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How to Grow Orchids in Water — How Indeed?

How to Grow Orchids in Water  —  How Indeed?

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Orchids are one of the well-known blooms worldwide, of which there are currently over 25,000 documented varieties

It is often thought that orchids are quite tricky to grow, due to it often taking up to 8 years for their first flowers to appear. 

However, with the right knowledge orchids can easily be grown by even the most novice plant parent!

Growing orchids without the use of soil, and purely in water is a method that is becoming very popular. 

You may be curious about how to do this, or you might be shocked this is even possible!

In this article, I’m going to tell you all about growing orchids in water – so read on to find out!


How to grow orchids in water

To grow orchids in water, remove the roots from the soil and wash them thoroughly. Fill a jar with horticultural stones and room temperature water, and then place your orchid in it. It is best to have a cycle of keeping your orchid in water for 5 days and then letting it dry out for two days.


The method of growing orchids in water

Growing an orchid in water is actually quite a novice task, and could easily be successfully attempted by even the most amateur plant owner. 

I’m going to show you the method that I have had the best results with, one which I think is both very easy and has a high chance of success. 

To start with, I would suggest that if you are choosing to grow an orchid from a seedling, it is placed in soil and moved to water later on. 

The healthier that your orchid is, the better chance it will have of thriving when it is moved to the water. 

So it is best to start your orchid in the soil so that it can receive as many nutrients and minerals as it can. 

Additionally, I would very strongly advise against introducing an orchid to water that has lived in soil for many years. 

Doing so could cause plant shock and leave your orchid much worse off than before. 

I would suggest using a young orchid that has been purchased from a garden center, or one that is just a few months old.

For starters, remove your orchid gently from its soil. You may notice that your orchid has quite a tight root ball, which may need to be untangled to fully remove the soil that has collected around them. 

You should then use water to rinse any excess soil off of the roots and use a pair of clean pruning shears to remove any roots that are discolored or turning brown. 

Now your orchid is ready to be placed into the water!

If the container you are using is quite deep, place a layer of horticultural pebbles or stones in the bottom for the roots to rest on. 

It is only the roots of your orchid that should be submerged in water, not the stems. 

You should change the water between every 7-10 days, and replace it with more fresh room temperature water. 

Top tip –  choosing the right water for your orchid is very important. I would suggest using distilled water, or better yet collecting clean rainwater to use!


Choosing the right variety of orchid

When choosing to grow an orchid in water, you should ensure that you have picked the correct variety of orchids for such conditions. 

Epiphytic orchids are much more likely to take to a wet environment, as they have roots that are spongy and thick. 

Terrestrial orchids on the other hand, probably won’t adapt very well at all. This is because their roots are very reliant on soil for minerals and nutrients.


Drying out your orchid

It is important to remember that there are no varieties of orchids that are considered aquatic. 

Although they can thrive and grow in water, I would not recommend keeping them in water consistently. 

Your orchid, therefore, needs a “drying out” period, to ensure that the roots don’t become rotten. 

I found that creating a schedule where my orchid spends 5 days in water, and 2 days out of water gives my plant the perfect balance to ensure that it doesn’t succumb to damage. 

I would also suggest keeping a very close eye on your plant during the times that it is in water. 

No matter how much care and attention you pay to your plant, there is still a chance that the roots could be prone to root rot and other fungi. 

The upside is that as you are able to see the roots of your orchid, root rot and other diseases can be caught much quicker than they would be if your plant was placed in soil.


Frequently Asked Questions Relating to Growing Orchids in Water


How do you fertilize orchids grown in water?

I recommend fertilizing your orchid once a month, and just after their 2-day drying-off period. Before you return your orchid to its watery habitat, pour a diluted mix of liquid orchid fertilizer and water into a jar or glass. Only fill up the jar to what would be an equivalent of 1/3 of your plant’s roots. Let your orchid sit in the fertilizer-water mix for a few hours, before removing it and returning it to clean, fresh water. 


How long will an orchid that is grown in water live for?

Whether or not your orchid is grown in water should have no impact on its lifespan. How long your orchid will live is all dependent on the variety of orchid that you have, and whether or not you are providing your orchid with adequate care.