Resting orchids at Christmas

After a busy term it will be nice to have a little rest over Christmas and of course some of our orchids are having a rest at this time of year too. We are asked a lot of questions about resting orchids so here are some answers.

Resting means a period when a plant does little growing and is often a precursor to flowering. The Vanda ampulacea in the photo above is a plant we have seen growing in the warm valleys of Sikkim where it gets warm wet summers and cooler dry winters. We replicate this habitat by growing the species in Warm Asia during the summer (minimum 17C) and then moving plants to Cool Asia (min 10C) for December and January. Plants are hung high in the roof where they will get good light and almost no water (perhaps a quick spray once a fortnight). Root tips stop growing and plants do nothing untill moved back into Warm Asia where the temperature rise initiates flowers and growth starts again.

 The same plant flowering in April.

We do the same with Dendrobium densiflorum which grows just a little higher up the mountains in Sikkim.


Resting now and flowering in the late spring.

With some of our resting plants we keep the temperature the same but sign ificantly reduce watering. In some cases the plants are deciduous such as Thunias.

And others such as Odontoglossum pendulum keep their leaves.

We put both species on top of our control boxes – a good place to guarantee no watering.

With all our species the guide as to rest or not to rest comes from the natural habitat of each species. We have been fortunate to visit lots of tropical habitats but of course their is lots of good information available. Enjoy your rest and if you want to know more about how we grow our plants then please check out our Orchid Culture tab.


Join the Discussion


  1. Agnes Jones says:

    Does Dendrobium fimbriatum need to be rested like dendrobium densiflorum?

    I have a Liparis Stricklandiana which I bought from Burnham about six months ago. It had no care instructions with it, only a hand written label. I have been keeping it in my bathroom away from direct sunlight. I think my bathroom may get too cold as it is below 10C in there. Do know what my Liparis needs?

    • Simon Pugh-Jones says:

      Yes – it comes from a similar habitat but a lower altitude so not as cool – just ease up on watering over the winter without letting the bulbs shrivel.