How often should I water?

stephf(5a)May 19, 2011

I have a phal that used to be potted in moss. It was really easy then for me to figure out when to water because I would just wait for the moss to completely dry out. I would say I watered every week and a half to two weeks. I recently repotted it into a bark mixture and it's more difficult for me to tell when to water. The bark mixture seems to dry out very quickly and I am tempted to water every 2 days or so because it appears completely dried out to me. How often should I be watering my phal in the bark mixture? I don't want to over water, but I don't want to neglect the poor thing either!

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If the bark is dry, you could soak the plant/pot in a bowl of water for about an hour or longer. Once the bark is wet, you can judge how long it takes to dry out. You get a 'feel' for the weight of the pot. Some people like to use the skewer method to determine when the bark is dry.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 2:00PM
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orchid126(z6, NJ)

Put a trimmed down kitchen skewer into the medium and leave it there. The next time you think the plant needs water take out the skewer and touch it to your cheek, lip, or the back of your hand. If it's dry or just moist, water. If it's wet, don't water. How wet or dry the skewer is before you water depends on the needs of the orchid. Phals like to almost dry out before being watered again.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 5:04PM
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ifraser25(z11 Brazil)

Here's a tip I picked up from an orchid growing friend. Every compost is different. Some dry out fast and others take an age and you're right, it's not that easy to tell by look or feel. Buy some cress (or any another fast germinating) seed and sow it on the compost after watering. See how long it takes for the seedlings to wilt. That will be your average watering time, plus a day or two.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2011 at 7:49PM
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So true. I'm guilty of letting some weeds grow to remind me when to water. Clover is good; it has deeper roots and when it wilts, I water. Not very attractive, but it does work.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 10:22PM
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