There are three steps on how to save an overwatered orchid. You don’t have to be harsh on yourself when you overwatered your plants because you can still revive them. However, it’s essential to learn the proper watering management practices altogether to prevent these drawbacks.
Perhaps this is one reason why there’s an increasing demand for Just Add Ice orchids since they have the premise of using ice cubes for watering. However, with the techniques below, you don’t have to feel limited to the orchid plants you can grow. After all, gardeners in the UK improve from experience, and you can use these mistakes to care for your orchids better in the upcoming years.
How To Save An Overwatered Orchid For Beginners
The first solution or step that you can do to recover overwatered orchids is checking the roots. You want to remove the dead and damaged roots since you cannot salvage them. Be gentle in cutting the fragile roots, and a length of ¼ inches should be suitable for removing dead roots.
Afterwards, apply a liquid rooting hormone on the remaining roots to help them. Gardeners in the UK usually do these practices before repotting the orchids. Just make sure that the roots are dry for an hour, and the tool your use for cutting the soft and mushy roots is sharp and sterile.
One can assume that overwatered orchids will need a break from watering. Ideally, halt watering for a day, and then you can water once before putting them in a new location. While you want to stop watering for a day, don’t assume that the orchids will never need water until transfer.
Watering will encourage new root development and replenish the ones you removed. You can use a mister on the orchids to keep the plant healthy. The use of mister should also prevent the development of dried leaves.
Use a terrarium
After checking the roots and controlling orchids’ watering, you want to transfer it to new potting material. Polytunnel growers can also use a terrarium to help further the plant’s recovery. You can make your own using an empty aquarium with moss or pebbles and then place it in the polytunnel area with diffused light but not direct sunlight.
The location under fluorescent lights would work well, but ensure that the light diffuses well. You also want to use a thermostat for maintaining the conditions at 70°F to encourage rooting. Temperature requirements are essential; this is why saving overwatered orchids is more convenient in the polytunnel since you can monitor, control, and maintain light and temperature for root development.
It’s also worth noting that some British gardeners use bark mix as the new medium for the overwatered orchids. Ensure moisture but drain the excess water for the roots. Then, you can water the orchid if the top two inches of the medium get dry.
Signs Of An Overwatered Orchids
How would you know if you overwatered your orchids? The best way to identify overwatering is by the signs your plants will show. Or course, the roots look mush and dark, but even without taking out the orchids, you will notice that the leaves are yellowing or darkening, and some might even rot on their undersides.
The overall orchid plant looks weak, among others, and its buds tend to fall before opening. Besides checking the plant, you can also validate your suspicion by check the potting material as it can signal overwatering. Typically, the medium will be soggy and has a bad smell.
What To Consider When Watering Orchids?
To further help you with your watering dilemma, take note of the factors that influence orchids’ watering. For starters, every type of orchid will have specific watering requirements. Make sure not to overwhelm yourself by using too many varieties to monitor, as it can be confusing and tricky to water them.
The next factor to consider is the media of the orchids. Almost all guides would recommend a well-draining medium for orchids. But if your medium retains water for a more extended period, you don’t have to water the orchids frequently.
As mentioned earlier, the polytunnel is excellent for ensuring healthy orchids. Not only is it ideal for the recovery of overwatered plants, but you can prevent overwatering by checking the conditions indoors. If the temperature is high, then orchids will need more watering compared to colder locations.
You should also check the humidity and airflow in your UK growing area. For example, a low humidity level will increase water intake. On the other hand, airflow can dry the plants faster, which means you will need to water them more.
One can conclude that if you grow orchids in the fluctuating environment of the UK, it will be hard to ensure their water requirements. Orchids are not the easiest plant to grow, so don’t beat yourself too much if you suspect that you’ve overwatered them. After checking the signs, you can learn how to save an overwatered orchid in three steps.
Start by removing the mushy and dead roots and use a rooting hormone on the surviving ones. Stop watering for a day but maintain orchid health by misting them once before putting them in new material and environment. Lastly, create the ideal setting for root development using a terrarium and a greenhouse.
This way, you can maintain the temperature, humidity, and light conditions optimal for root health.