Top Tips for Watering Ochids
Incorrectly watering Orchids is a common problem, it can cause the orchid not to come into flower, or even worse kill the orchid. It is usually overwatering that is the biggest problem, this can cause orchid roots to rot. This problem is made worse by incorrect growing mediums.
Most of the orchids grown by gardeners are epiphytic, these ate also the most common type of orchid. They grow in trees and on rocks and water is provided by the host plant and by rain. This usually means that drainage is excellent.
Some orchids require more attention to watering methods than others, however all have a root system covered by velamen. A quick examination of the orchid roots will see that this velamen is either a green colour or a creamy white, once the velamen dries out the orchid is in trouble. If the velamen gets to wet, the root can rot.
Orchids are often seen a tropical plants, and while many are, many are not. And some that are tropical plants grow naturally in higher areas where it is cooler. So if you know where your orchid comes from, watering becomes easier.
The problem of watering is overcome by trying to mimic the amount of water, and the way that it is delivered to match what would happen in the natural environment, and this differs from species to species.
Watering orchids performs a number of tasks.
- Providing orchids with water, all plants like to drink.
- Creating Humidity.
- As a means of making fertiliser accessible to orchids.
- Orchids also require watering to help flush away excess salts from fertilisers.
- Overwatering Orchids
Overwatering will kill any plant, the roots become starved of oxygen
- Low or high humidity can do the same
- Lack of access for nutrients will stunt growth.
- Always water orchids well when fertilising, this increases access to nutrients
- Water the growing medium during active growth when it begins to dry out.
- Mist to control humidity
- Water well until the water flows from the drainage holes in the pots, and then come back in 30 minutes and water again, this ensures a thorough watering.
When to water orchids.
- Most growers tend to recommend watering in the morning.
- You do not need to water orchids every time you look at them, do something else instead, weed the pots, clean up the growing area, but do not over water.
- Some orchids such as Dendrobium, Oncidium, Vanda and Cattleya alliances can be allowed to almost dry out before they actually need water.
- Others such as Paphiopedilum need to watered well before they dry out.
Different orchids require different watering regimes, we have seen cymbidium orchids growing outside in pots that are almost never waters, except when it rains, they are probably not the best looking plants, however they flower well and are multiplying well.
It is essential that when you purchase any orchids that you obtain growing instructions that include orchid watering and fertilizing instructions for orchids. This will give you a guideline on orchid care. It might also convince you that you are buying your orchids from someone who knows what they are selling.