HEIRLOOM GARDENER

Cool-Climate Orchids

AS THE TERM IMPLIES, cool-growing orchids originate in temperate climates and at high elevations, where they’re frequently cooled by cloud cover, but they also do well in warmer conditions.

One such group of orchids is that of the genus Disa, which grow naturally in the mountainous regions of South Africa’s Western Cape province, in particular on Table Mountain in Cape Town. Here, the plants experience cool winds year-round, with cold rain and occasional snowfalls in winter. Summer temperatures are high, but the plants’ roots are kept cool by fresh mountain streams. Provided they’re protected from frost, they can survive in temperatures of 43 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit without risk of damage.

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