Orchid Plant Food & Watering
Orchids are the favorite flowers of many people around the world. Dedicated growers know that orchids can be difficult to grow and require dedicated attention. The reward of a healthy blooming orchid is well worth the hard work that the grower puts into it. Before trying to grow your own orchid plant, learn about the type of environment and feeding you will need to provide it with. This will increase your chances of growing a healthy, beautiful plant.
Frequency of Watering
- The frequency with which you water your orchid will depend on the species. Overwatering is detrimental to orchids and can cause the deterioration of the roots. Water the flower as directed by the grower or nursery and provide an adequate irrigation system to keep roots from sitting in the water. You can buy a pot that allows water to drain into a compartment beneath the roots, or you can create your own filtration system by filling the bottom of the pot with gravel. It is also a good idea to water plants from below, by setting the pot in shallow water. When orchids are watered from above, the flowers and leaves can become damaged.
Water Temperature and Timing
- Pay attention to the temperature of the water. Orchids naturally grow in humid and warm environments. Cold water–below 50 degrees F–can damage the root system and compromise the health of the flower. Room temperature water is perfectly fine for orchids. It is also preferable to water your orchids in the morning. This way, they can absorb the water before it becomes dark and slightly cooler at night. This prevents the plants from attracting fungus and bacterial diseases.
- Water your orchids with the right quality of water. Ideally, orchids should be watered with slightly acidic water, with a pH level of around 6.5. The tap water in your house is usually fine to use. However, households that use water-softening treatments may need to buy water for their orchids. The treated water can contain too much sodium for the orchids. Many orchid growers like to use collected rainwater to feed their orchids. It usually has the ideal pH balance. However, rainwater may not have enough calcium, iron and magnesium. The best practice is to use quality tap water.
- Fertilize your orchid in order to keep it healthy and growing. An optimal fertilizer mix for orchids contains a mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, also referred to as NPK. The NPK rating for an orchid fertilizer should be around 20-20-20. Other trace elements may be necessary for orchid health, such as calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Commercial orchid fertilizer will contain the correct amounts of these elements.
- Fertilize your orchids often but in small amounts. Buy a fertilizer that can be dissolved into water, either in a liquid or powdered form. Follow the directions on the package and dilute it by half. You can fertilize your plants every time you water them.