Orchids are one of the most common types of household plant that people tend to buy. Their beautiful blossoms add a touch of colour and grace to any room. However, many people struggle when it comes to caring for this popular plant. The problem is, most fall prey to the myths surrounding them and more often than not, end up killing their poor orchid before it has a chance to shine. So, we’ve broken down the most frequently asked questions when it comes to caring for orchids so you can become a pro in no time.
Watering - How often should you water an orchid?
This is the most frequently asked question when it comes to orchid care. The problem is, there is no set answer. How often you water your orchid depends on a number of things such as what conditions the plant is in. But do not despair. There are some simple ways to know just when you should be watering your orchid and when not.
First thing to check is what type it is. You can see our most common types that you can buy in the UK. There will usually be a label on the plant when you purchase it to tell you what type it is. Most orchids prefer only a little water though. The best bet, if you are ever uncertain is to check how dry the pot mix is. If it is damp leave it alone. If it is bone dry, then it is safe to water.
Don’t worry about leaving your orchid to dry out. The one thing you don’t want to do is over water, that is the number one killer for orchids. In warmer weather, you may need to water more frequently but always check first.
The Ice Cube Method
You may have heard of this method before and it is quite a popular way of watering as it means you don’t need to worry about measuring! The ice cube method makes watering easy as it drip feeds the water to the plant. For small orchids, we recommend just using the one ice cube to start with. If the pot mixture is still dry, you can use another. Just be careful not to over do it. If you have a larger orchid you may want to use two or three ice cubes.
Place them at the bottom of your orchid under the leaves and let them melt. They should take a little while and that’s the point. This helps to keep your orchid hydrated without the worry that you will drown it. Again, if you are ever unsure how often to do this, test the pot mix by dipping your finger in and feeling how dry it is. Check once a week and repeat as necessary until your orchid plant finishes blooming.
What Are The Perfect Conditions For Orchid Flowers?
In the wild, orchids naturally tend to grow on trees with their roots exposed. So, they prefer to sit in places where lots of air can get to their roots. This, again, means less watering is needed. Like with most plants and flowers, you want to keep them away from drafts and direct sunlight. Orchids also usually prefer humid climates. This can be difficult to replicate in the home where the air tends to be rather dry.
A simple solution to this is to mist the leaves and visible roots to keep the plant moist. Simply use a spray bottle filled with clean water. You can do this up to two times a day depending on where your orchid is situated in your home. The water will evaporate quite quickly especially in warmer weather. If you are worried about over misting, simply check if the leaves and roots feel dry. If they do, go ahead and mist. Don’t let pools of water sit on the leaves though, if you have sprayed too much water just lightly wipe the excess away with a clean sponge or tissue.
What Is The Ideal Pot Medium For An Orchid?
There are two types of pot mix that orchids love. The most common is bark. This is perfect for the types of orchid that prefer dry roots, like the phalaenopsis as it holds less water. This means your plant is more likely to need frequent watering. However, you need to ensure that the roots are completely dry before watering.
The other type of pot mix is moss. Moss retains water much better than bark which means the roots will take longer to dry out. This type of pot mix is better for orchids that prefer moist environments. You are less likely to need to water frequently.
Something else to consider is the type of pot your orchid is in. The best type for most orchids is a slotted, plastic pot. This will help drain any excess water and allow the roots to dry out properly. A plastic pot will also help you to see any condensation which well also help you to know whether you need to water your plant. If there is condensation, you don’t need to water.
You can of course place your orchid in a more visually appealing pot as well as the plastic one. Just bear in mind that you won’t be able to see any condensation and you will need to check to make sure no water has pooled at the bottom.
Caring by orchid flower type
There are so many different types of orchid flowers that there are also many ways to take care of them. Don’t worry though, we’ve found the four most common types of orchid in the UK and we show you how to care for each.
Phalaenopsis (moth) orchid
Prefers less frequent watering, place in medium to bright indirect light
Phalaenopsis like dry roots. You still need to water them just not as frequently as you may think. Allow roots to air dry completely then only water enough to moisten the roots. Do not let them sit in water.