Taking care of your orchids need not be time consuming, many are tolerant of neglect but all orchids will respond well to good care. Follow this straightforward advice on how to water your plants correctly.
How to test if your orchids need water
Although moisture meters are available one of the best and simplest methods is to insert you finger into the medium to about 1 "(25 mm) if the tip of your finger is dry when removed then you need to water your plant.If after testing you are still really uncertain as to if you should water your plant then I suggest that you err on the side of caution and mist your plant instead as nothing will kill your orchid faster than having its roots water logged.
When to water
As each orchid has its own basic need for water it is not possible to give an exact indication as to when and how frequently you should water your plant as it depends on your plant and the room temperature and seasonal variations.Under average conditions you should water your plants once or twice a week during the growing season and about one every 2 weeks in the winter.
Do not get into the habit of watering your plants according to a strict schedule though, every Monday and Friday for example, as this may not be appropriate. Also many beginners afraid of over or under watering their orchids will often give dribbles of water every day or two, please do not. Test the moisture content of the growing medium as previously indicated to see if watering is necessary.
What water to use
You can use tap water provided that you are not in a hard water area and it has not been softened with sodium based additives. However rain water is ideal, so long as it is not stagnant. To avoid shock to your plant make sure that the water is at room temperature before use.
How to water your plants
Firstly your should water your orchids in the morning to avoid the possibility that they will be surrounded by excess water during the cooler periods of the day. Most pot grown orchids should be watered thoroughly from the top, unlike most house plants. Slowly pour water over the whole of the surface until the water flows freely from the bottom of the pot and then allow it to drain. Do not let the plant stand in any excess water
Another way to water your plant, especially useful if your plant is pot bound or in a basket is to use the immersion method.To do this, immerse you pot in water until the water just comes up to just below the surface of your growing medium and leave until you can see the evidence that the water has permeated up to the surface of the medium (about 30 minutes). Then remove your pot from the water and allow it to drain. Do not water plants that have only just been re-potted by this method though.
Whichever method you use for watering your plants, take care to keep the center of the plant dry to prevent rot. If water does get into the center of your plant then dab it dry with clean tissues or kitchen towel.
All orchids will enjoy a morning misting to moisten the leaves. The plants are misted in the morning to allow excess water that is not absorbed to evaporate off the leaves during the warmth of the day. This mimics the natural morning mist that occurs in the habit of most epiphyte orchid types that are now the most common orchid grown in homes.
If the plants are mistested when they are subject to cooler temperatures, evenings for example, when evaporation would naturally be slower, the excess sitting moisture could cause damage or the formation of bacterial rot. When causing just mist the leaves and any aerial roots trying to avoid the flowers.