A hearty species, their Achilles Heel of Orchids are found in their watering needs with root rot a frequent complaint amongst horticulturists.
When it comes to getting the biggest “blooms for your bucks,” phalaenopsis orchids, also known as ‘moth orchids,’ are a consistent fan favorite of gardeners and homeowners across the nation.
Learning how to water a phalaenopsis orchid properly is the first step for making sure your plant’s health.
That is because they are one of the longest blooming of the orchid genera offering flowers that last between two to six months before closing shop for the season.
Indeed, once these flower plants have reached a mature size, you might expect beautiful blooms upwards of two to three times per year.
Ensuring that you achieve the full bounty of this production means ensuring that you are caring for your plant properly, and chief among these concerns is making sure that you are watering your phalaenopsis orchid correctly.
How to Water a Phalaenopsis Orchid
A number of factors influence the amount of water Phalaenopsis orchids need. These include humidity, the amount of shade, the extent of sunshine, and the ground cover. As a general rule of thumb, water an orchid no more often than every four to seven days. Wait for the earth to dry before rewatering your plant.
Watering Your Phalaenopsis Orchid Correctly
As mentioned above, when it comes to the watering routines of most horticulturalists regarding their orchids, if problems arise it is typically owing to overwatering as opposed to underwatering.
Your plant will not be shy about indicating that it is getting too much water if you know what signs to look for when examining your plant.
- Black and squishy roots are indicative of roots that have been infected with bacteria and well past the point of return and should be removed from the plant immediately.
- Yellow leaves are suggestive of a plant suffering the effects of root rot. Your plant’s leaves should be a vibrant green and protruding from strong stems.
- Droop leaves are never a good thing, and orchid leaves that droop and easily fall off when touched show a plant suffering from root rot in an advanced state.
To avoid these situations, consider paying attention to the following factors when watering your orchids.
While the tendency is to water plants regularly that do not have a built-in water storage system, orchids are very particular in the water it receives.
Specifically, they do not respond well to sitting in water, which works to quickly begin the root rotting process.
At most, you will want to water your orchid no more often than every four to seven days. Indeed, keeping one eye on the calendar and the other on your plant’s soil.
Wait for the earth to dry out before rewatering your plant.
For best results, always water your orchid in the morning to allow for the maximum amount of time to complete the process of water evaporation before nightfall.
Plants watered in the evening or allowed to stand in sitting water, quickly begin to develop fungal or bacterial rot.
Phalaenopsis orchids are a beautiful addition to your garden and home, but they can be temperamental creatures to cultivate.
Ensuring that your watering regimen is proper and appropriate for the plant’s overall health is the first step in keeping them happy.
Caring for Orchids in General
When it comes to dealing with orchids, keeping in mind that there are over 70 individual species of the plant with a wide range between one end of the watering spectrum and the other.
Towards that end, we will focus on the role watering plays in the most popular species, phalaenopsis, which is the most popular orchid houseplant.
These plants have no storage system for holding water within their stem system, so we want to think of a continual watering cycle throughout the year, which may be why people make the mistake of overwatering their orchids.
Remember that a continual watering cycle does not mean that the soil should remain wet or moist most of the time.
Indeed, go ahead and stick your index finger in the soil.
Is it moist? Wet? If so, there’s a chance that the orchid’s roots are rotting as we speak.
Temperature and Humidity
Orchids make great roommates because their temperature and humidity requirements are similar to the comfort range of our homes.
Your phalaenopsis orchid will be happiest in a temperature range of 62 and 65-degrees at night while daytime temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees closely mirror the temps in our homes.
Humidity factors into your plant’s well-being since your orchids are unable to store any moisture on their own, so a higher humidity will put more moisture in the air.
Ideally, a 50% to 70% humidity rate will serve to keep your plant hydrated.
Light and Darkness with a Smidge of Coverage
When it comes to talking about the amount of water your orchid plant needs to thrive, its overall environment plays a role in the ability of your plant to hold onto any available moisture.
The lighting preference for your Phalaenopsis orchid tends towards the shady side of the room.
You will note that they would prefer an east face setting that avoids direct sunlight that might damage the plant.
Further, adding a bit of coverage in the form of woodchips, for instance, will keep the soil from drying out too soon under direct sunlight.
With these preliminaries taken care of, let’s look at your watering regimen to ensure the best possible result for your plant.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.