ORCHIDERIA 
CULTIVATING ORCHIDS & CRAFTING TERRARIUMS

Orchid Temperatures:
Does Temperature Influence Orchid Blooms?

Finding the correct temperature for growing your orchid is essential for it to bloom. You can water, apply humidity, provide light, and fertilize correctly, but if there's not a temperature fluctuation at night, most orchids will refuse to bloom.

Does temperature influence orchid growth? All orchids need at least a 10º to 15ºF degree temperature drop at night to bloom. This cooling off period at night removes the excess heat from their leaves. This aids in performing adequate gas exchange, since orchids perform their main “breathing” process at night.
artificial light requirements for orchids
Image Credit: "IMG_7076" by rsteele38 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
During winter, do you run the heater during day and night, too?

If you grow your orchid in the same environment year-round, with no variation of temperature, the first signs you’ll see are of heat stress. 
Heat stress occurs when the orchid shuts down its gas exchange (stomata) pores to preserve humidity. It does this because it’s too hot, and will lose humidity if stomata are opened.

Turn off the heater at night. Besides saving in energy costs, your orchids will appreciate the drop in temperature.

Orchids have temperature preferences, too. Not all orchids like to live in the same climate or habitat. When you bring an orchid indoors, you’ll need to recreate their primordial habitat within your home. Imagine if you place a cool-temperature orchid next to a warm-one and give both the same treatment.

One, or both, will have a hard time growing. That’s why it’s fundamental to understand the different types of orchids and how they react to each temperature.

Nighttime temperatures that are too low will produce blackened tips on the leaves. Flowers will wilt.

Tip: Don’t mistake these with the normal aging of leaves, which occur naturally. When leaves die off, the start to blacken at the tips. But temperatures that are out of control will also cause blackened leaf tips.

There are three distinct categories for temperatures: cool, intermediate, and warm-growing orchids.

  • Cool orchids tolerate temperature of 50ºF (10ºC) during winter. During the summer, the maximum should be 75ºF (24ºF).
  • Intermediate orchids prefer 55º to 86ºF (13º to 30º C).
  • Warm growing orchids range from 64º to 90º F (18º to 32º C.)

Is temperature the only difference?

One misconception is that the orchids that thrive in these three distinct temperature categories are naturally from locations that have the same temperature. Even though this is an understandable mistake, it’s not the temperature that influences as much as the elevation.

Cool-growing Orchids

Cool-growing orchids are found mostly in higher elevations. Elevation doesn’t necessarily mean in feet (or meters), either. Sometimes, you can observe cooler growing orchids higher up on trees, and not lower. But mostly, they grow in higher elevations compared to the other two categories.
cymbidium
Image Credit: "Cymbidium Flower"
by jay.37 is licensed under CC0 1.0
These orchids include:
Cymbidium,
Coelogyne,
and
 Odontoglossom.

Intermediate-growing Orchids

In nature, the intermediate-temperature orchids can be found in an altitude that ranges from 1,000 to 3,000 feet. Of course, this does depend on how far away from the equator you are, too. The majority of the orchids that can be grown indoors come from the intermediate category.
Aerangis
Cattleyas
Cymbidium
Epidendrum
Maxillaria
Paphiopedilum.
epidendrum
Image Credit: "Epidendrum Orchid"
by pirate_renee is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Warm-growing orchids

The last group, the warm-temperature orchids, coincide with lower elevation orchids. They are naturally gown closer to the tropics and the equator. Therefore, they thrive on high-light, direct sun, high humidity and...are extremely difficult to grow indoors. If you live in southern Florida or the Gulf States, you’ll have more success growing these outside.

Indoors, these warm-growing orchids are extremely difficult, near to impossible to grow, unless you want mold on your walls and indoor light system that recreates our sun.

The one exception is the most famous orchid, the Phalaenopsis.

It is a higher-temperature orchid, not to mistake it with a higher light orchid. These are two separate categories.

Vandas are also included in this category. The picture on the left is a vanda orchid.
vanda
Image Credit: "Kruidtuin, Leuven, Belgium"
by Jungle Garden is licensed under CC BY 2.0

What if an orchid gets exposed to higher or lower temperatures?

This open-ended question has a lot of what-ifs to answer. Usually, if the orchid is exposed to a colder temperature, like from the greenhouse to your home in the back seat of a car, bud blast an occur. (Read this article for more information on bud blast.) The leaves can wrinkle, curling up on themselves. These are reversible situations and can be avoided in the future.

If you purchase an intermediate-growing orchid, and constantly kept it a sub-par temperature, mold will start to grow on the crown and leaves.

But if the orchid is exposed to year long exposure of temperatures that are sub-par, they probably won’t blossom. Smaller pseudobulbs will grow compared to last years. Leaves can dry up and fall off prematurely. Flowers wilt. The growing period will take longer, and new roots and flower spikes will take forever to appear.

Insufficient lighting is the number one reason orchids won’t bloom, but the second is too low of temperatures.
If you don't have one already, a thermometer with a humidity gauge is essential for orchid care. They are rather cheap, like the one I have (Affiliate Link) cost around 12 US$.

Minimum
At Night
Maximum During Day
Species of Orchids
Cool
50º F     (10º C)
75º F    (24º F)
Cymbidium
Coelogyne
Odontoglossom
Intermediate
55º F     (13º C)
86º F    (30º C)
Aerangis
Cattleyas
Cymbidium
Epidendrum
Maxillaria
Paphiopedilum
Warm
64º F     (18º C)
90º F    (32º C)
Angraecum
Dendrobium
Phalaenopsis
Vanda
If you observe the graph above, you might be thinking, “But my Cattleyas grow in 100ºF weather during summer.” When literature refers to orchid temperature, they always record the highs and lows as observed during the winter months.

Summer is not accounted for.

Why is this? During summer months, temperatures will naturally be higher, but won’t hinder growth if you’re a bit outside the natural preference zone. As long as you don’t overheat or provide too much sunlight, causing sun damage, there will not be much to notice.

It’s during winter that the temperature has more direct effect on the growth of an orchid, and can hinder blooming. This isn’t to say that if you have a cool-growing orchid and force it to grow in hotter conditions, it probably won’t blossom.

Temperature Fluctuations Night/Day and Seasonal

Not only do orchids need a fluctuation in temperature during the days/nights, they also need a distinction between seasons. You’ll see this more when you purchase winter blooming versus summer blooming orchids.

Seasonal distinctions are extremely important to orchids, as other houseplants, too. During winter, there will be a shortage of natural nutrient supply, so you’ll need to water less.

Fertilize less, too.

The days will be shorter and darker, so you can turn down your artificial lights to around 12-14 hours a day, instead of 14-16 hours.
orchid bee polinator
Image Credit: "Green Orchid Bee (Euglossa dilemma)"
by bob in swamp is licensed under CC BY 2.0
And…

There will be less pollinators in the environment to justify blooming.

This is crucial.

A flower only blooms to propagate its species, and if they attract a certain type of pollinator, that only comes in winter or summer, why waste the energy to bloom out of those seasons?
This is why each orchid species has a different blooming period: some bloom in summer, other spring, others winter… The upside is that you can have orchids in bloom year-round in your house if you choose the right ones to make your collection. Phalaenopsis bloom year round.

Think back to the natural habitat of the orchid. There aren’t such distinct summer/winter changes, in terms of temperature. Most subtropical and tropical orchids live in a constant temperature year-round, only fluctuating during the day and night.

During the day, no matter summer or winter, the orchid needs to be in a warm place. Indoor orchids do well because temperature fluctuate less and are easier to control.
Orchid Fertilization
Don't Stop Learning!
If this article has been useful so far and you want more information about orchid care, please subscribe to my newsletter. You'll get a 14-page fertilization guide to download as a gift.
GET THE FERTILIZATION GUIDE & SUBSCRIBE

How to maintain temperatures

Let’s say you went to an orchid greenhouse and came home with a Cattleya and a Phalaenopsis. Knowing that these are in two separate groups (according to temperature), you’ll know that placing them side by side on the same shelf won’t be the best solution.

To have more success at growing orchids, you can set them up depending on their temperatures, each in a different corner of your house. Use the windows and natural sunlight, and group orchids together by their temperatures.

A good suggestion is keeping the cooler orchid in the bedroom, warmer orchids in the kitchen, and intermediate orchids in the living room. Of course, this is a wild suggestion, but you get the idea. Grouping them together provides humidity, but also is easier to control variant temperatures and lighting.

This way it is easiest to display your orchids without having a proper greenhouse, orchid room, or making your house transform into a live jungle.
Too much information to memorize?

Download this 1-page PDF reference of what you learned on this article and other important information about artificial lights, which you can read here.


If you are interested in the artificial lights that I use, you can see them here (Affiliate Link) but read the article above first. My growing conditions are not the same as everyone else's.
Orchid temperature PDF
This free download is for your enjoyment only.
Please do not publish or share it without mentioning Orchideria. Thank you! 
Now that you know how to care for your orchids according to their temperatures, drop us a comment below on anything that wasn't touched upon in the article or if you have a question or comment.

If anything, drop us a note below to say if you enjoyed the article and ways we could better help you care for your orchid.

Happy Cultivating!
Signature Amanda Matthews
 MY 2nd BOOK IN ORCHID CARE IS HERE!
orchid journey notebook
 Orchid Journey NOTEBOOK is an orchid tracker and planner for up to 100 orchids. This notebook is a journal that helps you write down your  observations are care.

Click this link for more information, and see how it's different from my first book, Orchid Journey.
Not sure what to read next?
Check out our previous post:
Not quite  what you wanted?
How about this one:
Click here to see a listing of all the articles on Orchideria. 

2 comments on “Orchid Temperatures: Does Temperature Influence Orchid Blooms?”

  1. I am a beginner orchid grower (Phalaenopsis) and my orchids are on the screened porch in South Carolina. The temperatures are great now but when it gets above 95 degrees F should I take them inside? We also have high humidity here when it gets that hot. Thank you

    1. Hi Pauline,

      Phalaenopsis grow better at 90F so the 5 F above wouldn't be such a dramatic change. The temperature ranges are more like "ideal conditions" but some growers can extend those above or below and still have perfect blooms. My main concern would be the drop at night. How cool would it get? Is there a drop at night or does it stay warm at night too? With the humidity that high it might be hard. Try a few out on the porch (the ones you're less attached to) and experiment. If they do well, take a few more out. I know its not the most technical answer, but it works. 🙂

      -Amanda

Orchideria Logo Image
Not the article you were looking for? Try searching for something else or go back to the first page with all the articles.
ABOUT ME 
Indoor Orchids
Hi, there! I'm Amanda Matthews.

I write all the tutorials on Orchideria so unfortunately, I can't blame anyone else for all the spelling mistakes.   :)

By profession, I'm a theologian, author, and seminary professor, yet I  spend my free time enjoying nature hikes, building terrariums, and cultivating orchids. I also love to mountain bike on trails, dance, and play with my dog, Max.

When I'm not working on the next chapter of my book or online course, I'm exploring a new campsite to venture out into nature. Pitching a tent for the weekend with my two children while I fire up a barbecue is the best way to live.

Click here to go to my Author Page to check out my heart-wrenching memoir.

Share, but give due credit

© Orchideria 2019-2021

Plagiarism is a crime. We've worked hard to make these articles, research the information, and keep our site free, without charging memberships.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without  written permission from Amanda Matthews (the author) is strictly prohibited.

Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Orchideria with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
A Word About Affiliate Marketing

Orchideria.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies, with no extra cost to you.

You can read more about how that works on this page.
Donations
This site is free, but if you'd like to support me and donate, I'd appreciate it. This page will explain more about donations.  I appreciate all your help and your support. Thank you!
orchid journey notebook
Notebook & Tracker
If you want a journal, check out this orchid tracker.  Check out this page for more information.
Popular Posts
These are some of the popular posts on the site. To see a list of all the articles, click the LEARN button at the top of each page.
orchid Tracker Excel Sheet
Free Excel Spreadsheet
If you want an orchid tracker as an Excel Spreadsheet, you can download this one that I made for free! Click here to go to the instruction page.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Orchideria Logo Image 2

Follow Orchideria:

3363 SW Chelsea Circle
Topeka, KS 66614

(913) 940-0605
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram