How to moisturize orchid leaves

Orchids live in humid forests

Image - Wikimedia / sunoochi

One of the most common problems that orchids can have when they are grown outside their places of origin is dehydration as a result of very low air or environmental humidity. That's why, it is often recommended to spray them, that is, sprinkle them with water, as this prevents them from drying out. But this is a piece of advice that, as you live in a place where said humidity is high, if you put it into practice you can end up without a plant.

I think it is a very serious mistake to advise that without explaining that it can only be done in very dry environments, because when it is done, for example, on an island, with humidity that is always high, the fungi will not hesitate for a second to infect the plants. That's why, I am going to tell you how to hydrate the leaves of orchids, in case it is necessary to do so.

How to know if the air humidity is adequate for orchids?

The Oncidium is a tropical orchid

Image - Wikimedia / geoff mckay

Since they are plants that live in humid tropical forests, it is important that when cultivating them we try to make them feel "at home". And, after watering, humidity is the issue that should concern us the most, since it has to be high; that is, it must be kept above 50%.

As I said at the beginning of the article, humidity is high on the islands, as well as in coastal areas, as well as in those places where it rains very often a long the whole year. But there are other areas where it is very low. It may even be the case that the humidity outside is high, but that inside does not exceed 50%.

Therefore, so that we do not make the mistake of spraying the leaves with water when it is really not necessary, what we can do is get a home weather station. There are very cheap ones -for about 10 or 15 euros you can have a fairly decent one-, and in addition, it will also help you to know the temperature inside the house, as well as outside if it has a sensor for it.

Another option, although not entirely reliable if you want to know the humidity inside your house, is to check it online. If in the browser you write »humidity of X», changing the X for the name of your locality, you will immediately be able to know what is the percentage of humidity that there is at that time in your area.

If you see that it exceeds 50%, then perfect. You will not have to do anything to make your orchid beautiful, besides, of course, watering it and preventing it from getting cold. Otherwise, that is, if it is less than 50%, you will have to take action.

What to do to hydrate the leaves of orchids?

As long as the air humidity is low, we can do several things in order to prevent them from dehydrating:

Spray the leaves with water

Plants without moisture dry up
Related article:
Is it good to spray plants with water?

We are interested in preventing them from drying out, so what we will do is spray them with water. This water has to be soft, like rain or suitable for human consumption.; that is to say, we can never use a calcareous one, because otherwise the lime would clog the pores of the leaves, worsening the problem.

We will do it every day at least once. In summer, we can do it up to three times/day.

We'll keep it away from drafts

Orchids need high humidity

This means that we will not put them in a room where we have air conditioning, fans or other similar devices, since air currents dry out the environment. For this reason, even if the humidity is high, you should never put any plants near these devices, because they would have a hard time not being able to stay hydrated.

Place containers with water around the orchids

You may think that with this you are wasting the available space, or that it will not be visually beautiful. But let me tell you something: there are many aquatic plants that will look lovely in those containers, such as the Houttuynia cordata or Echinodorus radicals. These, like our protagonists, need a lot of light but not direct, so they can be close to them.

Thus, you will get the humidity in that corner to be higher.

Final advice: do not put the orchid in a pot without holes

It is customary to take a container or pot without holes, fill it with a little gravel, and then put the orchid inside. I think that in the end it has more drawbacks than advantages, because Although it is true that high humidity is maintained, it is not always well controlled.

When watering, as the water cannot come out, it stays, yes, in the gravel, but… what happens if we add too much? Then she would get to the roots. And since it is inside the container, we cannot know if we have really added too much or too little water. To this, we must add something that is also very important: the roots of many orchids, such as those of the Phalaenopsis, have the ability to carry out photosynthesis.

But for that they need to be exposed to light -not direct-, and not inside a container without holes. Therefore, if we want them to last us a few years, it is important that they are planted in suitable pots, where they can have a normal development.

Phalaenopsis are orchids that bloom in spring
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Characteristics, cultivation and care of orchids

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