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Thread: Outdoor shadehouse for lowlanders

  1. #1

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    I am in the process of constructing a 30 sqm shade house for my Nepenthes. These are mainly lowlanders with a few intermediates up to 1500m. Right now I have them under a passionfruit vine cover, which works ok, but can probably be better.
    I know, some people here can not get enough light (used to be like that too) for their Neps, but in the tropical outdoors it is different, unless you live in a swamp.

    Reasons for the shade house:
    1. Provide shade [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]
    2. Block wind
    3. Increase humidity!
    4. Get rid off pests, including some mean huge toads. The ants find the pitchers anyway.

    I remember that Rob has pretty dark shade cloth like 70-80%. I wonder if I should combine different levels like 30% in the front, 50% in the middle and 80% in the end.
    As of now I found only an unrated very coarse shade cloth. People here use it either one, two or three layers.
    Anyone here with some experience or advice?

    Thank y'all!
    http://pitcher-plants.com/bannersmall.jpg Manila, Philippines, Elev: 80 m, 24-33 C

    Tropical outdoor growers: Please visit our Carnivorous Plants in the tropics forum

  2. #2

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    Howdy Leucophylla,
    We are in south Florida and are using 72 percent shade cloth over greenhouse plastic on top, so it might add up to about 77 to 80 percent. There are charts that give percentages of shade when you stack shade cloth: it is not so simple as adding percentages-it works on a logarithmic scale. On the south side of the greenhouse we use a silver mylar 70 percent. This is really good stuff, as it cuts the heat a bit and provides a more diffused light. It is a little more expensive, but lasts longer than the standard black cloth. During the winter, the south side has a layer of clear poly over the mylar stuff. Once temps and relative humidity come back up in late spring, the plastic is removed. We have one zone in the greenhouse where the shade cloth is doubled up for more shade. Shade loving Neps grow there along with Paphiopedilums.
    Maybe some of the above info will help-for us it was pretty much trial and error because we are in the sub-tropics and light is much brighter than most of North America.

    Trent
    Boca Raton, florida

  3. #3

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    Hi Trent,
    Thanks for your input! Yes, i should put greenhouse plastic, too. I was thinking of that as an emergency procedure in case my humidity is still too low. But since you use it in Florida, I might use it as well immediately. Did you have a chance comparing the humidity outside and inside a shade cloth (only) covered house? I don't need much increase, just a little.
    I hope plastic will not increase temperatures too much. Are you just having it on the roof?
    I think I wont have a chance finding mylar in the Philippines, anyway there are very few greenhouses here.
    Best, Volker
    http://pitcher-plants.com/bannersmall.jpg Manila, Philippines, Elev: 80 m, 24-33 C

    Tropical outdoor growers: Please visit our Carnivorous Plants in the tropics forum

  4. #4

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    Hi Volker,
    Shadecloth on the sides will help hold humidity. We are using a permanent poly top mostly to control watering. Here in florida we get stretches of weather that is actually too wet for the Neps. It's better to control as many aspects of culture as possible. Also, the poly top significantly increases humidity even with the sides open. I keep the entire north side as a solid wall of triple layer greenhouse plastic-summer and winter. Our prevailing breezes in summer are from the south east, and are warm and humid. The shade cloth helps cut the intensity of the breeze, which can be somewhat drying, but allows for gentle air movement. The entire south wall is dominated by Vanda orchids and hanging baskets of N. ventrata, coccinea, mirabilis and mirabilis hybrids. Again, they sort of function as a barrier to the breeze, and have proven themselves to be tough and able to take it. These plants are growing fairly close to the silver mylar shadecloth-which gives a cooler, more diffuse sort of shade. The poly top does not seem to hold in too much heat as long as it has somewhere to exit, which would be the peak of the greenhouse above the plants.

    Trent
    Boca Raton, Florida

  5. #5

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    Hi Trent,
    Wow, too much rain for Nepenthes, I haven't experienced that yet. Or do you use a very heavy soil? I actually like the idea of having some rain getting to the plants. But also the high humidity of a plastic roof, when there is no rain. Maybe I have to engineer some sort of mobile plastic for the roof. Did you compare inside-outside temperatures at night?
    North, South etc. is neglectable here, since we are relatively close to the equator, sun is attacking from all directions [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img] The south windows of our house for example are covered by the shade of the roof, because during noon hours the sun is almost straight up in the sky.
    The south side of the green house is covered by a 4ft wall, adding some protection against strong winds. The winds are drying off the soil quickly during dry season, so I will have to close all walls with shade cloth, one wall maybe even plastic.
    Thanks again, for sharing your experiences!
    Volker
    http://pitcher-plants.com/bannersmall.jpg Manila, Philippines, Elev: 80 m, 24-33 C

    Tropical outdoor growers: Please visit our Carnivorous Plants in the tropics forum

  6. #6
    Hans Breuer's Avatar
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    Dear fellow Tropic of Cancer dwellers,

    I'm also building a shade house for my neps here in Northern Taiwan, with 50% black shade cloth on five sides, and to keep the ol' hyoo-middidy nice and high, I'm installing a sprinkler system, which I intend to activate during the summer months for 4 x 15 minutes per day, this frequency rate HAVING BEEN recommended to me by a commercial grower from Eastern Taiwan.

    Now, that gentleman grows mostly ventratas (aka "flower market neps" round these parts), and I know that species can take a savage beating, water- as well as temperature-wise (not to mention neglect!)

    I, on the other hand, have lotsnlots of different species (mostly lowlanders and intermediates), and I'm wondering whether this amount of water is a good idea for all of them.

    I remember Rob Cantley saying that at BE they water their plants "heavily from above".

    Anyone with experience regarding how much/often/strong such automatic watering should be done?

    Thanks in advance as always!

    Hans

  7. #7

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    Hi Hans,
    We find to grow them a bit on the dry side. During the summer here in South Florida, that is typically every other day when conditions are sunny. Sometimes, during the rainy season, we may water only twice a week because of afternoon cloud cover and extreme humidity. Also, the smaller plants need watering more frequently than something in a ten inch hanging plastic basket. Auto sprinklers are great for basic operation, but you may find some Nepenthes need more water, and others less.
    Trent

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