Guide To Cultivating Orchids In Water

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:31 pm

The “orchids in water” method

This time I want to win the game for the eagerly awaited blossoms and so it is called course correction. Because if you want to achieve new and above all better results, you should correct your course at the right time. The “orchids in water” method in mind, where the orchid floats up to the roots in the water bath, I have now decided to use this method.

Because, unfortunately, at the beginning of August it happened again and my current orchid began to weaken. Of all things, this orchid in which I had placed such high hopes!

Guide To Cultivating Orchids In Water

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Instructions and first steps to put orchids in water.

To begin the transition from solid substrate to water, the plant was freed from its pot and the brown leaves were removed. Fortunately, despite wilting foliage, the root corpus looked impressively healthy and the signs were green, extremely promising.

Then, in a second step, the cleaning of the roots could be started. For this purpose, all existing substrate between the roots was removed, which initially proved to be somewhat confusing, as the substrate partially stuck to and between the roots and compacted them.

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After careful but thorough cleaning of the root ball, the orchid moved into its new water glass, filled with a mixture of tap water and distilled water. Since especially in our area the water is very calcareous, which orchids do not appreciate so much, I use distilled water in addition to tap water and mix both in a ratio of two to one. Two parts distilled water, one part tap water.

It is said that the root system needs some of the salts dissolved in tap water to thrive and for this reason should not be left entirely in decalcified water. Taking this recommendation into account, I therefore adhere to the following mixing recommendations:

  • very hard water: one part tap water, two parts distilled water
  • medium hard water: one part tap water, one part distilled water and
  • soft water, which can cope without the addition of distilled water.

The change from substrate to water

Time to go to the glass. The roots in the water and heart of the plant and leaves in the air, outdoors. The orchid gets its nutrients from its aquarium and from the air.

The height of the ideal water level is about one-third of the capacity of the glass jar, but may vary depending on the orchid. It is best to observe the further development of the orchid and draw appropriate conclusions regarding its need for water. More or less.

During the first few days of the transition from solid substrate to fresh wet, the water was still somewhat contaminated and substrate debris floated in the glass, clouding the view. One or the other root became muddy and algae formed, coating the roots. As if blown by gossamer green pile.

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In order to prevent coarser impurities from arising in the first place, I kept a close eye on what was happening in the glass during these days and changed the water regularly if necessary. At the same time the roots were carefully rinsed with lukewarm water and checked for any deposits. Algae coating and mat roots were removed immediately and sometimes I even had to use tweezers and cotton swabs to prevent unnecessary injury to the roots.

A little shrinkage is common

Unfortunately, this could not always be avoided and so, despite all precautions, a new young root, albeit small, was torn off. It must have stuck to a microscopic bump on the inside of the glass, was almost glued to it and got stuck and torn off when I took out the orchid package. Now I hope for quick offspring.

Fortunately, after a few days it looked significantly brighter and clearer in the glass and the algae have also become less. The situation in the water glass seems to have stabilized.

Today, the orchid feels good, thrives, looks good and gets every now and then a small spray of water over the roots sticking out of the water, which visibly suits her. The plant has acclimatized perfectly to the new situation, grows and thrives.

And to be on the safe side and to give it that extra rainforest feeling, it is allowed to dry for a few hours after one or two water changes before the roots are dipped back into the water. The orchid remains silent and enjoys.


After three weeks of testing “orchids in water” can be summarized that this method works well and is promising. So far, everything is going splendidly. A strong young leaf and numerous fresh root tips have already formed in the water bath. The orchid looks healthy and vigorous and it is quite a pleasure to see it suddenly pick up speed after its low. A special highlight is to be able to watch the growth process through the glass.

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Just like in an aquarium. With or without a magnifying glass, a great pleasure!


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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