Proper Orchid Care: How to Water Your Plants So That They Surprise You with Lush Blooms
Because of their strict requirements for light, humidity and temperature, orchids are notoriously difficult to care for. However, if you know how to water orchids to keep the flowers developing, they can be surprisingly easy to maintain with the right care.
There are about 28,000 different species of orchids, making them one of the most diverse plant families. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be found almost anywhere on earth. However, the magnificent blooms are the true hallmark of these houseplants. Magenta, purple, yellow, orange and even white are just a few of the colors available. There are varieties with single-colored petals and those with more intricate color patterns. Find out more about proper orchid care below.
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Proper Orchid Care Tips
Orchids are beautiful and bloom for months, making them a good choice if you like having blooming shelves. If you water and feed your plants properly, they will thrive for years to come. You should remember that they thrive in full sun, can tolerate some moisture and will die if overwatered. Learn how to water your orchids to ensure they will thrive all year.
Watering Orchids: How Much Water Do Orchids Need When Kept Indoors?
Common indoor orchids originated in the tropics, but that doesn’t mean they like being wet all the time. These tropical orchid species are epiphytes (plants that grow on other plants or trees) rather than terrestrial (growing in the soil). This means that orchids do not grow well in traditional potting soil because their roots function slightly differently than the roots of your other houseplants. Orchid roots require more air (they can photosynthesize, similar to leaf tissue when exposed to light) and need a longer drying time between waterings. Orchids prefer a little less water to a lot more, so keep that in mind if you’re unsure how much to give them.
How Often Should You Water Your Orchids?
This depends on whether your house is too warm, how much light your plants get, what type of potting material you use, and what container they are in. Instead of watering your orchid on a set schedule, pay attention to signs that it needs more moisture.
Water your orchids thoroughly each time, then allow them to almost dry out before watering again. Make sure the moss or bark is completely dry to the touch before watering. You can do a test with the tip of a sharpened pencil, a chopstick, or a wooden skewer. Do not water if you notice discoloration of the wood due to moisture.
Orchids should be watered first thing in the morning so that any moisture that gets on the leaves can evaporate throughout the day. Orchids are susceptible to rot when water collects between leaves and stems. Therefore, after watering, blot excess moisture with a paper towel or soft cloth. If you water at night, the water often stagnates, which can be fatal. It also encourages the growth of bacteria and fungi that are not intended. So you’ve been warned: try to keep your orchid’s soil dry at night.
When to Water Orchids in Peat Moss?
Orchids planted in peat moss can be watered like any other plant – from above. If you want to water your orchids, you can place them in a bowl of water. Peat moss retains water longer than bark chips, so a pot that looks dry on the outside will still be moist on the inside. Orchids in moss are more susceptible to overwatering when grown in a plastic, glazed ceramic, or glass container because these materials hold water longer than terracotta pots. If the roots turn brown or soft, you should postpone watering.
Orchids in Bark – Watering Instructions
Bark is water resistant, but only if it has been soaked in a container filled with water. The water level in the planter should be just below the rim. Ten minutes should be enough to absorb all the water. Drain well and do not leave your plant immersed in water any longer. Depending on the plant and how quickly the bark dries out, orchids in bark need to be watered every four to ten days.
The orchid bark should be replaced every two years or when the roots begin to grow over the edge of the container.
Rainwater for Your Orchids
Despite their adaptability, orchids thrive better when watered with rainwater rather than the hard tap water common in many cities. Use lukewarm water if possible. If the roots are submerged in water for a long time, they will rot. If your orchid’s leaves are green, it is doing well. If they’re silvery or white and wrinkled, they could use a drink. Overwatering can cause browning if the roots are soggy. Cut off the diseased parts and reduce watering frequency.