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How To Water Orchids In Bark? (Its Easy)

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How to water orchids in bark? You can water the orchids using a faucet if you have potted them in bark. However, if you use this method you need to ensure that you are using a drain catch so that it would get hold of all the wood chips which may try to escape. In this article you can learn more about orchid watering techniques.

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How to water orchids in bark?

Keep in mind that you should never soak the orchid’s crown in water as they are water sensitive. Further, if you use this method, it would be easy for you to get rid of the orchid potting medium of fertilizer salts. However, one might find using the faucet a messy way, so I suggest using a narrow-spouted watering can.

In addition to watering the plants from above, you may water them from below too. You may simply place an orchid in a water filled pot first. It will ensure that the roots of the orchids can absorb the necessary moisture without exposing the plants crown for moisture. I don’t recommend reusing the same pot when you practice this method. 

Instead, you need to clean the pot properly after use. If you adhere to watering the plants from below, it will help to overcome any potential of bacterial growth on the leaves. However, irrespective of the way you water them, you need to ensure that you water them copiously. To briefly explain what fir bark is, it is a quite famous potting medium which many people tend to use as they have excellent drainage. 

They would ensure that your orchids are not sitting in waterlogged soggy conditions. Ideal potting mix to grow the orchids would be a mix of 98 % Douglas Fir bark / 1 % perlite and 1 % horticultural charcoal. However, if you live in a dry zone, you may consider adding wool rock so that it would retain some water within.

Is orchid bark the same as orchid mix?

Orchid fir bark is the same as orchid mix. Fir barks all larger chunks. An orchid mix also consists of tree bark but with perlite, peat moss and with coconut husk chips too. Those elements are what could enhance the draining of the potting medium. So, for the bark, you may use ground coastal redwood bark, ground Douglas fir bark, or osmunda tree fern fiber. 

What is special about this is that they have excellent drainage. Further they provide a good aeration as well. With that being said they can retain water for some extent too. Besides, the decaying rate in the bark is somewhat slow too. Hence you can consider repotting them once every two years. You could find fir bark in different sizes. If you have larger rooted orchids, you could go ahead with 1-inch grades.

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For example, you may go ahead with this option for vandas. On the other hand, if you have medium rooted orchids such as phalaenopsis, oncidium, and dendrobium, they would do well with ½ inch medium grades. Not only that but also, you may use finer fir bark for smaller roots orchids too. For example, orchids such as paphiopedilums and cymbidiums fall under this category.

In addition to aforesaid factors, the ability to mix the other components in fir bark make them extra special. For example, you could add wool rock to make them retain more water if you live in hot and arid weather conditions. In addition to that you could use perlite, horticultural charcoal, and LECA as well. 

Many people opt to go ahead with these organic materials to enhance the draining of the mix. Moreover, it enhances the aeration in the soil mix too.

How To Water Orchids In Bark

How often do you water orchids in bark?

You could water the bark grown orchids once every seven days. On the other hand, if you grow the orchids in moss, you can water them just once every 12 days.

Do you have to soak orchid bark?

I recommend soaking the orchid bark for about 24 hours before you repot them. That will allow the mixture to absorb necessary water levels. Bark usually withers at a faster rate.

How long do you soak orchid bark?

You could soak the orchid bark for about 24 hours as aforesaid.

Should you boil orchid bark?

I suggest boiling the used orchid bark so that it would sterilize it. However, you do not need to boil the freshly obtained bark which comes in bags as the exposure for heat can impact them in an unhealthy manner. Further it can accelerate the decomposition whilst making them more prone towards infections. To sum up, boiling would depend on the status of the soil condition. 

If your orchid bark has experienced any rot or any other insect attack best would be to boil it and then use it to do this task. Once you boil them it would overcome a further spread of any disease or any pathogens. Further bark may host scales, fungus gnats too. Hence it would be best to boil them.

Many people opt to use the boiling water to disinfect the orchid bark. Boiling water carries a high temperature level of 100 degrees Celsius and those high temperatures would perish the inactive viruses. All you have to do is to simply place the orchid bark in a container and pour boiling water into it. Next cover the specimen so that it can cool down. 

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Ultimately it will be free from all these nasty organisms such as pathogens , and insects in the bark.

Can you reuse orchid bark?

I don’t recommend reusing orchid bark. The reason behind that is because the natural decomposition would badly impact on the draining and on the ability to keep a good aeration. So, I recommend going ahead with fresh soil mix whenever it is required. If you happen to reuse the bark , there would be decomposed organic materials.

Simply they would break down into small pieces and the larger material could not be spotted any longer. They would tend to look like soil in terms of the texture and in consistency. Once your potting medium no longer has a healthy aeration it would lead to water retaining in the pots. Consequently, your precious plants may suffer from rot etc. 

Once you over saturate the soil with water it would even kill your plants. You can try to save them if you identify it earlier. However, this is exactly why you need to choose the right soil mix for this purpose.

Which is better for orchid bark or moss?

To answer the question of what is better for orchids , I would say the bark in medium grade would suit them the best. As aforementioned, bark retains less water and you may have to water them more often due to that. Further it will give a proper aeration for the plants roots as well. That said, moss is also a good option to grow the orchids. However, it would not be the right choice for the beginners to start off their orchid gardening. 

Many orchid lovers tend to proceed with moss as you can pot them very easily. further their light weight is another additional advantage of having them. In terms of the costs, moss is cheaper too. Many nursery gardeners tend to use moss as it would ensure that there is some moisture retained in the pot even after you bring them home from the nurseries.

However, keep in mind that excess waterlogged condition would only bring an unhealthy impact on the plants and specially orchids like phalaenopsis hate to be in soggy water. Once there is excess water remaining in the pot it would obstruct the proper aeration in the potting medium too. Further when they keep too much water within, it would lead to mold build up in the roots which would ultimately kill the plants as well.

So, if you still wish to grow orchids such as Phalaenopsis in moss, you need to minimize watering them once every two weeks. If you come across any limp on the plants, you need to adjust watering them which would make it look content. If you have grown the orchids in moss and wish to change it to bark, you need to water the plants before the leaves lose their stiffness. 

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Further keep in mind that it is always best to under water them instead of over watering them. Excess water could result in the root deterioration of the plants, and it is very unlikely that you could save the plants if they go through that condition. So, I recommend growing them in bark instead of moss as it would make it easy for the plants to survive. 

How To Water Orchids In Bark

How do I stop the mold on my orchid bark?

First, I recommend repotting the plants. Usually, mold will survive well on wet surfaces. So, when you repot them in a dry pot it would be difficult for them to survive. Skip watering them until you spot the white or slightly gray roots. If you spot the white or slightly gray roots, it literally means you need to water the plants.

Always water less on our orchids. If you spot any whit formations coming up, you need to cut back on watering so that it would kill the fungus. If you have accidentally overwatered the plants, I recommend repotting them in a dry pot along with a fresh soil mix. Further you may also use a couple of paper towels and extract the moisture too. ‘

Besides, you could change the potting material to stop the mold on the orchid bark. In case if you grow them in the same potting medium chances are that it may develop decaying materials which would consequently make the potting medium soggy. 

Once the potting material is soggy, it would also lead to mold growth. Ideally you need to choose a soil mix which has larger flakes which would enhance the aeration of the soil mix. 

Further if you use a soil mix which has redwood bark, it will also minimize the potential of having a white fungus. Apart from that you could consider moving the orchids outside to get rid of the mold. Ideally when you move them outdoors, it has to be a place where they can gain a lot of sunlight and good air circulation which will bring a fatal impact on the plants. 

Finally, you can trim the orchids to overcome the mold too. However, you could do this as the last option and if the mold has spread on an excessive level.


Orchids are such great looking plants due to various benefits they have. As such, Orchids have a great demand due to that. However, using fresh orchid bark is very important when it comes to looking after them well.  

Credit to : soo neaty Orchid care

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I'm Dr. Chamika and I'm a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. Our highly qualified team is trying to educate you in various aspects of the day to day life in many ways. Their mission is to help others to enjoy their life to the fullest.