If there happens to be any contest for the most graceful, exotic, and collectible flower on earth, none other than orchids will be the winner.
Apart from being one of the most elegant and vibrant blooms, they are very fussy regarding their care and maintenance.
If an orchid-grower fails to meet any one of the requirements, it will react instantly by wilting its buds or leaves.
Since the world of gardening never stops experimenting, water has become another successful planting medium for orchids.
Most gardeners usually grow orchids in sphagnum moss with charcoal, peat, clay pebbles, and Styrofoam peanuts.
But in recent days, growing orchids in water has been a productive trend.
Many passionate orchid-growers prefer this process. There are many proven cases where water culture has cured an unwell orchid. So for a serious collector and orchid-admirer, the hydroponic process is like a miracle.
Can orchids grow in water?
Yes, orchids can grow in water since it is a decent medium for them to thrive. As we have said earlier, this stunning beauty with a showy presence is a little demanding for their climate and other environmental factors.
If you plant orchids in a mushy or humid medium, there is a high chance the health of this enticing plant will deteriorate.
Even if the potting mixture gets infected, the susceptible plant catches the infection. Unlike most houseplants, orchids are not neglect-tolerant.
So if you are a newbie in the world of orchid-gardening, properly take care of the fancy orchids to receive decorative blossoms as gifts. Selecting a potting mixture is one of the most vital and unskippable steps to maintain orchids.
Since excessive moisture causes root rot, withered leaves, and wilted flowers in orchids, veteran caregivers use grits or shredded bark as soil amendments.
But with water culture, growing orchids has become easy. Even though it sounds weird, an orchid grows relatively well in water.
After many experiments and research, botanists conclude hydroculture is even more practical than the traditional potting mixture.
And as the process is no rocket science, from a novice gardener to one with a green thumb, anyone can do it successfully.
When it comes to orchids, variety is at its peak. Apart from the array of ornamental buds, each variant of orchids prefers a different potting medium to thrive on.
The epiphytic orchids grow on other plants but absorb moisture and nutrients from the air.
Terrestrial orchids, on the other hand, thrive on the ground. But, on average most of the orchids bloom better in a proper orchid mix.
Sphagnum moss is like a life savior to the plant with exotic flowers. Professional orchid growers tend to grow this stunning beauty in sphagnum moss as they keep the roots moist aptly.
Even though the moss maintains perfect wetness in the root system, it also prevents the roots from getting dry timely.
The phenomenon often assists pathogens to shelter in orchids which are the only hydroponic method that can aid you in resolving this issue.
Even after providing an appropriate environment and care, you can notice much paleness in your fancy orchid.
If an orchid with sound health looks peaky during growing or blooming season, there is something wrong.
At this point, you should remove the plant from the potting mixture and investigate the root system thoroughly.
Generally, root deterioration happens due to extreme moisture and improper drainage, and hydroponic orchid growing is an effective solution at this time.
You might feel a little perplexed thinking how water growing can be a solution to a problem that is related to intense dampness.
But let us clear it, water and moisture are two completely different environmental factors. Even though they seem identical as per the common belief, they are not.
So newbie orchid growers do not need to hesitate before growing the magnificent perennial herb in water.
Hydroponic orchid growing is a process of keeping orchids wet and dries aptly. The cycle usually consists of keeping the plant in water for two days and then letting it dry for five days.
Orchids are pretty much nostalgic about their wild habitats and prefer the climate close to their original address.
So only water culture can mimic their preferred habitat and let the plant thrive well with firm roots.
How do you grow orchids in water?
While overwatering can cause the deterioration of roots and plant death, orchids can grow surprisingly well in water.
Redundant moisture can be life-threatening for orchids, kept as a houseplant.
Almost every orchid grower is aware that letting the roots dry out completely is more vital than watering them. It is always advisable to check before every misting whether it is dry or not.
Now we will share a shocking fact that orchids grow in water and even can bloom there. Is it not a surprise how a moisture-intolerant plant survives in a jar of water?
Some seasoned gardeners even share their experiences about how their ailing orchids miraculously have perked up when put in water.
We all know how expensive it is to grow orchids and provide them with all the necessary elements.
Since this exotic beauty requires adequate nutrients to bloom better, an exorbitant orchid mixture is the only option. But with the water growing method, you only need a container full of water.
But hydroponic orchid growing does not refer to taking out the unique perennial from the pot and soaking it in water. This unscientific method can harm your plant by decaying the roots and even put an end to its life.
Epiphytic orchids grow aerial roots to suck nutrients and moisture from the encompassing air. The elevated rhizomes of orchids are what allow adapting the plant to an aqueous existence.
But it does not mean they can survive even in exuberant wetness.
The gardener should monitor the plant regularly while keeping it in water to check the root health. If he sees any sign of deterioration or radix corruption, the caregiver should remove the herb from the water.
But in the case of terrestrial orchids, things are a bit different. The scenario changes as this type of orchid cannot grow in aerial or water roots.
Since terrestrial orchids sprout only in-ground or pot, they need to grow water rootstocks to survive in water. Gardeners with green fingers often suggest applying hydroponic methods only when the regular bulbs of the plant catch any disease or get infected.
Before putting the plants into the water pot, you should remove all the sick tubers as a preventive measure, and else the ill taproots can spread the infection to the whole plant.
After eliminating unwell rootlets, the orchid grower needs to place the plant in a glass jar or any transparent container with adequate water.
In the process of hydroponic, measuring the water level aptly is significant. You need to check if the water is sufficient to cover only the bottom part of the plant, not more than that.
Removing old roots can create a scarcity of radicals in the plant, and your new rootless hydroponic orchids might need support to stand tall.
As it is a matter of a few days until the new tubers appear, a simple stick can do the job. If you do not feel comfortable propping your hydroponic orchid, put it in a container tall enough to keep it upright.
Even though keeping orchids in water is easy and hassle-free, you need to look after the water.
As in hydroponic practice, the quality of water is crucial. It is safe to use fresh deionized water so that the orchids can get the maximum benefit of it.
Since the potting medium is water, it gets dirty due to the plant discharge. So to sustain complete hygiene, it is mandatory to change the water once a week. This step is unskippable for the below three reasons.
- Firstly, the water level drops for evaporation, so changing it can help keep an adequate water level.
- Secondly, the potting medium can hold millions of pathogens and other bacteria, spreading the disease to the plant. So if you do not switch the water, it can be a life-threatening issue for your exotic perennial.
- Last but not least, replacing water aids the oxygenation process. It provides an inundation of oxygen that ensures the eradication of all pathogens and pests. So removing the murky water aids your orchid to sustain sound health.
With the replacement of water, adding orchid fertilizers accelerate the process of development and blooming. Weathered orchid growers suggest using top-quality manure for the embellishing houseplant.
Even though looking after a hydroponic orchid is a straightforward task, any negligence in the compact caring schedule can lead to rootstock disintegration.
During the water culture procedure, many orchid growers experience this problem.
It often starts with discharging a strong odor in the ambiance. If you do not follow it, the situation will get out of hand. So whenever you smell a foul fragrance coming from your unique orchid, do not ignore that. It could be a sign of rhizome rot.
However, we know you want to grasp the hydroponic process more precisely and clearly. So, here we have shared complete guidance of it in a nutshell.
Repotting orchids before letting them get a wet experience
Only a steady and experienced hand can do this step.
While unpotting, carefully remove the potting media from the roots. Then rinse them well with fresh water. It is better to remove the pale or infected ones with a sterilized tool to stop any further contamination. Now your plant is ready to have a long bath in water.
The exotic perennial loves bigger containers
In water culture, the material of the pot does not matter as long as it is big enough.
If you keep orchids in a small container, the roots will create pressure while growing. So orchids prefer to stay in a pot with sufficient rooms.
But a glass jar lets you enjoy the journey of root development of the orchids. If you feel your herb needs support, you can place clay pebbles at the bottom of the jar.
While choosing medium, go for the natural option
Water culture allows only one option as the potting medium, water. If the water of your area contains any toxicity, you cannot amend it with other material. So it is better to use rainwater or distilled water as a medium.
An apt environment for your hydroponic orchid
Like any orchid in general, the hydroponic orchids also need proper light and temperature to bloom with excellence.
You can keep your water-grown orchids in a place with bright yet indirect sunlight.
If your adobe lacks natural light, you can arrange artificial lighting for them. During the resting period, keep the pot in a bit cooler and shaded area.
How long do you keep orchids in water?
The water tolerance of orchids depends on their growing medium. Generally, orchids do not like overwatering.
Since hydroponic orchids have a deeper connection with water, they can bear it for a bit longer than usual orchids. So, here we have briefly discussed how long orchids can stay in the water.
Orchids are grown in a potting mixture
General pot-grown orchids do not have water roots, so they cannot sit in a puddle of water for more than 15 minutes. Since these orchids are dogmatic to excess water or moisture, try to amend their mold to secure well-drainage.
There are two commonly practiced methods when it comes to water culture.
One is to keep your orchids soak in water and replace the medium weekly or biweekly.
And the other one suggests letting the orchid stay in water for two days consecutively and then allowing it to dry for five days. Both are equally effective. So you can try both of them to find out which one is more convenient for you.
If you are an admirer of orchids, you can love them as fancy houseplants.
And while they exalt the surrounding look by their flamboyant presence, you can enjoy the experience of water-growing them. Apart from the memorable journey, the hydroponic system aids unwell orchids to heal quickly.