Orchid Case Culture




Orchid Case (Wardian case)

I used to grow phalaenopsis on a gravel tray behind a living-room window. Inspired by readings I decided to design and build a case that would fit in my living room bow window. I wanted to provide a controlled environment that would suit many warm or intermediate species or hybrids and would allow growing some on slab or bark. I was almost immediately rewarded by such a spectacular improvement in growth and flowering that I feel valuable to spend the time sharing my experience and the main characteristics of my design.



Location and orientation:

South midlands, UK.
Southeast facing window with some shade from trees and bushes.


Width =1.10 m, Depth = 0.55 m, Height = 1.30 m

Construction (1996 still in use in 2011)

Plywood, 2 mm acrylic sheet, pond liner on the bottom, soil heating cable (90 watts), 12v computer fan inside running continuously, 220v fan outside with thermostat triggered by sunshine.
The sloping front frame can be removed for watering and cleaning.


Between bow window and curtains.
Soil heating cable run during the day in winter.
Winter = 15 oC min at night, 22oC during the day, 25 oC with sunshine.
Summer = 19 oC min at night, 22oC during the day, 30 oC with sunshine.


A 80mm fan is constantly running inside.
The front sloping fame can be left ajar at the top.
An external fan starts when direct sunshine hits strongly the case and blows room air into the case.


Natural light from window. No shading but from plants.


 Average 85% (45% to 95% ). Gravel tray at the bottom. Plants on a wooden lattice and inverted pots.


Once a week with a pressure sprayer.
Rain water collected in a water butt from tiled garage roof (not that clean).
Addition of 6-8 drops of Physan fungicide/bactericide per 2.5 l.
Water is heated to lukewarm if necessary.


Half-strength orchid fertilizer every week but one watering with clear water every so often.

Automatic watering

Every other day, in the morning, a 10-second spray is directed to the slab growing plants.


 A view of the orchid case with the front sloping frame removed.


Jungle-like effect created by some pieces of driftwood and a few airplants (Tillandsia)


 An hybrid phalaenopsis "Sonnentau" from Marcel Lecoufle (France), at home since 1983 (still true in  2011).

Read the story of its pollination and propagation from seed, its offsprings flowering 12 years later!



 SC. Love Hero first flowering.


 Phalaenopsis fasciata (better picture at next flowering)