Humidity and Air Circulation

Most orchids like good air circulation and reasonable humidity. They like conditions not unlike those you would like. So I give it to them, because the people in the environment tend to welcome those same things.

Because we don’t air condition our home to really cool temperatures in the summer (we prefer low 80s), the air in our house does not tend to get overly dry in the summertime. And because we have a rather large family (three of our seven children still live at home), people are coming and going regularly so doors are constantly opened and closed. That means the air in our house tends to have the higher humidity of outside air in our Kentucky summers, in the 50% – 70% range. That’s a humidity level that my orchids seem to enjoy.

In the winter, we have to work a little at keeping humidity up. Cold air cannot hold as much moisture as warm air. So the cold air that invariably gets into homes only to be heated, tends to be even drier. If you don’t add humidity to the air in the winter, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Cracked, dry skin. Chapped lips. And, while you may not notice it, really dry air isn’t good for wood furniture or decorations such as oil paintings. So in the winter, we add humidity to the air. We enjoy it and so do my orchids.

So I run humidifiers in a number of places in the house all winter, with the largest in the family room where my orchids are kept.

In addition to adding the humidity, I keep air circulating. That’s good for people as well as orchids as well. There’s a ceiling fan in the family room that is run all year. It is set to push air upwards in the winter so that there is no breeze created below (for the comfort of the humans in the room during the winter, when the air is chilliest). It circulates the air gently, moving the warmer air from the ceiling down and mixing with with the rest of the room air. This also tends to lower heating bills by keeping the warm area moved down from the ceilings where it congregates. But it also provides gentle air circulation all winter.

The ceiling fan blades are reversed in the summer and the air circulation is aimed downwards where it creates a gentle breeze and more aggressively circulates the air.

In addition to the ceiling fan, I also run a floor fan in the “orchid room” all summer. This even more aggressively moves air. It is deliberately pointed in a direction where it’s not causing an immediate or harsh breeze across any of the individual plants, but keeps the air actually moving all summer. The orchids love the air circulation and it’s not bad for the humans in the room either!

Keeping air circulating all year and keeping the air from becoming overly dry in the winter will contribute to an atmosphere that’s ideal for humans and your orchids as well!