Learning Phalaenopsis watering begins by understanding that the moth orchid basically grows on trees.
They attach to tree trunks and branches with their roots exposed to the air and absorb nutrients by clinging onto bark and pulling from the air, rain and whatever drips down the tree.
This is why many orchids but particularly phalaenopsis are potted in a very porous, well drained mixture that does not hold water.
Watering phalaenopsis is key to their care as they have no major water storage area other then their leaves. Remember they should never “completely” dry out.
Most orchids today are grown in pots are filled with bark chips, stones, treefern or some other very loose material. Many growers of phals for use indoors use spaghnum moss as their media of choice.
Watering Phalaenopsis At Home – The First Time
When first bringing your moth orchid home give it a good and thorough watering.
I may be wrong but have yet to see an phalaenopsis orchid in stores that was wet. The best place to water your orchid is probably at the kitchen sink.
Use tepid or luke warm water. Watering the plant for about 15 seconds and make sure to thoroughly wet the media completely. Allow the plant to drain for about 15 minutes. It may appear dry but it has had enough water – no over watering!
Whatever you do DO NOT allow your orchid to sit in water, make sure all water drains thoroughly!
How Often To Water Orchids – Watering Schedule
Depending on the season phalaenopsis orchids may need to be watered every 4 to 7 days. The media they are grown in plays a major part.
Let your orchid reach a “point of dryness” but not completely bone dry.
During the week check your plant to see if it needs another watering. Orchid plant watering schedules vary depending on the media and the pot size.
One good method (growing phalaenopsis orchids and houseplants as well) is to thoroughly water the plant and gauge or measure its weight, then when it is time to water, weight the plant again.
If your home is very warm or has low humidity you will most likely need to water more often. If the plant has thick roots you can water less since the roots can store water.
In the the growing season during the spring and summer months moth orchids do require more water, but more water will not make up for a weak or poor root system. Roots need to be plump and alive.
Beware that phalaenopsis orchids when in flower may require more water as the flowers do pull some moisture and energy. Orchids when not actively growing will require less water which is usually during the winter months.
You can check to see if your plant needs water by pushing your finger about one inch into to media or use a pencil to about the same depth. If it is completely dry you can re-water.
If the roots are in a very wet or moist environment they will begin to rot, and there goes the plant.
When watering moth orchids while they are in bloom, try not to get any water on the flowers themselves. This reduces the life of the flowers.
Your plant may be healthy but will have no flowers. A good healthy plant’s blooms should last for many months (3 to 4).
Remember when watering phalaenopsis. Your orchid can withstand periods of forgetfulness and drought better then they can handle over watering. They are not any more difficult to care for than other house plants