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15/03/2014 at 09:13

I've been given an orchid for my birthday - can I water it with tap water or does it require something special?

15/03/2014 at 09:29

I have been the carer of several moth orchids..phalenopsis ..for a few years and they continue to flower and grow. Mine get watered with  room temperature tap water I plunge them in a bowl  to their rims for about 20 mins once every 7 to 10 days. In the warmer months I use a week tomato fertiliser feed in the bowl. It works for me. 

15/03/2014 at 13:13

If your tap water is calcareous, you should avoid watering your orchid with it. Most orchids, except Cymbidium and Paphiopedilum prefer rain water, bottled water low in calcium, or water obtained through reverse osmosis.

It depends on your tap water quality and what kind of orchid you got.

15/03/2014 at 13:50

Thanks for the responses - it is phalenopsis. 

I understand that it is better to water from below and the instruction card that came with it says not to remove it from its pot.  Will it not become potbound over time?  The other thing that it says is to cut off the flower spike when it's finished - what happens after that?

15/03/2014 at 16:42

do not water with tap water unless it has stood for 24hrs as they do not like the chemicals in it they like rain water,heat,misting,and grow in bark as they grow on not water until bone dry and do not leave standing in a bright but not too sunny a spot and you feed them when in flower with orchid feed or tomato feed once a month.

15/03/2014 at 17:05

Jean-Marie le Bars, what water do cymbidium prefer? I've been 'plunging' mine once a week in rain water, but the ends of some of the leaves are looking a bit yellow and would it prefer a clear pot to the black one it's in? It does look a bit pot bound but should I repot or do they like it like that? thankyou for any advice you can give.

15/03/2014 at 17:21

It seems that everybody has different ideas of how to treat orchids.  All I can tell you is what has worked for me, and we have about a dozen which are now flowering for a second year. This is phalaenopsis type.

I use tepid tap water and plunge the pot in to the water for about 10 minutes approximately every 7 to 10 days.  If the 'roots' are bright and fleshy it doesn't need watering, if they start to look soft they need watering. 

During the summer months I stood them all outside in a bright car port and mist sprayed straight from the garden hose once a week or so.

I experimented with cutting the flower shoot right back and to within a couple of nodes of the bottom.  It didn't really make any noticable difference to the way it threw out the new stems.  Do be careful with the new stems as they can be quite brittle and the tip is very easy to knock off as I discovered .  Good news it that it has since flowered again.

As they are only in their second year I've not had cause to consider repotting yet.

16/03/2014 at 09:57

Thanks very much everyone!

18/03/2014 at 15:14

@lisa massey : Cymbidiums do best with some calcium ions in their medium (soil). It can be given trough tap water (if yours is calcareous), or you can add a little bit of dolomite, crushed chalk, crushed shell...

18/03/2014 at 15:26

@the Bird Lady : thare are two ways of dealing with Phalaenopsis spikes. When it has finished blooming, I suggest you to try the following : cut the spike about an inch above the third node (or at least above a node that is still fresh and green). It often (but not all the time) triggers reblooming ; a new spike will grow from the node, giving you some extra flowers.

Some botanical Phalaenopsis, and even some hybrids, are able to rebloom 1 time (or several times) on the same spike. The only way to know what will happen is to left your spike uncut. You'll see if it becomes yellow and woody, or if it stays green ; in that case, don't cut it until it has dried.

As an example (for illustration), I have an hybrid Phalaenopsis called "Magic Touch". After it has finished blooming, the spike dries on 1/3 or half of its length. Then it goes dormant. The next year, a new spike emerges, and the old one awakes and produces some new buds ; then it definitely dries. So each flowering spike has some kind of a "2-year lifecycle".

19/03/2014 at 08:56

Thank you!

19/03/2014 at 09:55

Thankyou, Jean-Marie.

26/05/2014 at 11:07

This is an amazing plant, although there are no new buds, the flowers still look as fresh as they did back in March!! 

26/05/2014 at 11:12

I've got one that I've had for 23 years. It has never been repotted, although I do feed it occasionally with orchid food. Some years it doesn't produce a flower spike, other years I might get 2 or 3. Amazing is right!

23/09/2014 at 19:36

OK, so now my Orchid has finished flowering, all the flowers have gone and the two spikes have died so I cut them back.  It has some beautiful glossy new leaves and the roots are starting to poke out of the bottom of the pot. 

Should I repot it and if so, when?  I must say I'm very impressed at the flowering period, it was in full flower in March and stayed in flower until the end of August - brilliant!



03/10/2014 at 18:47


03/10/2014 at 21:18
Once again this old gent has to admit. I haven't read all the replies. The old windows are gettingtired.

Firstly. Did you know. The orchid is part of the largest family of plants?
Then did you know that the Royal Botanic Garden Kew. Each year put on such a fantastic display of most of the orchids.
The Orchid Socy usually puts on a display at the RHS Halls in London and RHS Wisley do similar.

Bird Lady. Love your avitar. I have had two GS both from rescue cenetre. graet animals. In my book. GS and Border Collies. The most loyal and cleverist of the dog family. Now, how about a piccy of you. ooops!
03/10/2014 at 21:46

gosh - hadn't realised phalenopsis were so complicated - it is the one plant my son manages to maintain healthily whilst I am out of the country for a month at a time.

His recipe for success?... and I have five which have been flowering over the last five years:

They like to be light but not in direct sunlight.

Once a week a pops them in a large washing up bowl - waters from the top with tap water and leaves to stand in the bowl for about one hour.  Then lifts out, drains off exessive water and pops back in their pot-holders taking care to leave the surface roots exposed to the air.

That's it.  They are all flourishig and poroduce new flower spikes regularly.

ps: the ones you buy in Ikea for £5.99 do just as well as any of the others!

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