Phalaenopsis Orchids are the most commonly bought orchids in the houseplant trade. They’re the large flowered, cheery faced ones that do the best in our home environs and also the easiest to care for. They’re sold in florist shops, in nurseries, in big box stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Home Depot and Lowes. In other words, there’s no shortage of Phals!
I live in a major orchid growing region of our country, Santa Barbara CA, and they’re even available at our farmers market. I’ve read and heard many opinions from many sources on the best ways to water these Moth Orchids so I want to share with you how I water mine.
This orchid has been blooming for 3 months now & only has 3 flowers left on it. I’ll be cutting it back soon.
As a general rule, I water mine every 7-14 days. Here are my guidelines when it comes to watering Phalaenopsis Orchids.
In bark: Water more often because it runs right out of the bark.
In moss: Water less often because the the moss holds moisture. Even if the top of the moss is dry, below it may be still be soaked so be sure to check.
Letting the water drain through: This is very important because the roots of your orchid don’t like to sit in water. Remember, they are epiphytes which means they grow on other plants & not in soil. They get a lot of the water they need from the humidity in the tropical air.
Also, don’t splash in a bit of water every other day – water your Phalaenopsis thoroughly when you do. If your orchid has gone bone dry, you may need to soak it for 10 minutes but one more time, makes sure all water drains out.
Water temperature: For me, it’s tepid, room temperature water all the way.
Hanging out in my kitchen showing you how I water my Phals:
Home temperature: I live in a temperate climate & don’t have air conditioning nor do I use a lot of heat. Even though our days are warm, our evenings cool down & that’s what Phalaenopsis love. My orchids dry out a bit more in summer & a bit less in winter. For you, your homes may be cooler or warmer in the summer or winter so you’ll need to adjust the watering frequency a bit for that.
Humidity/dry: I live about 8 blocks from the ocean & have my windows open for about 7-8 months out of the year. That means my Phals get a lot of the humidity they love. There’s no need for me to spray the leaves or have them sit in a pebble tray. The higher the humidity, the less often you’ll water. The drier your home is, the more often you’ll need to water.
Pot Size: I have a Darling Orchid which is in a very small pot. I water it more often than my orchids which are in larger pots.
Pot Type: Something like plastic will dry out a bit slower than something porous like terra cotta.
Topdressing: If your orchids are top dressed with moss, bark, glass chips or the like, they will dry out slower.
Water quality: My tap water is extremely hard so I have a reverse osmosis drinking water system (I use potassium chloride in the tank outside) & that’s the water I use for my orchids & houseplants. My friend has many orchids & has used distilled water for years with great success. You’ll hear lots of opinions on the type of water to use so without getting too technical, I just want to tell you to be sure to do a little research on your own regarding the water you’re using & what’s best. Your tap water may be just fine.
In short, distilled water, rain water & reverse osmosis water lack some of the minerals that orchids need so you might need to supplement with fertilizers.
Ice cubes: This is something I have no experience with but there are some sites which recommend using 3 ice cubes to water your Phals. This is mainly to avoid over watering. I can’t image these tropical plants would love frozen water melting into them!
This is my Darling Orchid which has been blooming for 4 months now – a good investment!
The bottom line is: Be sure not to over water your Phalaenopsis Orchids or use water that is high in salts.
This is a subject that many have an opinion on so I just wanted to share my experiences with you. My Phalaenopsis Orchids repeat bloom and do very well. As a matter of fact, I just bought another one a few weeks ago. What have you learned about watering Phalaenopsis Orchids? Enquiring minds want to know!
Here’s my newest Phal which I gussied it up a bit.