How Often to Water Orchids?

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Orchids are gorgeous but they are not the easiest plant to take care of. Too often they don’t last as long as they should. To help you prolong the life of your orchid, here are details about their watering schedule.

How often to water orchids: Orchids need steady access to water, so aim to water once or twice a week. During the winter when the plant doesn’t grow as much, you can move to watering once a week. The best way to water an orchid is by submerging the bottom of the container in water and then letting it drain.

How often do you water indoor orchids?

Indoor orchids need a lot of water. Instead of traditional soil, orchids should be planted in a mixture of materials such as bark, peat moss, rock wool, perlite, and stones.

As a result of these materials, water isn’t absorbed as it would with soil. However, materials such as bark and moss will hold water for a few days.

In the summer, you should water your orchid twice a week. This will ensure it doesn’t dry out and the materials can hold the maximum amount of water.

In the winter, when your orchid becomes more dormant, you can shift to watering just once a week. The plant won’t grow as quickly and the cooler temperatures mean there is less water evaporation.  

How often do you water outdoor orchids?

Even though orchids are tropical plants and don’t like cold temperatures, you can place them outside for half of the year. In fact, orchids do better if they are left outside in the warmer months.

The one disadvantage of leaving your orchid outside is that it is more susceptible to the elements. Instead of the constant temperatures that the indoors offer, outside, orchids need more attention.

You should still aim to water your orchid once or twice a week when it is outside. However, if it is very hot out, you will need to increase the frequency as the water in the container will evaporate quicker.

Be sure to move your orchid inside well before the first frost appears in the fall. Even if temperatures are warm enough during the day, they may be far too cold for your orchid at night and can damage the whole plant.

What is the best way to water orchids?

There are a few ways to water an orchid but some are better than others. If you are short on time, you can always simply add water to the top of the plant. While this isn’t the best, it will still keep your plant alive.

However, if you have the time and are dedicated to your orchid, the better method is to submerge the container in water. This will ensure all the soil is saturated and the roots are happier.

Place your orchid container in the sink or a bucket of water. Leave it in the water for a few minutes and then take it out. Then, let the container drain so that there is no excess water.

Finally, place the container on a lid or tray to catch any extra drips. Your plant’s roots will be happy and the whole plant will benefit from the water.

How do you know when an orchid needs water?

The roots of an orchid tell a vast and complicated story. They are the best way of understanding whether your plant needs more or less water.

Roots that are green in color are healthy and receive the right amount of water. If your orchid is not getting enough water, then the roots will turn grey or white.

If you are new to owning an orchid, be sure to regularly check the roots. Over time, you will get into a natural rhythm but there is a period of learning and if you can spot a color change in the roots right away, then your orchid will be just fine.

As the roots start to dry out, so, too will the bottom leaves and stem of the orchid. Look for discoloration as the green foliage turns yellow or even brown if the plant is severely dehydrated.

These leaves will eventually fall off if they are left underwater for too long. Then, the orchid plant might start to fall over as it loses all the moisture in its stem.

What are the signs of overwatering an orchid?

Just as you should check the roots of an orchid for signs of underwatering, you should also monitor the roots for overwatering. In this case, the roots will turn brown.

If overwatering persists, the roots wills start to turn brown and rot will set in. In time, a gross odor may come from the roots, indicating a deep layer of rot.

For orchid plants that have been exposed to too much water, you should try to clean up the roots to make the plant healthier. Use a clean and sharp pair of gardening shears and trim back any roots that have a rotted look to them.

This will hopefully stop any infection from spreading and keep your orchid alive.

Do orchids need to be in direct sunlight?

There are many different types of orchids and all of them come with different light needs. This can make caring for the plant difficult as you need to carefully read the growing instructions that come with your specific orchid.

Many orchids like full sun but there are some that do better in shade. Furthermore, there are many varieties that like partial sun, or just enough sun for the flowers to bloom.

Just note that if your orchid likes full sun, you may need to water it more frequently as the warmer environment will evaporate water faster. In contrast, orchids that grow in shade won’t require as much sun and in fact, are more at risk of root rot.


Orchids can be overwhelming to beginner gardeners as they need specific care. However, once you know how to water your orchid, taking care of it will be a lot easier. Be sure to read our other articles about orchids which take the mystery out of caring for this gorgeous plant.

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