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Re: Shade cloth percentage - title change "Meeting light & temperature needs of aroids" ?

  • Subject: Re: Shade cloth percentage - title change "Meeting light & temperature needs of aroids" ?
  • From: "Ron Iles" <roniles@eircom.net>
  • Date: Tue, 21 May 2002 18:43:09 -0500 (CDT)

Brian, thank you for the stimulus!  Please can I throw a few thoughts into
the IAS dialogue arena.....

You wrote:

"Here in Louisville, KY zone 6. We can get temperatures from -minus 20F all
the way up to 103F".

>>>>>>>>A mighty range of 123F?!!!!!!!!

"The temperature makes it very hard to grow many aroids".

>>>>>>>>For sure!   Are the Tropical
Shade Plants in conventional greenhouses?  Are outside temperatures in
winter are as much as 70-90F below seeming aroid optima, if so heating costs
must be astronomic?   And do you have big problems with excess light & sun
heat in the hottest periods?

The most equitable tropical climate I have so far experienced - is Uganda &
I found this helped my own shade plant growing philosophies.   "Uganda is a
GREEN Fairyland" (Sir Winston Churchill) - 3-4000' altitude right on the
Equator.   The range is from 70F to 85F, only 15F (9C) each & every day,
average temperature 80F - ...balmy, ....constant, even environments, not too
much, not too little - seemingly good for gently growing anything tropical?

In contrast,  here on the West Cork Ireland waterfront temperature ranges
mostly from 40F to 70F. occasionally less or more, narrow for temperate
regions.  The average is about 55F or more.

But even in this mild temperate climate, growing "stove plants" in
conventional greenhouses with their huge need for expensive fuel heating in
colder times & the unfavourably high light intensity would be unthinkable.
Even in winter Ireland unshaded light intensities can be too high for
tropical shade plants....  Is it not so that even bright light plant leaves
cannot photosynthesise more than 30% of full sunlight anyway?

Conventional greenhouses seem fine for those plants which need bright light
& drier air & which tolerate but don't necessarily prefer great temperature
ranges?   Do not shade & semi-shade plants have much narrower temperature
tolerances & preferences?   When not given these do they not
then become more susceptible to all kinds of maladies & pests?.  Wouldn't
you if you were them?   How would you like it if you were kept according to
your tolerances not your preferences?  Shade plants can be grown superbly in
closed growing environments which use just enough but not too much natural
heat & light from the sun & which need minimum fuel heating on cold days &
nights?    In the 70's I realised the problems of conventional greenhouses
for growing tropical shade plants throughout the year.   Since then I have
grown them more & more successfully &
economically in dedicated "closed controlled
environments".  Here, for ten months, my Spaths have been relatively safe
from climate hazards in conditions much like the balmy tropical climate of
Uganda, costs surprisingly low, everything growing fast & apart from one
plant arrived too weak, NO plants lost, & not an unhealthy plant or leaf.
If I decide to press on with it, the next phase should be significantly more
efficient in energy use & productivity.

Ron Iles

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