How To Grow Orchids in Water? Everything You Need To Know

Orchid is one of the most famous plants in the world. If you have been into indoor gardening chances are that you have considered growing orchids at some point. Well, that is if you don’t already grow them. From basic third grade science, the three basic needs for plants to grow are air, water, and nutrients. This brings us to the question for the day, can you grow orchids without soil and how to grow orchids in water? This post will walk you through how to grow orchids in water.

Soil is never an option

Most people can’t comprehend growing plants in anything other than soil. Almost 90% of plants in the world are grown in the soil. Now we can all understand why soil is considered as a basic need for growing plants. The truth is, soil isn’t a necessity, in fact, if you would plant orchids in normal garden they would die in less than 72hrs.

Grow medium vs water

Though orchids are highly adaptive plants for them to thrive you must reciprocate their natural environment. Orchid roots require intricate care, a wrong move and they will rot. And, as we all know, when the roots rot the whole plant will die since plants absorb nutrients through the roots.

Grow medium vs water

Why should you learn how to grow orchids in water rather than use grow medium? If you know a thing or two about orchids then it’s no brainer to assume that the term grow medium is not new to you. Rather than soil, orchids are grown in a growing medium which can be anything from barks or moss.

The following are reasons as to why water is preferred to grow medium when growing orchids.

  • No repotting: When growing orchids in a grow medium you have to re-pot once or twice every two months. Repotting is basically changing the orchids from one pot to another with a fresh growing medium. This is such a delicate procedure given how sensitive the roots. Everything has to be done as per the book otherwise the orchids will die. This is not the case when if you grow orchids in water. There is no need to report, all that is required of you is to change the water every once every month.
  • Precise watering: For orchids to do well you have to hit the balance between too much water and just enough. This is not always all that easy if you grow orchids in a grow medium. Depending on the species of orchids you would be required to water the plants 2-3 times in a week. When orchids are grown in water there is less need to water them and this will save you quite a fortune. At least you can channel the time you would have spent watering the orchids to something else.
  • No pathogens: Orchids roots are susceptible to pathogen attack explaining why you always have to sterilize the grow medium before you can report. If you learn how to grow orchids in water this will never be a problem to you since orchids grown in water have less likelihood of being infested with pathogens and pest.
  • Affordable: Growing orchids in water is relatively affordable compared to using a grow medium. Well here is a simple calculation: between a sporangium moss and distilled water what is more expensive?

Things you should ignore when growing orchids in water

Guide on how to grow orchids in water

There are over 28,000 orchid species in the world. Though the orchids may differ when it comes to the color if the leaves and flowers, they all have similar requirements if they are to thrive in water.


Orchids are sensitive when it comes to light. Ideally, they should get 12-14 hrs of light every day. This explains why it is recommended that orchids be located near windows. Where necessary artificial lights should be used! It is important to note that orchids should not be exposed to direct sunlight.


Though grown in water, the humidity has to be just right for the orchids. Different orchid species differ in humidity requirements but it is for sure that all orchids require high humidity. On average orchids require 60-80% humidity levels.


Plants take in nutrients through the roots and this is the reason why most plants are grown in the soil since its rich in nutrients. What happens when for those grown in water? In such a case you are required to dissolve nutrients in the water. There are hundreds of brands selling soluble nutrients specifically for hydroponics. All you have to do is, deciding on the best then apply it to your system.

Guide on how to grow orchids in water

The art of growing plants without soil is called hydroponics and in recent years it has gained a lot of popularity owing to easy monitoring and high yields.

There are two ways in which you can grow orchids in water: through a small container with enough room to accommodate the expanding roots or a hydroponic system for commercial purpose.

How do you go about growing orchids in water?

It’s all about the roots since they will be submerged in water. The most common mistake that most people make is repotting orchids from a grow medium to water directly. As much as we would like to presume that orchids are highly adaptive. The roots need time to adapt.

  • When transferring orchids to water you are required to prune the old roots. This is so as to pave way for the growth of new roots that will adapt to growing in water.
  • As much as orchids are such a beauty at times they might disappoint you from simple mistakes. To prevent the possibility of infestation ensure that you use distilled or rainwater.
  • Orchids need oxygen to carry out photosynthesis. The oxygen is absorbed both in the leaves and the roots. To supply oxygen it is recommended that you use an air stone to give consistent oxygen supply.


Yes, it can be done. Orchids can be grown in water and we have illustrated how you can go about it. There is nothing holding you back now after learning how to grow orchids in water

4 thoughts on “How To Grow Orchids in Water? Everything You Need To Know”

    • What type of orchid do you have? Phalaenopsis?
      Cut off all roots, wilted leaf and the base where it is already brown. Put it in a plastic or glass container with some moist moss for the base. Mist, cover with clear plastic. Keep it in a bright, cool place. New roots will emerge.

      Or Google how to rescue a sick orchid.

      Have fun, good luck.


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