Orchid Care







Watering Orchids  Part II

 orchid roots
This phalaenopsis is growing in sphagnum moss in a clear pot.
The roots
  are firm, white and healthy.

* Moisture loving orchids such as phalaenopsis like to stay moist at all times. This does not mean they should be kept wet. Obviously when you water they will be wet for a few hours, but then, they should dry out and stay moist for several days. Only when the mix begins to start going slightly dry, do you water again.

* Excessive watering will kill orchid roots, and also cause the mix(especially bark mixes) to decompose. As the mix breaks down, it holds less air, and thus more moisture. The result is that the roots, and mix, both stay wetter to the detriment of the plant.



Water your orchids thoroughly using tepid (never cold) water. This does not mean you dribble a stream of water down one side. It means you flush the growing mix thoroughly and copiously with water and then allow the pot to drain. Most of the excess will drain out from the bottom of the pot. We do this for three main reasons:

-to get ALL the roots thoroughly wet
-to ensure excess fertilizer salts are flushed out of the mix
-most orchids are potted in a bark mix and this is the only way to ensure that all the roots get thoroughly wet

How do you know when to water your orchids again?

1. Stick a pencil about an inch into the mix-if the tip is damp it does not need water. If it feels dry, water.

2. Put your finger about an inch into the mix and wiggle it around-if it feels moist no water is needed. If it feels dry, then water.

3. If you're not sure your orchid needs water, wait a day before watering. For orchids that likes to stay moist (such a phalaenopsis or slipper orchids) and you're not sure, then water-do not let the mix dry out.

4. In general, avoid letting your orchids go bone dry between waterings, unless a rest is called for(this usually only applies to some specific types of orchids that need a dry rest in winter so for most indoor growers its nothing to worry about).

If your orchid is in a peat-based mix, water when the pots feels light and the mix turns a darker grey color, or begins to pull away from the edge of the pot. These mixes can be deceptive because the surface appears dry while inside the pot, the mix is still quite wet. Many phals are sold growing in sphagnum moss which also retains moisture for much longer periods than bark mixes. Learn more about growing phalaenopsis.




 More orchids on our 
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Quick Links:
-What to do when flowers fade
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-Can I grow orchids in low light?
-How do I water my orchids?

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-How to Grow Moth Orchids
-How to Grow Slipper Orchids