The Bird LadyThe Bird Lady Posts: 108

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



  • BiljeBilje Posts: 378

    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. 

  • 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.

  • The Bird LadyThe Bird Lady Posts: 108

    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?

  • flowering roseflowering rose Posts: 1,632

    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 trees.do not water until bone dry and do not leave standing in water.like a bright but not too sunny a spot and you feed them when in flower with orchid feed or tomato feed once a month.

  • lisa masseylisa massey Posts: 252

    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.

  • KT53KT53 Posts: 2,155

    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 image.  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.

  • The Bird LadyThe Bird Lady Posts: 108

    Thanks very much everyone! image

  • @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...

  • @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".

  • The Bird LadyThe Bird Lady Posts: 108

    Thank you! image

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