Watering Moth Orchids  Part II

peloric phal

* Moisture loving orchids such as phalaenopsis like to stay moist at all times. This does not mean they should be kept wet. Obviously when you water they will be wet for a few hours, but then, they should dry out and stay moist for several days.

* Excessive watering will kill orchid roots, and will  cause the mix, especially bark mixes,  to start breaking down.  As it does so, it holds less air, and thus more moisture. The result is that the roots, stay wetter, are deprived of oxygen, and are more likely to rot.


You need to water your moth orchid not when it is wet, but when the mix is just damp to the touch. There are some methods to help you get the hang of this:

If your plant is in a bark mix:

1. Stick a pencil about an inch into the mix-if the tip is just damp then water your moth orchid again.

2. Put your finger about an inch into the mix and wiggle it around-if it feels moist then wait before you water again.

3. If you're not sure your orchid needs water, wait a day before watering.

Remember, your phalaenopsis orchid must never go  bone dry between waterings. Some species require a drier winter rest, but this does not apply to most phalaenopsis  so simply aim to keep your plants moist at all times.

If your orchid is in a peat-based mix such as pro-mix, water when the mix turns a greyish color, or begins to pull away slightly from the edge of the pot. You can also use either of the methods described above. These mixes can be misleading, because while the surface is dry, deep inside the  pot, the mix is still quite wet.

Far more phalaenopsis are sold  are sold growing in sphagnum moss which also retains moisture for much longer periods than bark mixes. With moss, you have to really be careful that it not stay soggy. Make sure the top few inches of mix are beginning to grow dry before watering again. In this case its best to use your finger to check for dampness.









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