Water Conservation

With California struggling through another drought, water conservation is essential. For orchid growers, droughts can be a problem. Orchids need moisture, both for watering and for humidity. Even growers who enjoy abundant water should treat it as a precious resource.

Some orchids need a lot of water. Lady Slippers and Masdevallias have heavy demands. Cattleyas and Laelias like to be kept dryer, so they need less. Cattleyas, Dendrobiums, Laelias, Oncidiums, and others go dormant for part of the year, reducing their water demands for months. All types need extra water in warm temps. Check these conservation tips to keep your orchids well watered:

  • Be aware of your water use. Check the clock before you start watering orchids to time how long it normally takes. Set a kitchen timer for yourself as a gauge. If you have excessive run off, cut back. Allow for extra watering on warm days.
  • Check for leaks and drips on all plumbing and garden hoses. If you can’t fix it right away, keep a bucket under the drip to catch water before it’s wasted down the drain.
  • Don’t keep a plant under a running tap. Instead, place the pot in a bowl or plastic container, fill with water, and soak for 10 or 20 minutes. This uses much less water than letting a faucet run.
  • Connect rain barrels to gutters to harvest rain for the garden.
  • Sprinklers, drip irrigation, and automatic misters are great ways to water plants directly and efficiently. Be sure they are not running on rainy days. Sprinkler systems can be relatively simple or the latest in modern automation, but all require regular checks and maintenance.
  • Use greywater for orchids. Instead of letting it go down the drain, reuse water from the sink, shower, or tub for plants. As a bonus, soapy water may kill some pests. Some orchids, like Pleurothallids, won’t tolerate the artificial chemicals in greywater, but many Phal hybrids will.
  • Use a bucket to catch the cold water that is wasted when waiting for the tap to warm up. Use it to water plants (let the water temp rise to room temperature so you don’t shock warm growers.)
  • Check online for more ideas about water conservation.

Explore posts in the same categories: Growing Orchids in San Francisco, Problems, Watering

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3 Comments on “Water Conservation”

  1. Jordan92 Says:

    I really enjoy examining on this website, it has got fantastic content.

  2. Mary B. Says:

    Thanks for the helpful tips! We don’t have to cut back on water yet. Your tips will come in handy if we have to do it.

  3. Bea Says:

    I could not resist commenting. Very well written! Very useful water conservation advice within this post!