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Do Orchids Need Soil? (Can They Be Grown in Water?)

Do Orchids Need Soil? (Can They Be Grown in Water?)

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So many people love keeping orchids in their homes. There’s something special about the way that orchids look that garners so much attention.

These plants can be incredible in just about any room of your home. They’ve also become popular office plants for a number of different reasons.

If you’re just looking into getting an orchid for your home, then you’re probably trying to learn more about the plants. You might have heard from someone that orchids don’t use normal soil or that they don’t actually need soil.

Is this actually true? Do orchids need soil or do you grow them in some other way?

Keep reading to learn about orchids and what you need for them. This will help you to be prepared to take care of the orchids as best you can.

Orchids Can Grow Without Soil

It’s true that orchids don’t need soil to be able to grow. Many people choose to grow orchids in water instead of soil or potting mix.

Technically, the orchids will need a little bit of soil in the early stages, though. It’ll be necessary to have soil that the orchids can germinate in.

As the orchids mature, they will need less soil. In nature, you’ll find orchids growing in only small amounts of soil.

They’re considered to be air plants and they often grow on tree limbs. Most of the things that these plants need will come from the air.

That being said, not all orchids are going to have an easy time growing without soil. Some of the different types of orchids will be more reliant on soil than others.

Orchid varieties that are the closest to the natural orchids that you find in nature will do better with low amounts of soil. Others won’t thrive when being kept as air plants.

The best course of action to take is to learn about the specific orchid type that you’re caring for. If you haven’t bought any orchids yet, then you can pick an orchid that meets your expectations.

So, you should know that it is possible to get orchids to grow in your home using only water and a bit of soil. There are a few ways that you can go about growing orchids in water that you should know about.

Growing Orchids in Water

Growing orchids in water can be a very good experience. You’ll have two basic methods to grow orchids in water that you can turn to.

The first way is to simply leave your orchids in water and change the water on either a weekly or biweekly basis. This is probably the most popular method since it should be rather easy to do.

Another option is to place the orchid in water for two days and then dry it out for five. You just keep repeating that process.

One way of doing things isn’t necessarily better than another. It just comes down to what you think is most convenient for your situation.

If you don’t want to have to move the orchid out of the water and dry it out, then just replacing the water weekly is probably going to be an easy option for you. You’ll be able to get in the habit of changing the water and things will turn out fine.

Orchids Need Different Soil Than Most Houseplants

It’s still more common for people to keep orchids in soil than it is for people to grow them in water. In fact, it’s probably going to be an easier situation since some orchids won’t thrive as air plants.

Even so, you’re going to need to know some things about orchids and soil. You aren’t able to just use the same soil for the orchids that you do your other houseplants.

If you were to try to pot an orchid in standard potting soil, it’d wind up killing the roots. It would suffocate them since orchids aren’t designed the same way as many other types of houseplants that you might own.

Remember that you learned that orchids are air plants. These plants grow in very little soil in the wild, and they even grow on tree limbs.

You need to have some type of potting mix for the orchids that gives the plant the necessary airflow. This ensures that the roots will be able to survive and that the plant will be fine.

There are a few options when looking for soil for an orchid plant. You could use peat moss, fir bark, perlite, sphagnum moss, and other such light materials.

Most people choose to go out and buy potting mix that is specifically meant for orchids. This will be a mixture that is formulated to help orchids to thrive and grow.

Take the time to look at what you’re buying to ensure that it’s meant for orchids. This will be the easiest way to find success.

If you don’t want to go that route, then you can create your own orchid potting mix. You’d just need to buy things such as peat moss, fir bark, and perlite to get the job done.

It’s also worth noting that different types of orchids will prefer different potting mediums. Essentially, some orchid types will want coarse bark while others will prefer medium bark.

There are even orchids that need to utilize fine bark. You’d benefit from knowing more about the preferences of your specific type of orchid before moving forward.

Important Orchid Care Tips

When potting orchids, remember that you’re meant to plant them in a shallow potting mix. Try to plant them too deep and it’d be bad for the roots.

Once you’ve planted the orchid, you’re going to want to find a good spot for the pot. Generally, orchids will do best in an east or south-facing window.

These plants need bright indirect sunlight to be able to thrive. Too much harsh light will wind up scorching the leaves, though, and this is why you must be careful.

Follow the care recommendations for your specific orchid. Some orchids like different temperature ranges than others.

Many of the most popular orchids will do fantastic in temperatures between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Such plants are perfect for indoor settings since most people keep their homes in this temperature range.

Orchids do need lots of water, but you have to allow the plant to dry out between watering sessions. It’s a good idea to always check the potting medium to see if it’s dry before watering the plant.

You can simply stick your finger in the pot to see how dry things are. If the potting medium is still moist, then it isn’t yet time to water the orchids.

If you want the orchids to do the best that they can, then pay attention to the humidity level in your home. They do best when humidity is between 50% and 70%.

Those who live in dry areas will benefit from using humidifiers. You could also choose to naturally raise the humidity by placing water saucers beneath the plants.

You might want to consider fertilizing your orchids, too. This can help them produce new growth faster.

It’s recommended to fertilize orchids either weekly or biweekly. You don’t need to do this when the plant is in a dormant state.

Orchids will usually have to be repotted once every year. You’ll see the roots start to grow too much and you’ll need a new pot.

Watch Out for Pests

Caring for orchids will also mean keeping an eye out for pests. While orchids aren’t necessarily more susceptible to pest issues than other houseplants, it’s still imperative to be careful.

Pests such as mealybugs, aphids, and scale have been known to negatively impact orchids. Thankfully, many of these pests are easy to get rid of by simply washing them away with water.

If you have significant pest issues, then treating the plants with insecticidal soap will be a good idea. If you’re keeping your plants inside, there should be less of a chance of having to deal with significant infestations.

Knowing what to look out for is always helpful, though. Be mindful of the potential damage that pests can do to your plant.

How Often Do Orchids Bloom?

Orchids look gorgeous when they’re in full bloom. Some orchids only bloom once per year, but others are capable of blooming multiple times per year.

You might be able to encourage blooming by pruning the plant when it’s done producing flowers. This can make it so that the plant will have more energy to put toward new growth.

Caring for the plant optimally will ensure that it grows back strong. Keep an eye on the plant when it enters its dormant stage.

Final Thoughts

Learning about orchids should help you to better understand how to care for them. You now know that these plants don’t need much soil to be able to grow.

They do need a small amount of soil to be able to germinate. However, it’s possible to grow orchids in water if you’d like to go that route.

It’s more common for people to keep them in pots using a potting mix. You must use the right potting mix that is specifically meant for orchids to get the right results.

Caring for orchids won’t be too hard overall, but you do want to be careful with them. Never water the orchids too much or you will cause serious problems.

Do your best to always check the potting medium to see if it’s dry before watering the plant. If you keep your wits about you, you’ll have an easy time caring for your orchid plant and you’ll love how it looks in your home.

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