Is Watering Really That Important?
When it comes to watering your orchids, which is something covered in detail in our orchid book, there are several things to consider such as the type of water you use, water temperature, the best time of day to water, and of course how often you water. If you don’t think about these things, your orchid growing experience could end in disaster. There is a misconception that orchids can be watered like any other ordinary houseplant – although this is far from true. Improper watering can be one of the downfalls to growing a beautiful orchid. Understanding the basics of orchid care and maintenance will help you grow beautiful, healthy plants.
Why It’s the Main Cause of Orchid Death
First, you need to understand what improper watering does to a orchid. If you overwater your orchid, (leading cause of orchid death) this will cause them to sit in pools of water, and thus the roots begin to suffocate and, over time, this can lead to the roots rotting. Overwatering can compromise the plant’s capability to flourish. Underwatering can be just as damaging and will cause the roots to dry up and shrivel. This will also compromise the plant’s capability to flourish. Once you understand your plant’s needs and exercise proper watering habits, growing orchids is quite easy.
Adjusting for “Hard” and “Soft” Water
The type of water, either hard or soft, that you use to water your orchids is very important. The best type of water to use is soft, as long as it hasn’t been softened with salt, because this can harm the plant. If your area has hard water, then you will want to wipe the leaves of the orchid with distilled water every once in a while to keep them from becoming blocked with mineral deposits. To make your hard water a little more tolerable to the orchid, you can boil the hard water which will remove some of the impurities.
Common Mistakes People Make
The process you use to water your orchid is just as important. You need to make sure that the water you are using is room temperature. It is important to water your plant in an area where you can allow excess water to drain, such as a sink, bathtub or even outside. Be sure to water the entire surface thoroughly and allow the water to drain completely. It’s extremely important that you let the water drain completely so that you can avoid overwatering which can cause root infections and rotting. About once a month you will want to run a little more water than you normally would just to get rid of any mineral buildup.
Something People Often Forget About
When you water your orchid, you may get excess water in between the leaves. You will need to mop up this excess water, because if you leave it there is can cause the plant to start to rot or form disease. Even leaving water drops on the plants foliage is not a good idea because they can make their way into the gaps and cause problems. There are several ways to mop up this extra water. The first way is to get something absorbent, such as a paper towel, tissue, or cotton swab and gently stick the item into the gap where the water is standing and absorb the moisture. A second way is to get a straw and blow air inside the crevice. This method can be used when the area is hard to get to.
Time of Day
Another important factor to consider is the time of the day that you water you orchid. The optimal time to water is in morning so that they have plenty of time to dry before temperatures fall in the evening.
How Often Should You Water?
So we’ve already established that overwatering and underwatering can be the downfall to growing orchids. In order to gain an understanding of how often you should water your orchid, one of the first things you need to do is note what type of pot your orchid is planted in.
If it is a clay pot then you will need to water more frequently because water evaporates faster from clay than plastic pot for instance. It is very important that your pot, regardless of whether it is clay or plastic, have drainage holes. Another way to determine how often to water is by which type of potting medium you used. If you used a potting media with better water retention you will need to water less frequently as compared to potting media with good drainage, which will need to be watered more frequently.
A Simple Trick to Determine If Your Orchid is Ready to Be Watered
There are a few tricks you can follow to determine whether your plant is ready to be watered. The first of these tricks it to check the weight of your plant right after being watered. A few days after watering, after the water is absorbed and some has evaporated, the pot will become lighter. You will soon be able to tell if it is time to water your plant just by picking it up, feeling the weight of the plant and comparing it to the weight right after you’ve watered. Another trick is to either stick a bamboo skewer or your finger into the pot, and if they come out feeling damp then your plant is not ready for another watering. During the hot, dry summer months you may have to water more often because the plants will dry out sooner. Every species will have their own specific watering needs, but in general you will probably be watering every seven to ten days.
By following these simple steps and making sure your orchid is watered just right, you will be on your way to growing beautiful orchids in no time.
To get more watering instructions for your orchid be sure to check out the Orchids Made Easy book where watering – and everything you need to know about orchid care and maintenance – is covered in much more detail.
IMPORTANT: To learn everything you need to know about caring for your orchids, if you haven’t already I strongly recommend signing up for the “Orchid Care Tips & Secrets Newsletter” my wife and I publish by clicking here.
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