As with all living things water is a prerequisite of life and making sure your Orchid has the right amount of quality water is essential if you are to grow a beautiful and healthy Orchid.
Many people become lazy about watering their Orchids and this can only result in a dead or damaged plant.
In most countries the water from a tap is suitable, but not ideal, for your Orchid. Tap water is passed through a treatment process to make it drinkable for humans. This does not always mean tap water will be suitable for your Orchid as it can produce a build up in your Orchids soil of varying types of salts which are dissolved in standard tap water.
A much more natural way to water your Orchid is using rainwater. Rainwater contains organic nutrients dissolved within it, which can aid your Orchids growth. When collecting rainwater for use on your Orchid it is important to ensure that the container you are using is clean and free from any type of manufactured cleaning agents.
Using water that is not at the same temperature as that of the air surrounding your Orchid can damage the root system of your Orchid. It can be difficult to detect when your Orchid has damaged roots and therefore the best practice is to use water that is at room temperature when watering your Orchid. If you are using tap water or rainwater for that matter leaving the water to stand in the same room as your Orchid for 10 – 15 minutes is always a good idea.
Orchids can be fussy about the conditions they find themselves in. Get the conditions right and you will have a beautiful blooming Orchid, too little water and your Orchid will survive but not as spectacularly and not for as long either while too much water can lead to root rot and a dead Orchid.
One possibility if your Orchid seems to be suffering in its present state is poor water quality. Water quality is measured on a scale of 0 – 14 called the pH scale, on this scale 7 is neutral 0 – 6 means your water is acidic and 8 – 14 you have alkaline water.
Rainwater has a pH of around 5.6 making it slightly acidic. The reason for this is that as rainwater passes through the atmosphere carbon dioxide becomes dissolved within it forming carbonic acid. Standard drinking water has a pH of between 6.5 and 6.8 making it almost neutral.
Research carried out to test optimum water pH for Orchids has shown that a pH of between 5.5 and 6.5 is suitable for Orchids. You must remember that this is the recommended pH of the water after the addition of any type of fertilizer.
Finding the pH of the water you currently use to water your Orchids can be achieved by using a pH meter. Standard pH meters are made up of a glass electrode or probe attached to an electronic meter which will provide you with the pH or your water.
In the case that your water is deemed to be too acidic you can boost the pH of your water using liquid potassium; this is also referred to as a pH Booster. Too alkaline and the addition of lemon juice, which contains citric acid, to your water will bring the pH back to an acceptable level.
Watering your Orchids in the morning is recommended. As night falls and conditions become cooler water that has trickled into gaps in the leaves provides the optimum condition for the growth of bacteria and fungi. By watering your Orchid first thing when you wake up the sunlight during the day will evaporate any excess water residue on the leaves and provide nowhere for bacteria of fungi to grow.
Watering your Orchid correctly is absolutely essential when it comes to caring for Orchids. Get the watering right and I know that you will have an Orchid you can be proud of in no time whatsoever.