Watering and Feeding
How much water and food does my orchid need?
Just like people, it varies a little, but we’ll give you some guidelines. The most important thing to remember is that your plant will let you know by the color and health of it’s foliage, roots and flowers.
Over-watering is the most common cause for an orchid’s demise. Orchids love the air which is why so many have the roots growing out of the pots. The vellum on those roots can absorb some water, however the humidity in homes is not that of a rainforest, so they’ll need a little extra. Their bark or moss will have the tendency to look a little dry, tempting you to water frequently, but doing so will drown (or suffocate) the roots, thus making the situation bleak for your little friend.
Bark grown orchids will need water approximately once per week in the winter months and twice per week in the summer months.
Moss grown orchids should be watered approximately every 10 days, giving the plant time to dry out a little (the moss will still have a little give to the touch, but is not bone dry.)
How to water:
When watering your orchids, remember water heavily, not frequently.
Let the water pass through the pot completely for a minute or more so that the bark is saturated. If you prefer you can soak the orchid in water for a few minutes which will provide better water absorption into the bark and perlite.
Growing in a container without drainage? By default, you are using the soak method. Fill the pot with water and let it sit for a few minutes. Tilt the pot on it’s side to drain the excess water. Wait a few minutes, then tilt and drain the pot a second time. This will prevent the plant from sitting in water.
Water in the morning hours so that the plant will have the day for the leaves and crown to dry. Water sitting in the crown overnight can cause crown rot. Avoid getting water on any flowers if possible.
Symptoms of a watering problem:
Over-watering will cause leaves to yellow and begin to shrivel (due to a lack of oxygen around the roots). Most people think that these are signs of under-watering, and will compound the problem with more watering. Another sign of over-watering is that of mushy brown or black roots found slightly under the mix. If you see either of these symptoms, let the plant dry out a little before it’s next watering.
Under-watering is far less common but will result in shriveled roots, which turn brittle and gray. Sometimes the problem isn’t from the frequency in which you water, but the method. Watering lightly does not allow the water to fully reach the roots, therefore causing the salts and fertilizer to settle around the roots rather than “wash” through the pot, allowing the roots to absorb only what they need.
So why should I feed my orchid?
Feeding provides complete nutrition to your orchid, like a well balanced diet does for you. The proper diet aids in orchid root and shoot development, thus making the plant healthier, therefore reblooming is easier.
The ideal orchid food will contain primary macronutrients, which are nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium (the N-P-K) that you see on labels, as well as other micronutrients, such as iron, manganese, copper, molybdenum and zinc.
Keep feeding your orchids easy. Our nursery proven Pro Blend Orchid Food has be formulated to work well with the various feeding needs of different species. Avid orchid enthusiasts may choose to feed their Phalaenopsis, Dendrobiums and Vandas more frequently, while easing it up on their Miltonias and Paphiopedilums. Over-fertilizing is rare and does not cause significant problems. Either way, the important point is that the orchids get fed on a consistent basis.
We recommend that you feed every second watering. This will increase your feeding during the longer summer days, thus reducing the feeding during short winter days.
How to Feed:
Add one half teaspoon of Pro Blend Orchid Food into one gallon of water, mixing well. You’ll find the measuring spoon right in the bag. Using warm water will dissolve the fertilizer more quickly and completely. Water heavily with the mixture, using it every second watering.
Gubler’s Pro Blend Orchid Food
We’ve worked hard at perfecting our proprietary blend for ease of use while maximizing results. We use ammonical nitrogen for fast absorption and nitrate nitrogen to provide a steady supply. Our formula does not contain Urea, which will help your orchid to grow faster and your orchid mix will last longer. No fragrance or colorants have been added so you may notice a slight odor (from the Sulfur) and the food will be a mint green color (from the combining of the elements copper and iron). A caking agent was added to prevent hardening of the food. Squeeze the bag and it will easily break apart.
As with all chemical fertilizer, do not swallow and remember to keep away from children and pets.