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Can you keep orchids without soil? We explain what you do correctly in the water culture

Are you also one of the lucky ones who received an orchid as a gift for Christmas? Or have you been cultivating such beauties for a while and have now come across pictures in which you can see the flowers in simple, transparent jars? If this seems strange or even impossible to you, yes it is, it is actually a way to successfully cultivate the beauties if you do it right. How exactly can you keep orchids without soil?

The tropical flower thrives in different substrate

Orchids without soil - Which container and the right location

Everyone has seen the typical bark substrate for orchids. It is also not uncommon to see shredded coconut fiber and moss as an alternative, and even the variant with clay granules or expanded clay. But is it also possible without soil and only in water? Indeed, and the whole thing is called “water culture”. We introduce you to this method of cultivation and explain what you should pay attention.

Cultivate orchids without soil in a jar

So, hydroponics is quite possible, if you follow some important things in the care. In addition, not all species of orchids tolerate water culture, or only to a limited extent. So how can you do without orchid substrate?

What types of orchids are suitable?

Orchids without soil in hydroponics - Proper watering and fertilizing.

It is best to choose species that form aerial roots . These so-called epiphytic orchids absorb all the necessary nutrients and moisture through these roots and from the air, so you do not need a substrate. Suitable are for example:

  • Aerides
  • Ascocentrum
  • Phalaenopsis
  • Vanda

However, we would like to point out that species that actually require orchid substrate can also thrive in hydroponics, so you are welcome to try your luck.

How does the culture of orchids in glass without soil?

Keeping orchids without soil in glass - Tips for healthy plants

First of all, you should not think of orchids without soil as cut flowers. So do not put them in a vase filled with water, because waterlogging must be avoided at all costs! Instead, water culture looks like this:

  • Choose a sturdy container that will not fall over even though the leaves are large.
  • Place the orchid together with the roots in the empty glass.
  • The location can remain the same as usual: not too dry, so away from the heater and bright, but not directly sunny, so ideally located at a bright east window or alternatively west.
  • Conservatories and also greenhouses are very suitable for hydroponics of orchids. However, it is important to make sure that overheating does not occur there.
  • When you take the plant out of your old substrate, be sure to carefully remove all material from it.
  • Soak the roots in water to make them more pliable and prevent them from breaking when you put them in the jar.
  • You can also support the roots in the jar with the help of shards of clay or pebbles.

Which orchids to choose for water culture - orchid care without substrate


Note: There are also plenty of cases where orchids are continuously in water and also thrive splendidly without rotting. So if you want to risk it, of course you may. The important thing is that you change the water every week. Just observe for some time whether your plant is doing well with it. If not, it will show you in time.

The right care in the absence of substrate

Keep orchid in water and change it regularly

Proper watering: Due to the lack of substrate, which otherwise retains moisture longer, the roots and thus the plant dries out more quickly, so watering orchids without soil requires special attention.

  • Once a week or at least every two weeks (depending on weather, room humidity and growth phase), the plant needs a generous portion of water (during dormancy, every two weeks is sufficient).
  • Water by dipping by pouring water into the container and letting the plant soak it up for 15 to 30 minutes. After that, you can use it to water other houseplants.
  • Humidify the air! For this purpose, you can spray the plant with water regularly. Since you need to repeat this every few days, make sure that water does not accumulate on the plant. This is because it can lead to rotting.
  • Ideally, use rainwater. Alternatively, you can also use tap water with low lime content. In any case, the water must be lukewarm.

Spraying plants for higher humidity


Fertilize properly: As with substrate plants, orchids without soil must not lack nutrients so that it has strength to grow and bloom. But how to fertilize the water culture? Again, proceed exactly as if you want to fertilize an orchid with substrate:

  • Use liquid fertilizer.
  • Add the necessary amount of fertilizer to the dipping water (before you add it to the plant) according to the package instructions and mix it well.
  • Pour the water into the container and give the orchid time to soak up the water and nutrients.
  • Use the remaining water to water other houseplants.