How To Water Orchids – Currently having about 28,000 species and distributed in approximately 763 genera, orchids are one of the most exotic-looking flower species in the whole plant kingdom.
Their beauty, variant colors, and patterns make them an appealing choice for house plants.
They are distinguishable and have some evident characteristics that include having highly modified petals, a temporary woody structure, fused stamens, and very small seeds.
The most common and easiest type of orchid to grow is a Phalaenopsis.
It’s the perfect type of orchids for beginners because one doesn’t need any set of complex gardening rules for its nurturing.However, that doesn’t mean that taking care of an orchid is a walk in the park.
Each species is different from the other and requires an entirely different environment to grow.
You’ll need to know everything from potting to how to water your orchids properly.
When it comes to something as sensitive as plants, knowing the basics and following a guide is your best option.
Table of Contents
Potting and Re-Potting Your Orchid
You’ve bought a beautiful species of orchids, and now the first step is to know how to set it up.
Understand that orchids aren’t like regular plants, you can’t just put them in a pot full of dirt and be done for the rest of the day.
Orchids are delicate, and they need better drainage and airflow to grow rather than piles of soil.
So, you start off by making a good potting soil mix.
A potting mix able to offer good circulation, slow decomposition rate, swift drainage, and good moisture-retaining capabilities is the one best suited for your orchid.
The medium that would provide your plant with water needs to be the best, so you should experiment and take your time before choosing the right combination.
Technically, you won’t need to re-pot your orchids for about a year or two.
However, re-potting totally depends on the condition and maintenance of your orchids.
It is possible that you could need to re-pot earlier than expected.
Luckily, there are a few signs that can help you to determine the right time for re-potting your orchids:
- Diseased or rotten roots
- Overgrowth – plant growing out of its container
- Overgrown roots
- Breaking down or fast decomposition of the potting media
Checking the Health of Your Orchids
Like every other plant, orchids give away some obvious signs of their health which you should know how to read.
The health of leaves and roots are the best ways to know about your orchid’s condition.
You assess them in the following ways:
- Check whether the roots are vibrant green or not
- Hold off watering if your see mushy or brown roots
- If your orchid has white/gray roots, then that means it needs more water
- If your orchid has white leaves, then it means its receiving way too much light
- Black leaves are an indication of fungal growth and bacteria
- Dark green leaves indicate that your orchid is not receiving enough light
Caring For and Supporting Your Orchids
Different species of orchids can live up to 100 years!
However, there is no specific lifespan dedicated to the plant.
The plant will eventually get weak over time, so your attention and proper care are what will extend its lifetime.
Establish a care routine that involves knowing when to re-pot, add fertilizer, let it rest, and how to water your orchid correctly.
We have already discussed potting and resting of an orchid is simply a period to let it rejuvenated.
However, when it comes to watering your orchid, there are a few details you should keep in mind, especially about how you should water your orchids.
Complete Guide on How to Water Your Orchids
Why is it important to know the dos and don’ts of watering your orchids?
That’s because your plants are more likely to die because of improper watering than any other reason.
It is not rocket science, and neither is it a complicated process.
Instead, it’s all about reading the signs and understanding the watering needs of your beautiful orchid.
Remember, the key to the best method of watering your orchid is to learn to read its roots and look for the signs of its current condition.
Here are a few important steps you can follow on how to water orchids.
Know when to water your orchids
An orchid doesn’t need to be watered every day.
You should try setting up a schedule and mark it on the calendar whenever you water the plant.
Even though orchids are houseplants, unlike most of them they need to be watered only when they begin to dry out but still have a bit of moisture left.
It is also essential to know about the type of orchid you have because some orchids have storing-organs.
So, these species would need to be completely dry before getting any extra water.
However, if you have no idea about your orchid’s type, then water only when they are almost dry.
Understanding the signs
The climate and potting mix are some of the factors that can help you to know about watering your orchids.
You can get a rough indication that it’s time to water the orchids if the potting mix looks dusty and dry.
However, if that isn’t convincing enough, then you can also try checking the pot’s weight.
If the pot feels heavy, then it’s likely it still has water.
Otherwise, a lighter pot may indicate that your orchid needs watering.
You can also make sure by sticking a finger carefully into the potting mix and check for moisture.
Coming to the weather, the temperature of the air also affects the watering routine of orchids.
In a warmer temperature or in a place where the orchid gets too much sun, it would need to be watered more frequently than the one in a cooler temperature.
Thoroughly water the orchid
One of the best ways to water your orchids is to let the water run carefully from the faucet over your plant.
When it comes to watering your orchid, you’ve got to do it as you mean it.
Use a pot that has drainage holes because the roots will rot if you let the orchid sit for too long in the water.
If you are using a faucet, then a single strong stream for a full minute is enough.
However, if you are using a sprinkler as many professionals do, then you’d need eight or more minutes.
Misting your orchid
Apart from conventional watering, another way to keep your orchids healthy in the hot, humid weather is misting.
This will reduce the chances of both over watering and drying out of your plant.
You can mist your orchids a few times a day depending on the weather conditions.
Best Ways to Water Your Orchids
An orchid owner must understand that their plant doesn’t need heavy watering even though they are found growing in the tropical rainforest.
You now know how to water orchids properly, but you should also be aware of the best practices to water an orchid plant.
Just knowing how to water them isn’t enough.
Knowing the best ways is always a must when it comes to your orchids.
The ice cube method
This is the easiest way to water your orchid plant without causing water sitting in the pot.
It is also the quickest way if you don’t want to transplant the orchid from a pot without holes to a one with holes.
Using small to medium ice cubes, you can pop around three medium ice cubes on top of the potting mix.
You can do that twice a week, depending on the weather situation.
Make sure that the cubes remain on the soil and don’t touch the plant itself.
This method will give you the following benefits:
- Prevention of roots from rotting
- Better absorption
- Saves time and is easy
- Avoids overwatering
Fill the clear orchid container with either distilled or cooled tap water.
Also, fill the holding pot in which the container will sit with water so that the roots are fully submerged.
Now remove the plant after 10 to 15 minutes and make sure that you fill the water just under the crown of the orchid.
Allow the plant to drain for about five minutes while pouring out the remaining water from the pot.
You can use this method once a week for the best results.
The pouring method works if the plant can’t be removed or you don’t want to stock up ice cubes.
However, if you are using this method, make sure to have a pot with adequate drainage holes.
Use water sparingly to avoid the orchid sitting in a pool of water.
Avoid pouring water directly on the plant; instead, focus on the roots underneath the leaves.
Things to Avoid While Watering Orchids
It’s just watering, how hard can that be?
Believe it or not, many myths are surrounding the orchid plant, and it’s easier to make common mistakes more often than you think.
So, when it comes to watering your orchids, keep in mind to avoid these common watering mistakes.
It’s a fact that even though orchids are tropical plants, you don’t always need to keep them wet or water too often.
The constant wetness and moisture will rot the roots and eventually kill the plant.
Make sure that your plant never sits in still water.
Always use a drain pot while watering your orchids and be aware that the plant should be dry enough with little to no moisture between watering.
The best time to water the plant is, in fact, the morning because you’ll be increasing the chances of fungal diseases if you water at night.
Watering at night allows it to stagnate in the growing tips of the plant which encourages the growth of bacterial and fungal diseases.
Watering early in the morning will increase the chances of water evaporation from the crown and foliage by nighttime.
The type of water you use also has effects on the health of your orchids.
Don’t use water that has higher calcium and salt content.
It is preferred to use highly purified water, distilled water, cooled tap water, or rainwater.
Watch out for deposits forming on your plant and flush out excess mineral salts, saturate the growing medium with water once a month.
Which Factors Affect the Watering of Orchids?
There are a few common factors that affect the watering of your orchids and their consequences.
It is important that you take these factors into account in order to provide your orchids with the best possible environment to grow.
This factor not only influences the watering routine but also determines the amount your plant needs.
The level of humidity affects the frequency with which you water your orchids.
You will need to water less if the ambient humidity is higher.
It is obvious that the higher the temperature, the more frequently you’ll need to water the orchids.
However, if you have stored the plant in a cool place inside the house, then it wouldn’t need to be watered as frequently.
Fertilizer or potting media play an important role in this regard.
Some have good water retaining capabilities, while others have better circulation and drainage properties.
The type of potting media used will also determine how frequently you’ll need to water.
There are over 28,000 different species of orchids, and yours could be one of them.
Each species has different requirements, so it can be a challenge to follow general guidelines.
Make sure you are familiar with the type you have because some orchid species have good water retaining properties while others don’t.
Airflow and sunlight
Under no circumstances, you should keep orchid in direct sunlight because it will cause sunburn.
You’ll also need to water frequently if you are keeping the plant in a sunny window.
Also, make sure that your orchids get plenty of fresh air.