Like everyone else plants, orchidsgrown at home need watering and spraying. But to use for this basic agrotechnical reception you need water of a certain quality. To determine how to water the orchid, you need to know the chemical composition, that is, to check the acidity and hardness of the water - you may have to take measures to soften it.
Water enters the plants through the roots, passes inside the shoots, where it participates in metabolism, transport, biochemical processes (including photosynthesis and respiration) and leaves the plant, evaporating through the stomata of the leaves.
In various organs of an orchid, the water content varies widely and varies depending on the species, age and surrounding conditions. The hotter the room, the faster the process of evaporation of moisture from the leaf surface through the stomata takes place and the slower (until complete cessation) is the process of water absorption through the roots.
This page describes in detail how to properly water and spray orchids at home, as well as how to use water for these purposes.
What water to water the orchids at home: quality and temperature
Often, tap water is saturated with chlorine, calcium, magnesium and iron salts. During the period of active snow melting in Moscow water, the taste of chlorine becomes especially noticeable, and the acidity index approaches 9 (in brackets we add that the quality of tap water, for example, in St. Petersburg is almost ideal for watering orchids).
Before you decide whether you need to improve the water for watering orchids, check its acidity (or pH value). Hydrogen indicator is indicated by the pH symbol. It varies from 1 to 14. The lower the pH, the more acidic the solution. Neutral solutions have pH = 7, acidic - pH <7, and alkaline - pH> 7. Measure the pH for proper irrigation of orchids at home by using special paper indicators, impregnated with special organic dyes (the so-called litmus paper) or using a pocket ionomer.
Depending on the pH value substrates for growing orchids can be classified as follows:
- pH = 4,0 — 5,0 is very acidic;
- pH = 5,0 — 6,5 is acidic;
- pH = 6,5 — 6,8 is slightly acidic;
- pH = 6,8 — 7,2 is practically neutral;
- pH = 7,2 — 7,5 is slightly alkaline.
Hydrogen indicator of water, which should be watered most orchids should be in the range pH = 5,5 — 6,8.
In addition to controlling the chemical composition, it is necessary to control the temperature of the water: watering and spraying orchids produced water, the temperature of which is 5 — 10 degrees above the ambient temperature. Implementation of this rule will save your plants from the appearance of bacterial rot.
Water softening methods for orchid watering
Before watering orchids at home, determine another important indicator of the quality of irrigation water - its hardness, which depends on the salt content. If the water in these salts is small - it is soft, if a lot - hard.
There are temporary and permanent water hardness. Temporary hardness is determined by calcium carbonate Ca (HCO3) and magnesium magnesium bicarbonate (HCO3) dissolved in water. Temporary rigidity can be reduced by simple boiling, while bicarbonates precipitate and form scale on the walls of the vessel. The constant hardness of water is determined by the content of sulphates and chlorides of calcium and magnesium in it, it can be eliminated only by distillation, fine purification through filters or by chemical means.
There is a definite relationship between acidity and water hardness. In soft water there are no carbonate salts of calcium and magnesium, so it has a slightly acid reaction. Hard water is usually alkaline. In order for hard water from a water faucet to be close in its quality to rainforest water, it can be artificially softened.
There are several ways to soften irrigation water. In order to get rid of temporary hardness, water can be boiled and defended. Knowing what water to water the orchid at home, you can reduce its rigidity, for example, by mixing with distilled water, or passing through a membrane filter, or by dipping a bag filled with red top turf into a container with water. Water can be removed from impurities by freezing, after thawing the drains.
One of the most common ways to soften water for the proper irrigation of orchids is chemical. Organic or inorganic acids, which bind calcium salts, are added to irrigation water, and they precipitate into an insoluble precipitate.
As organic, you can use oxalic or citric acid. They are sold as white crystalline powder, which should be added to water gradually, starting with a quarter of a gram (or 250 mg) per 1 liter, gradually bringing the solution to the desired acidity for plants (pH = 5,5 — 6,8). At the bottom of the tank when this falls precipitate consisting of insoluble salts, which must be drained through a siphon.
The remaining solution no longer contains calcium salts and you can water the orchids. It is better to choose orthophosphoric acid from inorganic acids to reduce the acidity of hard water.
How to soften the water for the proper watering of orchids is shown in this video:
Proper watering and spraying orchids (with video)
Briefly summarize information on how to properly water the orchids at home, as follows:
- Orchids do not tolerate waterlogging of the substrate; stagnation of water in the pot causes the death of the root system. The exceptions are some species of the genus Phragmipedium (Phragmipedium), "Precious" orchids and other species from the subfamily Orchidoideae, which are best watered from below through drainage holes, putting the pot in a container with water;
- During active growth, watering orchids contained in a pot culture is necessary as the substrate dries out;
- Shade-tolerant species from under a rainforest canopy, as well as species from alpine misty forests that do not have thickened pseudobulbs, require regular moistening in medium light conditions;
- Orchids growing under high temperature and strong illumination need more frequent watering than orchids growing in shade and cool.
- All epiphytic species possessing thickened pseudobulbs are able to tolerate short dry periods;
- Orchids with a good root system during the growing period need water more often than plants with weak small roots;
- Substrate dries faster in clay pots; in small pots; at higher temperatures and light levels.
Having clarified how to water the orchids, do not forget to spray the plants.
How is watering different from spraying?
For epiphytes that contain a completely open root system, this is the same thing. They are watered in two ways - by spraying or by soaking. Potted plants can be sprayed on the leaves, but can also be watered in a pot on top or through the drainage holes in the bottom.
The quality of spraying is especially important for plants attached to pieces of bark and having bare, uncovered air roots. These plants will receive sufficient moisture only when the root of the roots is completely soaked with water.
It is advisable not to spray orchids in direct sunlight, otherwise burns may occur. It is best to spray the plants in the morning and in the evening, but care should be taken that after evening spraying water does not accumulate in leaf rosettes and sinuses of scale-like leaves, since nighttime temperatures can trigger the development of dangerous bacterial rot.
To stimulate growth and flowering, experienced plant growers recommend occasionally arranging a hot shower for orchids (water temperature is approximately 50 — 60 ° С).
Here you can watch a video on how to properly water and spray orchids: