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The cause of most orchids dying results from improper watering. While watering orchids is not complicated but needs a different mindset than your regular houseplants. All you need is a basic understanding of how your orchid works. Plantly will help you how.
Understanding the Orchid Roots
The majority of orchid plants found in homes are epiphytes and, in their natural habitat, cling to stones and trees. This is because the tropical plant roots differ from other plant roots. Still, we recommend following the care needs for the orchid species you have.
The orchid roots have a tissue-thin membrane called the velamen. With the membrane, it can soak up water fast and also helps to exchange minerals and salts. Hence, it can indicate your plant’s water needs.
When the roots look silvery or white, it is dry, while the fleshy root is green, but it still depends on the species. The fantastic thing is when you can read the roots. It helps you to water your orchid right.
The rule of thumb with outdoor plants is that they prefer under watering to overwatering as it can lead to root rot.
Watering Orchids Mistakes
Whether you have Phalaenopsis orchids or other tropical plants, they love water. Sort 0f if they are in their natural habitat.
On the undercover of rainforests, they thrive on rainwater for days. Yet, they adapt to dry periods when there is little rain.
So, the likeliness of duplicating the environment with the correct humidity, light levels, and airflow is not always possible.
Hence, it helps to keep this in mind watering orchids. When you water your orchids, consider the following mistakes you can make:
Watering too often can leave your orchid standing in water, leading to wet feet.
We recommend not watering at night but in the morning to prevent the water from stagnating in the growing tips or flower sheaths.
Ignoring your orchids cues can result in your plant health deteriorating. The pseudobulbs need to be plump and fat in the growing season. The foliage needs to be fleshy, and some species can wilt during winter.
The Right Way to Water Orchid Plants
There are different ways how to water your orchid. It is essential to find the best method for you and your orchid. Here are some ways on watering orchids:
Water Orchids Intensively
When growing orchids in a potting medium of bark or sphagnum moss that is dry then, using this method helps. When the soil type you use is bone-dry, getting water retention back to normal is difficult.
All you need to do is slip your plant into a bowl or decorative pot of water. The roots will soak up the water from the bottom and leave it to soak for up to 30-minutes. Doing this does not cause rotting of the roots as your plants are severely dehydrated.
Once you are done soaking, you can remove your orchid from the pot to let the water drain out, empty the exterior container, and slip your orchid back in. If the roots are bone dry, you can leave your plant like this overnight and follow it up weekly until the sphagnum moss becomes moist.
Watering orchids using this method works well as long there is a dry period in between your watering schedule.
A Simple Routine Watering for Orchids
Using this method to water orchids is excellent as you take your plant to the kitchen sink and spray lukewarm water through the container to give the potting medium a thorough soaking. With orchids potted, the important thing is to get every moistened well.
We recommend using room temperature water or tepid water and not cold water leading to shock. Allow the water to drain freely from the drainage holes. Using the method is excellent for orchid care when your plants are not dehydrated.
At the same time, you can give your whole plant a rinse to remove dust from the leaves and moisten the aerial roots. Once done, turn your plant upside down and give it a light shake to help dislodge water collected on the crown.
The steps essential to prevent crown rot can make your plant very sick. Or take a deep breath of air and blow out the water accumulated in the center of your plant.
Let Mother Nature Help
You can always let Mother Nature do it for you, no matter what orchid plant, from moth orchids to Phalaenopsis orchids. How to water orchids with nature is simple.
Place your orchid with its potting medium outdoors in summer in the shade and let the rainwater quench its thirst.
Doing this also helps with proper air circulation, which is beneficial for your plant’s growth. Even the natural temperature drop at night helps to trigger blooming.
Still, do not leave your plant outside in freezing temperatures. Another helpful thing is to plant your orchid in a clear plastic pot to watch the roots.
After it rains, the potting media allows water to drain from the drainage hole keeping your indoor plant healthy.
Reason Why to Not use Ice Cubes
Many orchid parents recommend placing three ice cubes on the soil surface to water your plant. Yet, if that cold water comes in contact with the orchid roots, it becomes damaged.
The first reason is that the potting media does not get thoroughly moistened using ice cubes. As a result, the water will penetrate the moss but does not provide the moisture your orchids need.
Even orchids growing in the bark will not be successful using only ice.
Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!