November To Do List


  • Shorter days and cooler nights in November will slow down the metabolism of your orchids and initiate spikes on Fall/Winter blooming orchids.  Watch them carefully and cut back on water and fertilizer as cooler days and nights prevail. Protect outdoor orchids from winter rains.
  • Bring in cold-sensitive, warm growing orchids to protect them from night temperatures below 50°. 
  • Fall/winter blooming cattleyas and cymbidiums are either in bloom or preparing for blooming. Provide adequate water and fertilizer but do so in the mornings so plants dry out before nightfall. Stake cymbidium spikes to guide inflorescences for support of buds and blooms.
  • Maintain good hygiene practices to minimize transmission of pests and viruses. Watch for fungus and bacterial rot as weather cools and wetter conditions prevail.
  • More details on specific genera can be found on the AOS website

Indoors and Greenhouse

  • Carefully monitor greenhouse temperatures and check that circulating fans, automatic vents, humidifiers and heaters are in good working order. 
  • Continue to provide good air circulation for indoor plants to discourage diseases and pests such as mealy bugs and scale. Be sure to check all edges of the pot and neighboring pots. Pests, especially mealy bugs also can be found on the bottom of pots. Treat early to avoid spreading to other plants. More info on pests and diseases can be found at the AOS website.
  • Cut back on watering and frequency of fertilizing as the days shorten and nights cool down. Avoid over fertilizing to minimize root damage and growth of soft growths. Keep to one half to one fourth the recommended amount on the package.


  • Continue to monitor and control snails, slugs and pests as cooler and wet weather will bring them out. They can do considerable damage to plants in short order.
  • Water early in the day to allow plants to dry before nightfall in order to minimize bacterial and fungal diseases.
  • Cymbidiums should be in spike or bloom so switch from high nitrogen fertilizer to one with higher phosphorus and potassium (Hi Bloom such as 10-30-20) to initiate and stimulate spike production.  Stake spikes early to train them to grow upright while spikes are flexible. See also the AOS website for more information.
  • Catasetums/cycnoches are in their fall blooming period, while Mormodes and Clowesia are getting ready to flower next month.  Continue to give them warm temperatures, high light and fertilize well at each watering until you see them begin their dormant period by the yellowing and dropping of leaves. Cut back on water and fertilizer as suggested by Fred Clarke on his website.
  • To induce your phalaenopsis to re-bloom, subject them to 1-2 weeks of night temps of around 50°, but bring them in when night temps go below 50° as they are quite sensitive to cold.  If you grow them in the house, put them in a cool room or near a window to obtain the lower night temps for spike initiation.  Be sure to stake spikes early to train them to grow upright.


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