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How To Water Orchids While On Vacation? 8 Methods

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How to water orchids while on vacation? If you are an orchid lover and a travel enthusiast at the same time, There are several ways you can manage this situation. So, if you are someone who goes through this condition you will find this article very informative. If you are on vacation for a prolonged period, you need to ensure your precious orchids can survive well during this period.

So, I urge you to read this article till the end so that you could arm yourself with the relevant information. 

How To Water Orchids While On Vacation

How to water orchids while on vacation?

01. Water before you leave

Watering before you leave is the first thing you could do before you go on vacation. Ideally you need to soak the plants in water for about thirty minutes on the day you leave for the vacation. One might think that exposing your plants for 30 minutes would be too much on the plants. However, the purpose of doing that is to hydrate your orchid medium than their regular water cycle.

That said, if you are going on a short holiday for about two to four days, your orchids will thrive well if you water them thoroughly. 

If you are holidaying for a longer period, you need to water the plants beforehand and water them thoroughly for one to three weeks. Literally you need to prepare the plants well before you go on holidays for extended periods. So, if you go on holiday in summer, you could prepare a basin of lukewarm water for your orchids outside. Next you could take your orchid pots outside and soak each pot in water for about 5 minutes or even little more than that. 

That would allow the orchid roots to absorb the required amount of water. Simultaneously it would help to enhance the saturation of the potting media as well. If you adhere to these guidelines, it will stop the orchids getting dry rapidly.

I suggest doing this in the morning hours so that it would allow the potting media to dry before the nighttime comes. On the other hand, if you go on holidays in winter and if the potting media is dry, you could water them lightly. 

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Avoid soaking the plants during winter as it would be unhealthy on the plants. On another note, if your potting medium is damp and if you go on a shorter holiday, I don’t recommend watering them. You can simply water them once you come back as by the time you return it would be dry. 

02. Increase humidity

You may consider increasing the humidity level to avoid your plants withering. To do that you need to arrange a small pan and fill it with rock, gravel or even with any other pebbles. When you fill it with water ensure that you do it only up to halfway up to the sides of gravel. However, when you do this refrain from covering the rocks with water. 

Next place the pot over the pebbles. That will allow the water evaporation to take place naturally. If you wish to do that for longer periods, you need to use a thicker layer of rocks and add more water as well. Besides, you may place them in terrariums as well. Terrarium also conserves water inside and it would create a mini condensation cycle on its own. 

03. Keep outside

If it is spring, summer or fall, you could consider taking them outdoors. Having said that, you should avoid taking the plants outside during winter. When you bring them outdoors, you can locate the plants under a tree where the plants would be protected from direct sunlight. If you do so, chances are that it could kill the plants. However, ensure that they gain adequate sunlight unless they run out of sunlight.

In addition to that, if the selected place has a lack of rain, I don’t recommend placing the plants there. However, you could still go ahead with this option if there is a sprinkler system hooked up there. 

How To Water Orchids While On Vacation

04. Change potting medium

One more option of assisting the plants to thrive when you are on holidays is by providing a different potting medium. Having said that you could do this only if the plants are not bearing flowers. You can change the elements in the soil mix to harder materials that will not absorb water. Besides, if you have grown them in moss you need to drench the sphagnum moss for about half an hour and then transplant them. 

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05. Board your plant

Boarding your plant is one more option you have. You could do this if all the above mentioned methods did not work with you. You can simply check with the local nursery or even with gardening centers whether they can care for your precious plants when you are away. 

They may charge a small amount for this, but I believe it will be a great investment for the plants. If you are on vacation for more than one month, this would be a fine idea. Irrespective of the fact that they can thrive without water for two to three weeks, a periodic light watering would be beneficial for them. 

06.Ask someone to water

In addition to aforesaid methods, you could simply ask your neighbor to water the plants on behalf of you. With that being said, if the selected person has no clue in watering them, it is very likely that it may result in unwanted adverse effects on the plants. Hence, I suggest doing this if all the methods mentioned above didn’t work only.

However, if you don’t have any other option, you may brief the particular person on how you should water them and strictly advise him on when to water and when you should avoid watering them. In simple words, try to make him familiarize on watering the orchids. Apart from that, always encourage them to water the plants in the morning. 

Furthermore, advise them to remove the stored water in the trays or in the saucers which you have kept under the plants. If you manage to find an orchid enthusiast it would be the ideal option which you need to go ahead as they have the basic knowledge in taking care of the plants. 

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07. Self-watering method

You may also proceed with using self-watering pots as they can supply moisture on a constant level. Literally water will be drawn by the plant’s roots, and it will be done through a wick. That is an easy and a convenient way of making your plants moist. Further, It would avoid both over watering and under watering. This would be a fine idea to try out on orchid species such as phalaenopsis, cattleya oncidium and dendrobium etc. This method would work well for prolonged periods too. 

08. Mobile controlled watering system

With emerging new technologies there is a new method to water your plant and you can control watering via mobile phone. This is called a mobile control watering system or mobile control irrigation system. Using this kind of system you can remotely control this precise irrigation time through an app anytime, anywhere. 

How Long Can Orchids Survive Without Water?

Usually, orchids can survive without water for two to three weeks which literally could be the duration of a typical vacation. In some cases they live without water for up to one month. Further there are a few varieties which can go well without water for up to two months as well. 

if the plants are lacking water, you could see how they develop wrinkled leaves. further the root growth would also be halted. Not only that but also you could spot veins in the leaves as well. In simple words orchids would survive without water for a good two weeks. 


I hope you were able to gather some tips on how you should water your precious orchids when you go on holidays. If you adhere to these tips, you can peacefully go on vacation without worrying about the plants. You can find your plants thriving well on your return if you follow the above guidelines. 

Credit to : Zane’s Wildflora

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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.