The amount of light an orchid requires depends upon where it grows in the wild. Some orchids grow in strong sunlight in exposed situations such as on rocks, cliffs, mountains or high up in the forest tree canopies.
Examples of light-lovers include the popular genera Cattleya, Dendrobium, Vanda and Laelia. Such plants do best in the greenhouse or conservatory but other light-loving genera such as Cymbidium prefer to be grown bright but cool and so do best outside in the summer.
Then there are those which flourish under low light conditions and for which a room in the home is ideal. Low light growing orchids include such genera as Phalaenopsis, Paphiopedilum and Masdevallia. It is worthwhile underscoring that many orchids will grow better in the home than under glass because the diurnal temperature fluctuations are less traumatic. Always remember that strong direct sunshine will scorch any orchid leaves particularly early in the season when they are still accustomed to the winter darkness. The obvious approach then is to gradually expose to increasing light using a shading material. During the winter in Ireland both light and shade loving orchids should be grown in the brightest position possible which is often essential to initiate flower spikes.
The most common reason for orchids not re-flowering is lack of light during the shorter days. If you want to check out the light requirements for a particular orchid that you are thinking of acquiring we recommend that you consult Jay Pfahl’s excellent online internet orchid encyclopaedia.
Avoid placing your orchids in strong direct sunlight as you may end up with scorch marks on the leaves.
In winter always place your orchids in the brightest possible position.