Most orchids die due to improper watering. Watering orchids is not a complicated process. You don’t need to follow any lunar cycles for watering your orchid plants. However, you need to have a different mindset to water orchids. You need to understand the working of orchids first.
Most orchids that are grown in homes are epiphytes in nature. These plants can cling to your trees or stones. The roots of the orchid plants are different from normal roots.
However, it is very difficult to generalize any method for orchids. It is the largest group of plants and there are various exceptions for every rule.
Understand Orchid Plants
The roots of orchid plants are surrounded by velamen which is a very thin membrane. This membrane is responsible for soaking water and promoting the exchange of salts and minerals in plants.
You can use your orchid velamen to determine the water needs of your plant. If your orchid velamen is white, then it is dry. Freshly watered orchid will have green or mottled velamen. This will also depend on your orchid species.
In this article, we are mostly going to focus on epiphytic orchids as they are mostly grown in homes.
How often to water orchids?
Many people actually over-water their orchid plants. They think that extra water will help their plants but this can have a negative effect on your plants. If you are watering your orchids too much, then it will lead to problems like root rot and crown rot.
Your orchid plant should be completely dry between two watering sessions. Also, make sure that you are watering your orchids in the morning. Watering your orchids at night will allow the water to stagnate in the growing tips of your orchid plants. This will increase the risk of fungal diseases.
Your orchid plants should be completely dry during the night. You should water your orchids once every 7-10 days in winter. If the weather is dry and warm, then you should water your orchids twice a week.
This number will also depend on your pot size. If your pot size is 6-inch, then you should water it every 7 days. However, if your pot size is 4-inch, then you should water it every 5-6 days.
How much to water orchids?
Many people think that orchids need heavy watering as they are found in tropical rain forests. But, over-watering can harm your orchids.
The golden rule of watering orchids is that make sure that your plants are not sitting in water. This will cause your orchid roots to rot. The amount of water will depend on the method that you are using for watering your plants.
If you are using the submerging method, then make sure you are filling water till the crow level. After that, leave your orchid to soak water. You can remove the orchids from the water after 10-15 minutes. Also, make sure to drain your orchids.
If you are using ice cubes for watering your orchids, then you can use one ice cube twice a week. Make sure to remove any water from your orchid. The weight of the pot will eventually increase if there is too much water. You should remove all this excess water from your orchids.
You can also use the pouring method for watering your orchids. If you can’t remove your orchid from your pot, then it indicates that all the drainage holes are blocked. Thus, you should water sparingly on your orchids.
Make sure that water is not getting into the crevices. If some water has got into the crevices of orchid leaves, then you should use a towel for removing the excess moisture. This will ensure that your plant won’t rot. You can give 1/4th glass of water to your plants every week.
Can you use ice cubes to water orchids?
It is a challenge to water your orchids regularly. Thus, many people think that using ice is an easy-care method. Most commercial growers are using water for growing their orchid plants.
However, according to a study by Ohio State University, your orchid plant will receive an equal amount of tap water from 3 ice cubes. They have found no difference in plant growth and health.
The researchers tested this on 48 different orchids and used 4 different species of orchids. Every week they added three ice cubes in their orchid’s plant. The orchids were growing normally like any other potted orchid.
They found no difference between the leaf growth and flower longevity of these plants. The bark temperature will increase if you are using ice but it will return to normal after 5-6 hours.
Thus, you can use 2 or 3 ice cubes per week for maintaining your orchids. This is the easiest way to water your orchid. Also, make sure that you are placing the ice directly on the aerial root.
There shouldn’t be any standing water in your orchids. Make sure to drain the excess water from the orchid pot.
Factors that can affect watering
There is no universal guide that will help you in watering your plants. This is actually one of the major reasons behind growing orchid plants. You need a lot of patience for growing these beautiful plants. Some of the factors that can affect your watering schedule are:
- Species: It is important to make sure that you know about the specie of your orchids. Different orchids will have different watering requirements. You should probably start with the most common type of orchids first.
- Temperature: Plants need more water in summers. Thus, make sure that you are watering your plants regularly during the summers.
- Humidity: The humidity has an inverse effect on the watering needs. If the humidity is more, then there is less need for watering. This will also depend on the potting media that you are using.
- Airflow: Orchids actually leave airflow. Fresh air is good for your orchid roots and leaves. However, greater airflow will dry your orchids more quickly. Thus, you need to increase the watering level.
Orchids are one of the most beautiful plants that you can grow in your home. However, your orchid plants can die due to improper watering. Thus, it is important to make sure that you are properly watering your orchids. You can follow this guide for ensuring that you are properly watering your orchids.
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