Orchids are a whole family of plants highly appreciated in gardening and decoration for their large flowers of striking shapes and colors. The family is huge, with more than 25,000 species, and therefore there is a great diversity of aspects between them, and even of needs. However, orchids carry the reputation of being very difficult flowers to care for and, therefore, many beginner fans do not dare to get one of these beautiful plants.
We want to teach you that anyone can have an orchid at home and that caring for them is not that difficult. Therefore, in this article we are going to focus on one of its most important and specific cares: when and how to water a potted orchid .
When to water orchids
Overwatering is one of the biggest problems that kills orchids in homes. These tropical plants are used to living in humid environments and constantly absorb moisture with their exposed roots. However, too abundant watering floods the plant and it is very easy for the plant to die.
Each of them has different irrigation needs, since there are orchids whose roots are visible and tell us with their color when the orchid needs water , while others have pseudobulbs in which they store water, which decrease when the plant needs watering. .
Since there is no universal formula for knowing how often to water orchids, you should know what species of orchid you have, and find out what their specific needs are. If you are in a hurry and do not have access to this information immediately, you can focus on watering your orchid when its substrate is about to lose moisture completely. To ensure this, try poking your finger or a wooden stick carefully into the soil or substrate to check the moisture level of the soil . In addition, in the case of orchids with exposed roots, it must be taken into account that when they are hydrated they are green and, on the other hand, when the roots are white they need water because they have already dried.
Obviously, in colder homes orchids will require less continuous watering, while in warmer homes they will require more water. Therefore, more or less, there will be climates in which it is cooler and 10 or 15 days are allowed to pass between waterings and, on the other hand, other climates in which it is very hot in which it will be necessary to water 1 or 2 times per week, as the water in the room will evaporate much faster.
How to water orchids
Orchids are usually kept in special pots for these types of plants, with drainage holes both at the base and on the sides and, sometimes, made of a transparent material that reveals their roots, precisely to be able to have a better indicator of humidity and so that they get more light.
Once you have made sure that the pot has drainage holes and that the substrate is light enough to allow the water to pass quickly, you can water your orchid by following these steps and tips:
- Take your plant and place it under a constant gentle stream of water. If you can use an accessory to spread the spray rather than focus on a single beam, such as a light shower, use it.
- Keep the plant under water for a minute, making sure that all the excess water comes out of the drainage holes without stagnating in the pot.
- After that minute, remove the orchid from the water, as it will have already absorbed much of the water it needs.
- At this point it is important that you notice that most of the water has already been drained. If the soil or substrate holds a lot of water, it is because the substrate is too dense for the orchid and you will have to change it for a lighter one, because with this it runs the risk of drowning.
How to water an orchid by immersion
- Fill a somewhat deep plate with water.
- Place the orchid in the water, first making sure it has a suitable substrate and a pot with holes that allow good drainage.
- Let the plant absorb the water through the roots for a maximum of 10 minutes, but if before this time you see that all its roots are already green, you can remove the plant from the dish with water. You will have noticed then that the water level has dropped a lot and that the color of the roots has changed from a whitish tone to a healthy green color.
- Leave the pot in another larger and empty container, the sink, the shower or the bathtub so that the excess water drains and it does not return to the roots. If you have used a container without a drain, make sure to empty it until the orchid no longer expels water.
- Once you see that no more water comes out of the orchid pot, leave it back in its usual place so that the sunlight can reach it.
In addition to this, it is advisable that you carry out the watering in the morning , so that the plant has all day to eliminate excess moisture thanks to the heat of the sun. Also, keep in mind that orchids also appreciate being sprayed several times a day, with little water, to simply maintain a high level of humidity around their leaves and flowers.
Common mistakes when watering orchids
To finish, we indicate some of the most common mistakes when watering orchids so that you can avoid them and, thus, take better care of your plant:
- As we have already said, the most common and dangerous mistake is to water too often. Orchid roots rot very easily when the humidity in the soil is excessive, so be sure not to overdo it.
- Another very common mistake is to water the orchids at night . The night conditions cause the water to stagnate not only on the ground but also on the leaves or flowers of the plant itself, which attracts diseases such as fungi.
- Finally, another common mistake is not knowing well what type of orchid we have and, therefore, not knowing how to recognize when it needs water. You have to know the plant and know how to pay attention to it to take care of it properly, so look at the color of its roots, which will change when it needs water, or the pseudobulbs in which it stores liquids, which if they are too fine in their growing season, it will mean that they need a watering.