Orchids are a whole family of plants highly appreciated in gardening and decoration for their large flowers with striking shapes and colors. The family is enormous, with more than 25,000 species, and for this reason there is a great diversity of aspects between them, and even of needs. However, orchids have a reputation for being very difficult flowers to care for and, therefore, many beginner amateurs do not dare to get hold of one of these beautiful plants.
At EcologíaVerde we want to show you that anyone can have an orchid at home and that taking care of them is not that difficult. Therefore, in this article we are going to focus on one of its most important and specific care: when and how to water a potted orchid.
When to water orchids
Excessive watering is one of the biggest problems that kill 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 one of them has different irrigation needs, since there are orchids whose roots are visible and warn us with their color of when the orchid needs waterwhile others have pseudobulbs in which they store water, which decrease when the plant needs watering.
Since there is no universal formula to know how often to water orchids, you must 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 its moisture completely. To make sure of this, try sticking your finger or a wooden stick carefully into the soil or substrate to check humidity level this. 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, instead, 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 warm ones 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 a week, because the water in the environment will evaporate much faster.
How to water orchids
Orchids are usually kept in special pots for this type of plant, with drainage holes both at the base and on the sides and, sometimes, made of a transparent material that allows their roots to be seen, precisely in order to have a better indicator of humidity and so that more light reaches them.
Once you have made sure that the pot has drainage holes and that the substrate is light enough to allow rapid passage of water, you are ready to go. water your orchid following these steps and tips:
- Take your plant and place it under a steady gentle stream of water. If you can use an accessory so that the jet spreads out instead of concentrating in a single beam, such as a light shower, use it.
- Keep the plant under water for a minute, checking that all the excess water comes out of the drainage holes without pooling in the pot.
- After that minute, remove the orchid from the water, as it will have already absorbed a good part 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 retains a lot of water, it is that 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. If you think you have problems with this, we recommend this other post on How to prepare a substrate for orchids and this other one on Transplanting an orchid: when and how to do it.
How to water an orchid by immersion
- Fill a somewhat deep dish with water.
- Place the orchid in the water, first making sure that it has a suitable substrate and a pot with holes that allow good drainage.
- Let the plant absorb the water through its 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 any more water.
- Once you see that no more water comes out of the orchid pot, return it to its usual place so that sunlight can reach it.
In addition to this, it is advisable that you carry out watering in the morning, so that the plant has all day to eliminate excess moisture thanks to the heat of the sun. Likewise, 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 its 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 error is that of water too much often. Orchid roots rot very easily when soil moisture is too high, so make sure you don’t overdo it.
- Another very common mistake is water the orchids at night. The conditions of the night cause the water to stagnate not only in the soil but also in the leaves or flowers of the plant, which attracts diseases such as fungi.
- Finally, another common mistake is not knowing what kind 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 in 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. In this other article we talk about 12 types of orchids, but there are more, so it is best to find out as much as possible from the place where the plant is purchased.
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