The most important thing in orchid care is the right watering. We have summarized the most important rules for you.
Because of their exotic origins, orchids make certain demands on their owners. You have to be careful when it comes to casting. In addition to the humidity, the irrigation water used is of great importance. But the right watering rhythm and how you water the orchids also determine the well-being of the plants. We will show you an overview of the most important tips for casting.
Typically, orchids are watered once a week or twice when they are in full bloom. During the resting phase, once every two weeks is sufficient. Always use room warm water with little lime content and avoid waterlogging at all costs. Among other things, the immersion bath for orchids without substrate and watering or showering the plant pot without a planter have proven to be useful.
For orchids, stagnant moisture usually means an early end. A drainage layer made of styrofoam, for example, is particularly suitable for this. It should be at least four inches high to prevent the plant’s roots from standing in the water.
The right pouring rhythm
If the pot feels light when you lift it, the substrate is dry. This is the right time to water the orchids. Usually, it is enough to water the plants once a week. If the orchid is in full bloom and needs a lot of energy, or if it is in a place close to the heating, you can increase it to a maximum of two waterings per week. During the resting phase, in winter or a cool location below 20 degrees Celsius, it is sufficient to use the watering can every two weeks.
Take the humidity into account
Proper watering is usually sufficient to keep your orchids healthy and vital. However, if the humidity at your location is consistently below 40 percent, you should spray the plants from time to time. But be careful: Make sure that no water collects in the leaf axils or the heart leaves, as this can lead to rot. If the water you use is too hard, the typical limescale will appear on the leaves. These must be removed and other water users.
Water orchids in the morning
Most orchid experts swear that the right time to water orchids is first thing in the morning. This gives the plants enough time to dry out until the cooler evening and night hours.
Proven casting methods
Get your orchid out of the planter and just pour the planter with water at room temperature. The advantage of this method is that no water gets into the already mentioned sensitive leaf axils and heart leaves. Then the pot should drain until hardly any water comes out. Only then can the orchid go back to its planter.
When you shower your orchids, the substrate is very evenly wet and any dust or pests that may be present are gently removed. However, this method is not suitable for orchids of the genera Paphiopedilum and Zygopetalum.
The immersion bath has proven itself for plants without a substrate. Immerse the plant in a bucket of irrigation water, a sink, or directly in the rain barrel for about ten minutes.
Fill a spray bottle with room temperature water and set it in the finest setting. The substrate should be misted until it is completely penetrated by water and flows out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
Of course, you can also use a watering can to water orchids. Plastic or ceramic jugs with a narrow neck are best for this. Metal jugs can oxidize and, under certain circumstances, pass residues onto the orchids. Give yourself and the plant time and moisten the substrate evenly at every point. With this method, you have to regularly check the pots for waterlogging.
The right irrigation water for orchids
The right water for orchids is just as important as balanced watering. Only use water at room temperature. A degree of hardness of 2 dH, i.e. very low-lime water, is ideal. If the tap water is too hard in your area, you can either keep only Paphiopedilum species that are relatively lime-resistant, or you can decalcify the tap water yourself. Let it stand overnight until the limescale has settled at the bottom. You can then process it using a filter system. A simpler method is to boil the water, as this will release the dissolved carbon dioxide from the water and cause calcium and magnesium to precipitate.
The next morning you can then carefully pour off the water and use it. If the pH of your water is not at an ideal value of five to six, it is advisable to clean the plastic pots of the orchids under running water about once a month to wash off any residue. You can find test strips to determine the pH value in specialist shops. Rainwater is a healthy (and inexpensive) alternative, especially in summer.