Phalaenopsis orchids are especially loved by florists, and they are admired for their delicate flowers that look like tropical colorful butterflies. However, sometimes we have to hear opinions that such orchids are too capricious and it is difficult to grow them. Indeed, there are peculiarities in care – you need to know them. And following these rules is actually not so difficult. One of the main points is watering.
Features of the plant
Phalaenopsis is an epiphytic plant, which means it gets its moisture from the air and its root system is practically open. The orchid is able to store liquid in its roots because they are covered with velamen, a layer of dead cells that resembles a sponge. But if unused moisture is retained inside for too long, rotting can occur.
Phalaenopsis are not planted in soil, but in a special breathable substrate, consisting mainly of pieces of bark.
Overdrying the roots of this exotic plant tolerates much better than overwatering, but you should not test it for drought tolerance either. These features are the reason for the special attention to watering.
When to water?
The water requirement of the plant depends on the growing conditions, temperature and humidity. It is not necessary to water phalaenopsis more often than once or twice a week in any season, except during the hot summer. But this is a rough schedule. In order not to flood the roots, you should focus on complete drying of the roots and substrate. There are several signs to make sure.
- Experienced growers often determine the need for watering by the weight of the pot. Dried substrate is much lighter than wet substrate. Beginners will have to experiment by holding the watered plant in their hands several times and comparing it with its own weight after about 7-10 days.
- To determine the moisture content of the pot, you can simply dip a wooden stick (such as a Chinese sushi stick) into the pot. If it is completely dry when you remove it, it is time to water.
- The color of the roots is also a guide in this matter. When they are wet, their color is bright green, when they dry out, the rootlets become gray with a slight silvery patina. This is especially noticeable when growing orchids in transparent containers, but even in ordinary pots there are airy roots on top.
- Finally, you can always touch the substrate with your finger and be guided by your own feelings.
The main principle – it is better to over-dry a little than to over-water. You can do as follows: if it seems that it is already possible to water, wait another 1-2 days, then it is definitely time.
There are no strict requirements for the time of day for watering. Since the place for phalaenopsis is usually chosen quite bright, but without direct sunlight, there will be no danger of “burning”. The only caveat is that you should not water abundantly late in the evening. This is due to the fact that the roots of this plant in the dark time are not able to absorb moisture, so it will take longer for them to dry out.
For Phalaenopsis, this is the most suitable option. For the immersion to be successful, you need to prepare a container larger in size than the pot with the flower. If you have several plants, you can simply take a basin in which they will fit all at once. Put the orchids in the container and pour water with a watering can so that it covered the pots and overflowed into the substrate. It usually takes 20 minutes to moisten the roots and the pieces of bark they are in.
After this procedure, you need to let the excess moisture drain from the pots, so the most convenient place for such watering at home is a bathtub. The plants removed from the container with water are placed in it.
Only when all the excess liquid has drained through the drainage holes are the orchids returned to their permanent places.
The usual way
Watering Phalaenopsis with a watering can also be done using the normal method. But since water flows through the substrate quickly and does not have time to be absorbed properly, such watering is likely to be insufficient.
From the tray
If the orchid is watered in the tray, it will take the necessary amount of moisture, but on the condition that the container is of sufficient volume and the pot has wide drainage holes. But with long stagnant water there is a danger of rotting of the roots. Therefore, this method can be used only as a last resort when there is no possibility to water the plants regularly.
Phalaenopsis can absorb moisture not only through its roots, but also through its leaves. In addition, the air in winter in heated rooms can be too dry. For these reasons, regular spraying of the plants with hot (up to 40°C) water is recommended. Such a procedure will both help to remove dust from the leaf plates and stimulate flowering.
How do I moisten during flowering?
Flowering phalaenopsis will probably need more frequent watering. You should also be guided by the signs mentioned above. When the plant has to be moved to be submerged in water, you must be especially careful not to break the long flower stems.
Water intended for irrigation should be clean and soft. It can be filtered and boiled beforehand. These methods allow you to clean the water from various impurities that are harmful to the fragile plant. Many people use distilled water for watering. By the way, it is the ideal option for watering the plant, as it has no pathogenic impurities and heavy metals. But at the same time it does not contain trace elements and salts necessary for normal plant growth. So if you prefer to water your Phalaenopsis with distilled water you have to take into account that the orchid needs trace elements which can also be added with fertiliser.
How do I water a blooming orchid?
As soon as you notice the young buds, you need to completely reconsider your watering regime. All the necessary conditions must be created for your orchid to transform from an unsightly stalk with its branched leaves into a beautiful flower that is a joy to behold.
Phalaenopsis produces seeds during the flowering period. They are very small and barely visible. Volatile, they can travel several kilometers from their birthplace. In nature, when the rainy season begins, the seeds cannot fly far away. Therefore, it is advisable to stick to the following watering mechanism:
- Moisten only the roots of the plant, trying to get as much moisture as possible, but do not drown them.
- If the air in the room is too dry, you can sprinkle the leaves with a sprinkler, but make sure not to hit the hiding places of the plant. If this does happen, remove the excess moisture with a dry cloth.
- During flowering, the orchid should also be watered as the substrate dries out. As a rule, it is once a week.
If you give Phalaenopsis the right care, especially watering, you will not have to wait long for beautiful “butterflies” on elegant flower stalks.
At Viva Orchids of Boca Raton, we create our compositions using only the highest quality orchids from the best growers. Our orchids will delight you with their blooms and stunning scent for weeks to come.
Order your favorite arrangement from our catalog you can on the site or by phone at 347-210-6993, 561-507-0073. We hand-deliver our compositions, the cost of delivery is calculated automatically when you place your order.
When you order from Viva Orchids of Boca Raton, you will definitely be left with our orchid arrangements because we do our best to respect and fulfill your wishes.