Water With Care and Getting it Right
Let’s be honest… proper orchid watering is probably the single most difficult aspect of orchid care to get right. The appropriate amount of water for orchids vary with the type of orchid, the type of mix it is in, and the environment in which the orchid is growing. It’s as difficult for beginners as using grandmother’s recipe that says, “bake until done”.
Orchid in Specular Bloom
Of course these diva-plants are fussy… they want just the right amount; not too much, not too little. Orchids dry out more quickly when it is hot than when it is cold – the key is to vary the frequency of orchid watering, the type of pot, the type of mix, how tightly the mix is packed and the overall circulation of air. Yikes!! I will never get this right; I can hear you say.
Time and patience – it does pay off with the increased health and vigor of your orchid, which when happy will speak to you with increased blooms. Don’t limit the amount of water that an orchid is given during a watering. Actually, the greatest success is when an orchid is watered liberally allowing the water to pour from the bottom of the pot until the plant and media are completely saturated. From a practical standpoint; this means the kitchen sink and running water liberally through the mix.
In some cases one can water an orchid on its humidity tray especially if that tray has a drain in case the water level gets too high. Once the orchid has been watered it should go back to its growing space until the next watering schedule which will be a few days to a week or more. Routine can help, for example watering on the weekend but checking the plants midweek. When in doubt however, wait! Too little is better than too much.
Most orchid mixes are easy to overwater; killing the plant. Most like to get almost dry, then be flooded with water, then allowed to get almost dry again. With sphagnum it’s easy to tell when they are dry because it feels crunchy when you touch it. If you are a beginner – take some advice and begin with phalaenopsis orchid, and sphagnum moss.
When I use fir or coconut mixes it’s very hard to tell when to water again, because they hold more water in the center than we often realize. I stick a chopstick down into the mix and leave it there for a few minutes. Come back and pull it out to see if the interior of the mix has soaked the skewer.
That was easy!
Esther Smith, author
Gardeners seem to fall into two basic categories: nurturers and neglecters. Nurturers lavish care on their plants and can sometimes kill them with kindness. Neglecters tend to forget all about their plants for days on end. The results are the same. Novice gardeners should come to our website and learn the easy way to grow orchids=>