The  picture below is of my large monkey pod tree which is a  great orchid host
tree with good bark.  I live 5 blocks from the ocean about 45 feet elevation in an
outlying sub division of Hilo, Hawaii (Big Island).  Temperatures in the summer
getting close to 90 degrees.  Sometimes we have no rain for several weeks in
the summer months.  When it doesn't rain for a week or two,  I spritz the orchids
with a misting nozzle which disburses the water, I water them until I see the
roots turn green as this is the time they can absorb the water.  In the middle of
the above picture, is my Dendrobium smiliae which I used to grow in my
greenhouse where temperatures in the summer months can go up to 94
degrees.  This Dendrobium did not like it in the greenhouse and I mounted it on
the tree and it has been happy ever since and grew to a specimen size in a
short time.
These catleyas grow on an Australian tree fern
tree in front of my home on the Big Island, Hawaii.  
This year they bloomed with 6 blossoms without
ever having been fertilized.  So I am beginning to
be convinced that orchids do not need all that
fertilizer we generally give them in the
greenhouse from 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per gallon of
water.  Maybe that is necessary for commercial
growers to get their crops growing faster.
Observing them grow on trees for years, my
experience has been that they bloom very well
without fertilizing them.  Of course, if there is
heavy rain it can
destroy the blossoms.
  
Growing
Orchids
outdoors
Growing
Orchids
outdoors
These stunning  orchids, Blc (Rlc) White Diamond and Stanhopea are grown at 1200 foot elevation at Shogun
Hawaii Nursery
(Matthias Seelis)at Hawaiian Acres subdivision. The Stanhopea florida has been blooming every
year around mid October and is very fragrant.
 These orchids have  never been fertilized nor watered as the
rainfall
in that location seems to be sufficient .  

Growing cattleyas on an Avocado tree

My interest in orchids is more as a photographer than a grower however I do grow a
few of my own orchids as an ongoing display out in the back of my house. I prefer to
photograph orchids in a rather natural as possible setting hence growing them on
trees and not in a greenhouse environment.
I have chosen to grow orchids partly because I consider them to be one of the most
photogenic of all plants and also here in Hilo,Hawaii they are very easy to grow and
require very little maintenance.
The featured orchids are growing on an Avocado tree in my back yard. Essentially
what I did with them is mounting them on the tree and let them grow freely. Dry
spells are rare here in Hilo, Hawaii where the average rainfall is about ten feet a year
however they do happen ever so often and then I do water them accordingly. My
house sits 280 ft. above sea level. This altitude and the amount of sun, heat ,
humidity and rain seems to be just about right for all of the Cattleya alliance.
Now this is how you grow a Cattleya outside and you can clearly
see how happy and content this plant is! Look at the roots going into
all directions looking for water, great picture!
                                                                                                                                                                                                            
           





Chris lives in Tampa, Florida actually outside of the city in the county so the setting is relatively rural.  He has no shelter
or greenhouse for his orchids.  Almost all of them are hanging and swinging in the breeze under a huge 45+ year old oak
tree in the back yard.  Florida is a good climate for growing so many species of orchid due to the very warm and very
humid atmosphere.  On average they have one freeze a year always in January.  On those nights, he moves all of the
orchids and some other plants into protected places such as the tool shed, utility room and/or into his house.

Because almost all of his orchids hang suspended from the oak tree, close attention to watering is more important than
one may think considering the annual rainfall. They get a lot of rain in Florida since he is in a sub tropical zone however
Florida does have its dry months both in summer and winter.  Summer dry months are the most critical for watering,
making sure the plants do not go into distress due to dehydration.  Hanging orchids will dry out faster than orchids on
the ground in pots such as the Nuns Orchid.  Watering is easy enough, he just turn the garden hose on the plants,
watering done.

As for feeding orchids, frankly he rarely feeds them . In spite of that they flourish.

HIS collection is relatively small comprising Phalaenopsis', Laelia anceps and purparata, Encyclias, Oncidiums, Nunns,
Dendrobiums, Cattleyas, Paphiopedilums, Cymbidiums including a cool growing one brought from Oakland, California, one
Bulboyphyllum, and one Dgmra.

Best of Growing
Chris Sheffield, Tampa, Florida
CCCattleya Skinneri
Cattleya skinneri (white)