow one or better yet find a person who has one and knows how to use it. Measure your light on a clear summer day at noon in a place that gets full sun.||
Of all the requirements an orchid has, maybe the toughest to provide in the correct quantities is light. If your house and yard are dark places, it can take a very creative program to brighten it up. You can water more or less, repot differently, or feed more often or a different formula, but what do you do when there is too little light? Without good light you will be perpetually disappointed in the performance of all but a few orchid species.
You probably now own or sometime will own an assortment of different orchid species that require dramatically differing levels of light. The trick is to create or locate differing microclimates within your growing space and learn enough about each plant to locate it properly.
Below are descriptions of what might constitute good light levels for the plants you get from us.
|Most Cattleyas require 3000-4000 foot candles of light for 8-12 hours a day for optimal growth and flowering. Less light may result in what you might think is nicer foliage because it is darker in color, but you will get flowers that are neither as large nor as plentiful as you would in brighter light.|
|Thin leaf types should get 2000-3000 foot candles of light. Thicker leaf types need significantly more.|
|These have the lowest light requirements of all and as a result are often considered the perfect houseplant. Bright indirect light will often be adequate for flowering.|
|I grow most of these in Cattleya light.|
The best choice is to find a place with full sun from dawn to dusk and then shade it to perfect levels. If that is not a possibility then you will have to find the best light you can. Adding more shade is much easier than adding more sun. In my own case the only available growing areas are in close proximity to some large oak trees. I have located my greenhouses as far away and as far to the south of them as possible. Trees to the east or south are the worst; they block the cool morning sun and then you have the full blast of hot afternoon sun.