Can You Water Your Orchids at Night?

When properly cared for, orchids can last several decades, putting out flowers for about 2-3 months every year. When watering orchids, it is important to mimic their natural conditions as much as possible. So can you water orchids at night? 

You can water your orchids at night if you live in an area where night temperatures stay above 60°F (15.5°C). But if night temperatures drop significantly, you should avoid watering your orchids. While orchids like moisture, they can develop root rot if left to sit in water excessively. 

This article will discuss when to water orchids and list the signs of overwatering and underwatering. Let’s get started. 

What Time of Day Should You Water Orchids?

Growing orchids in areas with high humidity levels is a great way to ensure they thrive and grow as expected. But what is the best time to water your orchids? 

You should water your orchids in the morning, more so if you live in an area that receives a lot of sunlight. Watering early in the day will allow the orchids time to absorb and use the water, while excess water evaporates before temperatures drop at night. 

If you water your orchids at night when the temperatures are low, the water won’t evaporate and will instead stagnate in the pot. This increases the chances of root rot or even suffocation if the water is in excess. 

Orchids are fairly hardy plants and can handle a lot of neglect, but they are adapted to live in tropical rainforests. In these regions, rainfall is frequent, but the high heat ensures that excess water evaporates and remains in the air, keeping humidity levels very high. 

So orchids would never sit in soggy soil in their original habitats, though the soil and air would likely be incredibly moist and humid. To keep your orchids healthy, you should try and mimic these conditions. Ideally, orchids should be in a medium that stays moist but never soggy

Overwatering orchids is very easy since they require little soil volume or potting medium to grow. Even if temperatures go above 60°F (15.5°C) at night, you might accidentally add too much water that may not evaporate despite the temperature. 

Helping your orchids recover from overwatering is harder than preventing it in the first place. This explains why it is crucial to water your orchids at the right time of the day. 

Only water your orchids at night if night temperatures are very high in your area and the medium is drying out. 

4 Signs That Your Orchids Are Overwatered or Underwatered

You can determine whether you should water your orchids at night based on how overwatered or underwatered they are. If your orchids appear underwatered despite regular daytime water and humidity, you might also need to water them at night

Typically, the signs of overwatering and underwatering in orchids are the same, and it’s difficult to tell what the issue is unless you pull the plant out of its medium. 

Overwatered orchids will have brown and rotting roots instead of healthy white ones. Additionally, overwatered plants are more likely to move around in their potting medium due to weak roots. Well-watered orchids with strong roots will remain well-anchored in their pots. 

Here are four signs that your orchids are water-stressed and need a different schedule. 

1. Shriveled and Leathery Leaves

Shriveling occurs when the cells of the orchid’s leaves lose water and scrunch up, so they lose their plump and shiny appearance. The leaves will feel textured and leathery instead of smooth as the roots struggle to pull up water to the plant’s cells. 

2. Blackening Leaf Tips

When the leaves don’t receive water, they might start dying at the tips. This usually manifests as brown or black patches at the tips. Leaf browning is a common symptom of water stress in many plants and is commonly referred to as ‘leaf burn.’ 

Your orchid will likely develop brown tips if underwatered, especially when planted in a low-humidity environment. 

3. Stunted New Growth

Among all the parts of the plant, new growth will be most impacted by either underwatering or overwatering the orchid. New leaves will shrivel up before they grow to their full size, and your orchid will certainly not put out any new blooms. 

Without adequate water, your orchids cannot transport nutrients around or perform photosynthesis, which will stunt any new growth.

4. Black Rot and Other Diseases

Plants sitting in stagnant water tend to be more susceptible to disease, even if they’re grown in water as the main growing medium, such as hydroponics. 

Pathogens for black rot, also known as Pythium root rot, are water-borne, which means they’re transferred through water. There are several such bacterial and fungal infections that are water-borne and can infect orchids sitting in excess water. 

Infected plant parts must be cut away with a sharp, sanitized blade and discarded immediately to prevent the further spread of the disease. 

Orchids may recover with proper treatment, but everything from the potting medium to the pot must be sterilized and replaced to prevent reinfection. 

The Right Way To Water Orchids

Watering your orchids the right way can help ensure that they don’t succumb to the symptoms of overwatering and underwatering. Instead of following a strict watering schedule, it’s best to observe the weather and your orchid’s appearance to determine the best watering time and techniques. 

Below are tips to observe when looking to find the right watering routine for your beloved orchids. 

  • Soak and let dry to mimic tropical forest conditions. Orchids love a good soak to mimic the heavy rainfall in their native tropical forests. Add enough water that it runs out of the drainage holes, then allow it to soak into the potting medium.
  • Water when the medium starts to dry out. Once you’ve soaked your orchids, you can leave them be for about a week or so. Don’t let the potting medium dry completely before the next watering. 
  • Use collected rainwater or distilled water. Orchids, like most plants, are sensitive to tap water, especially if it has fluoride. Collected rainwater is ideal, but you can also use distilled water so long as you supplement it with a balanced fertilizer like organic green tea. In this article about watering plants with green tea, you can learn how to use green tea as fertilizer: Is It Good To Water Plants With Green Tea
  • Only use ice to supplement watering. Watering orchids and other plants with ice have become a popularly touted method to prevent overwatering. But this may lead to underwatering instead, as we explain in the article about watering money trees with ice. Instead, use the ice in between waterings, or set the ice to evaporate in a plate near the orchids for added humidity.
  • Mist your orchids in dry weather. As the weather gets drier, in the winter or summer, your orchids will benefit from a good misting. Be careful to keep the temperature around the orchids fairly warm, and don’t mist if you think the mist might freeze and give your plant frostbite. A light misting in warm weather will keep the area around your orchids humid enough to make the plants happy.
  • Be careful not to overwater. Keep an eye on the weather and the potting medium, and only water as often as necessary. In humid weather, you can go for as long as two weeks without watering your orchids if necessary. In dry summers, you may need to water your orchids at night as well. When in doubt, water later. 

Final Thoughts

You can water your orchids at night if the nights are warm and the humidity levels are very low to ensure that the potting medium stays evenly moist. If you live in a cold area or in a region that’s very humid, you’ll be better served by watering your orchids early in the morning.

When you water your orchids, make sure to saturate the medium completely. Add additional humidity by misting the leaves if necessary, and only water when the medium starts drying. 

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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