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Watering made simple for the home orchid grower !
By Gilda at 2006-05-24 14:15

ince the biggest majority of orchid addicts grow somewhere in their living space, I would like to show and tell you two options that work for us !

Option one:
You can cut your watering time greatly if you have trays (either bought or made) that drain on the racks you grow your orchids on.

Any sturdy plastic can be used for trays. We used poly tubing attached to each tray ,that drains one in to another and then to a floor drain outside.

Yes, a floor drain in your living space ! Believe me, it is worth the small hole in your floor, that is in a corner, and that you can easily hide ! No more schlepping buckets or dripping pots ! The black tray in the demo picture came from Bed, Bath ,& Beyond ,and is called a “boot tray”, and is used for setting your muddy boots in .

If you can't find a tray to fit your rack , you can make one out of aluminium that is used for the flashing on roofs. Cut and bend the flashing to the desired shape and glue the cut corners with the Plumber's Goop. My husband even made a triangular shape to fit a corner rack ! The possibilites are endless ! Picture one shows what the nipple connection looks like when purchased and after being cut. The nipple can be cut with a hacksaw.

Picture two shows one tray upside down with the nipple available from Lowe’s or Home Depot that the ½ inch inside diameter poly tubing fits over.

As you can see part of the nipple is cut off to allow it to fit flat against the hole cut in the tray . A ½ inch hole in the trays is cut so the nipple attachment fit in the place where you want your tubing to be. The hole can either be on the side which will allow a ¼ inch of water to remain in the tray or on the bottom of the tray and no water will remain. This hole can be "cut" with a solder gun or it can be drilled with a half inch drill bit . The nipples are then attached with Plumber’s Goop, which sets up quicker and better than silicone . Do not clamp or glue the tubing on the nipple, just push it on enough to hold the tubing on the nipple,that way you can remove it easily if you need to clean it.

Option two:
If you can’t bear the thought of having a hole in your floor ,or your growing space will not allow this, then you can still use the tray method and have it drain into a large bucket, as shown in the photo. This setup will work with any growing stand. The picture shows the tray being used on an aquarium stand.

The orchids can be watered freely ,and the water drains into the bucket. For any drips that might occur after watering ,the end of the hose can be placed into a decorative container . I use a small watering can which is very appropriate ! I add the egg crate grating used in flourecent light fixtures to sit the orchids on in all my racks. This makes it more sturdy ,and I do not like my orchids sitting in any water. Try this method of watering and enjoy your orchid growing more !

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