Orchid watering tips

General tips for watering orchids:
  • Increase the pot depth, or pot size, increases the rewatering time. Example: When the pot depth is doubled, the rewatering time increases by a factor of four. So if you want to increase the moisture for the orchid, consider using a bigger pot, or use the same diameter pot, but a deeper version. Increase the pot depth by about 30 percent, for the same diameter pot, will double the rewatering time. Conversely, if the pot depth is reduced by about 30 percent, the rewatering time will be reduced by 50 percent using the same potting material.
  • Do not restrict the drain holes in the bottom of the pot by setting pots in saucers that cut off drainage or air circulation to the drain holes. Completely sealing the bottom holes can increase the rewatering time by a factor of four.
  • Consider soaking the potting material thoroughly, especially in the case of fir bark, otherwise that material will evaporate moisture rapidly. Fir bark that is allowed to dry too much will sometimes not reabsorb moisture quickly. Soaking the bark then becomes more important to prevent wrinkled leaves or a desiccated plant, especially when the plant is grown in a wood orchid basket.
  • Air circulation fans can reduce the rewatering time significantly, if the potted plant is in the direct air stream of the fan, and the air velocity is too high. Air baffles can shield the plant from the effects of the fan while still maintaining good air movement.
  • When potting materials decompose and lose mechanical strength, they typically compress, reduce aeration and retain much more water. That condition is one of the factors that influence when repotting the plant is justified. Not recognizing that condition can be fatal to the health of the plant.