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Orchids are capricious beauties: most species need high humidity, but cannot tolerate "wet feet". Watering must be done with care so that the sensitive roots are not damaged and the plant ultimately dies. However, how often you should water orchids depends on so many different factors that it is not possible to make general statements on this.

Orchids should be watered about once a week

Don't water orchids too often

Many orchids should be neither too dry nor too moist, while others should stay dry from time to time. The latter group includes the popular Phalaenopsis, which you only water when the substrate feels dry. In general - the instructions apply to many types of orchids, but not all - you should water the flowering plants about once or twice a week. However, how often you actually have to water depends on these conditions, among others:

  • orchid species
  • substrate used / use of substrate at all
  • Location (full sun or partial shade, window or terrarium, bathroom or living room… )
  • Ambient temperature and season (heated air in winter!)
  • Humidity (Orchids above a heater need more water…)

How do you know that your orchids need water?

Don't wait until your orchids have lost their leaves and flowers before watering. At this point, the roots may already have been damaged by the prolonged drought. You should therefore regularly check with your fingers whether the substrate in the pot still feels moist or already dry. If it is dry at a depth of about two centimetres, water the orchid thoroughly. The substrate should be deeply moistened to the bottom of the pot, allowing excess water to drain away. Therefore, wait a few minutes after watering and pour away any water that has run through the planter. If you keep the humidity high, for example by spraying the orchids regularly or by always having a bowl of water on the heater, you will need to water the plants much less frequently. Orchids are able to absorb and process liquid from the environment through their leaves.

The main rules for watering orchids

It is likely that most window sill orchids receive far too much water rather than dying from lack of moisture. Therefore, water the flowers as sparingly as possible or less often, but more vigorously. Frequent watering in small sips, on the other hand, is not recommended, since with this method too little water reaches the roots, especially those located further down. Also make sure:

  • do not use cold tap water
  • Descale and warm up tap water before watering
  • collect and use rainwater whenever possible
  • Alternatively, mix decalcified tap water and distilled water
  • do not use mineral or sparkling water for watering


Orchids can be easily watered by sticking three to four fiberglass wicks into the pot, guiding them through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot and letting them hang in a container with water underneath. Irrigation is carried out by capillary forces and is well suited e.g. for the vacation time.

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