Can Orchids Survive Winter Outside?

Orchids are tropical plants that are fond of summertime. Have you ever considered whether it's possible to leave your orchid outside in winter? As the seasons change, you must adjust how you take care of your orchids. We've researched this topic and have discovered the most satisfactory answers to these queries.

The majority of orchid species can survive winter outside. Orchids can flourish in a wide range of climatic conditions. Choosing cold-tolerant orchids, understanding when to water them, and shielding them from frost damage are the keys to the health of your outdoor orchids.

Winter orchid maintenance is essential for their proper growth. You can get healthy and gorgeous blooms in the spring by making minor tweaks to your winter orchid care routine. Continue reading to learn more about taking care of orchids outside.

close up photo of a purple orchids on the garden of flowers white colored and purple colored petals, Can Orchids Survive Winter Outside?

Orchids During Winter

Because there are more than 1,000 genera in the Orchidaceae family, gardeners have a vast selection of orchids to choose from. Orchids are indigenous to so many different parts of the world. Thus, they can thrive in a wide range of climatic circumstances.

These climatic fluctuations have a significant impact on the growth and development of your orchid. There are various considerations and information to learn when you want to grow orchids in your home:

Type of Orchids

Terrestrial orchids have better temperature tolerance than tropical orchids when choosing orchids to grow outside.

Because of this, terrestrial orchids are excellent candidates for developing on the ground outside.


Some orchids, particularly terrestrial orchids and hybrid cymbidiums, prefer the cold, even though most prefer temperatures between 50F and 80F

A four to six weeks of nights with 10 to 15 degrees below daytime temperatures are necessary for many orchids, including Cymbidiums, to bloom.

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While some species may withstand brief periods of near-freezing temperatures, others are usually killed by colder temperatures. Different orchid species, however, will have a range of acceptable temperatures.

The ability of an orchid to adapt to cold stress is known as cold hardiness. It is influenced by the plant's genetic makeup and manifested in how it reacts to specific environmental factors.

In chilly winter areas, when temperatures frequently drop below freezing, you might not be able to leave your orchids outdoors.

Protecting Orchids

Leaving orchids outside typically poses no issues if your winters are mild. Choosing cold-tolerant orchids, understanding when to water them, and shielding them from frost damage are the keys to the health of your outdoor orchids.

You don't need to bother about extra protection when temperatures drop below 30 degrees Fahrenheit because the majority are frost-hardy. As long as frost doesn't exist on the leaves, it won't harm the majority of orchids.

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What Happens If An Orchid Is Exposed To Cold Weather

close up photo of a dark purple and white petal orchid flower on the garden outside the house

When water collects on orchid leaves and freezes due to the freezing temperatures, frost forms. The formation of frost typically causes the worst cold damage to orchids.

General cold damage symptoms include discoloration, bacterial infection, accelerated natural death rate, and limited growth. If water has a chance to permeate tissue, it may quicken the process of death, resulting in wilting and browning.

Damage brought on by low temperatures above freezing is known as chill injury. Numerous chilling-injury symptoms are similar to those of other stresses, such as rot diseases of the roots and water scarcity.

Damage brought on by temperatures below freezing is known as freeze injury. If the air temperature falls below freezing, dew forming on leaf surfaces freezes, resulting in frost damage.

Desiccation of foliage, water-soaked patches that develop into necrotic spots on leaves, and the death of individual plant parts are all signs of freezing damage. Even though your orchid is still alive, rot could still result from water seeping in.

A severe vulnerability to bacteria and fungi might result from untreated decay.

Necrotic patches, commonly known as black dots on leaves and pitted depressions, denote leaf parts that have died through exposure to cold.

Not during the cold snap but a few days following exposure to shallow temperatures, cold injury symptoms typically manifest.

How Do You Take Care Of Orchids In The Wintertime?

While the care guidelines for your orchids change from season to season, in the winter, you need to reorganize them based on their needs. Here are the recommendations for caring for your orchid during the winter to keep it healthy:

1. Choose the Right Kinds of Orchids

Before winter approaches, note which orchids in your collection detest the cold. Seed and immature plants are typically more sensitive to cold temperatures than mature plants. 

2. Water 

photo of a woman hands spraying the orchids flowers using plastic bottle water spray

When some tropical plants are in low humidity, it can cause significant water loss through transpiration. If the cold exposure has affected water absorption, either momentarily or permanently, extreme water stress may ensue.

When you keep your orchids outdoors during the winter, careful watering might help them escape frost damage. Make sure to water your orchids first thing in the morning so they may have the time to dry before nighttime. Also, Avoid using cold water when watering.

Avoid watering your orchids on the day of or even the days before you anticipate freezing temperatures. Your orchid will fare better in a frost if it is dry and contains less moisture inside its cells.

When orchid roots are left in water or moist soil, they rot and die quickly. Water orchids as necessary, ensuring that any extra water runs off the soil. Make sure to use a highly well-drained soil rich in organic matter, such as sphagnum moss.

3. Adequate Sunlight

photo of an orchids plants and flowers on a cute flower pot on the window inside the house

Ensuring your orchid receives adequate light during the shorter winter days will help it live longer. Due to the abundant sunshine that orchids need, the ideal locations for orchids in the home are frequently near windows.

To let light into the room throughout the day, ensure the blinds are open. Closing the curtains at night will help reduce the cold air from the windows if the orchids are close to them. 

Light is typically the main issue when your orchids are indoors for the winter. Orchids can receive enough light outside of a proper greenhouse in the winter.

More shade may also reduce heat or water stress during the healing process from freezing.

4. Placement

photo of a pink colored petal orchid flowers on a tiny white pot beside the window of the house

The best approach to guard against cold orchid damage is to bring container-grown orchids inside for the winter. This is merely some temporary protection till the cold passes. But you may also take precautions when your orchids are outside.

In an emergency, you should always have boxes, plastic flats, tiny crates, and possibly a wagon or cart ready to transport your orchids swiftly.

Do not assume that your orchids are dead if the worst happens and they suffer cold damage. Keep the plants in a humid location away from the sun's direct rays and extreme heat while allowing the medium to dry.

5. Fertilizers

Growers should look for symptoms and maybe use a preventive fungicide because weak or wounded plants are more vulnerable to disease assault.

Make sure the soil in the pots is moist before adding the fertilizer. This will make it possible for the fertilizer to work.

All orchids respond best to proper nourishment when it comes to cold tolerance. Don't give them too much fertilizer because they don't need as many nutrients as they need in the summer.

Too much nitrogen could promote too soft of development. Sunken areas on leaves and discoloration are indications of damage.

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6. Protection

Consider covering your orchids with a plastic tarp that can insulate and protect them from the elements if an excessive cold is predicted for extended periods. Coverings can also safeguard your orchids against the wind. You may also use burlap, sheets, blankets, towels, and other covers. 

You can make insulating wraps from various materials, such as frost fabric. You can find this breathable and lightweight fabric in most hardware stores.

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What Are The Indications That Your Orchid Needs Water?

Check whether your orchid roots are dry and gray during the winter months. If so, your plant could want additional water. 

Additionally, pay attention to your plant's leaves. It probably requires a little more water if they are wrinkled. Your plant will be in good health when its roots become green and swell.

In Closing

close up photo of a purple orchids on the garden of flowers white colored and purple colored petals

Orchid gardening is enjoyable and rewarding. No matter where you reside, save the advice mentioned above to keep your orchids gorgeous and healthy during winter. The health of orchids in the winter depends on proper care. 

When the orchids are damaged due to freezing, controlling the fertilizer, using less water, and keeping them out of direct sunlight can give them time to recover. Before you go, kindly check out these other interesting posts:

17 Indoor Winter Plants That Bloom With Gorgeous Flowers

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