Setting Up the Hydroponic System for Outdoor Growing

Growing orchids outdoors with our hydroponic system produces excellent results - but the system needs to be set up properly.

Indoors, the decorative outer pot acts as the reservoir, storing the nutrient solution for the plant. A water gauge tells you how much to water, so too much water is never a problem. 

If your plants are going to be exposed to the rain outdoors, there's no control over how much water the system will collect. Frequent rain showers will fill up the outer pot and overflow the system. Too much water and the roots will suffer, even with LECA pebbles.


Hydroponics is ideal for growing outdoors

      There are two ways to setup your hydroponic system to solve this:

Method #1.
Replace the Outer Pot with a Shallow Saucer

By design, the outer pot in our system is water tight and doesn't have a drainage hole. Replacing it with a shallow plastic saucer allows excess water to drain away.

Here's an example of setting up a cattleya for outside growing. 

An ordinary clay pot will be used to display the plant outdoors. Clay pots work well for outside growing because the weight of the pot anchors the plant and keeps it from blowing over in the wind. (Note: Always choose an outer pot with a drainage hole in bottom.)

We're going to replace the outer pot with a plastic saucer which will be the new reservoir. The plastic saucer will hold the nutrient solution for the plant.


The plastic saucer needs to be cut down to keep it from collecting too much rain water however. Using a scissors, trim saucer to only 1/2" deep (the same depth as watering to "opt" on gauge).

After trimming the saucer, drop it into the clay pot. Note that the clay pot is quite a bit larger than the orginal outer pot. This makes a good anchor and won't have any effect on how the plant grows.
Now, lift plant, culture pot, and water gauge from the outer pot and  ..........

....  set them in the clay pot.



Setup is complete for outside growing.
Culture pot, water gauge and plastic saucer are the "grow system" for the plant. The clay pot simply holds everything in place. Saucer under culture pot holds
just enough water for the plant - excess will
overflow and drain away through
hole in the bottom of the clay pot.

For a more finished appearance, the "pot inside another pot" look can be camouflaged. Note: We prefer keeping bottom of pot visible for the first couple of weeks because judging water requirements is easier when you can see what's going on at the bottom.

For a more finished appearance simply .......

Fill gap between pots with extra pebbles.
New plant ready for outside! Added pebbles won't affect the wet/dry cycle.
See how to water at:   Plant Care for Outdoor Growing.

Method #2.
Using Grower Trays for Growing Outside

If you have a lot of plants, another approach to growing outside is using our heavy duty plastic Grower Trays. With this method a Grower Tray replaces the outer pot(s) and acts as the reservoir for several plants.
Heavy Duty Grower Tray in action.
Their rugged construction makes them
ideal for outside growing.
First, prepare the tray for outdoor growing by drilling a hole in the side so excess water will drain away.  

Drill a drainage hole in tray for excess water

Drainage hole should be about
1/2" from bottom of tray

Remove plant(s) 
from outer pot(s).

Place in Grower Tray. No need for a water gauge because you can see water level.
A single Grower Tray holds several plants. They're easy to use because you can see the water level at all times. Trays hold a lot of water so I suggest letting your plants sit dry (no water in the tray) for several days between waterings.

If your orchids are standing in water for a week or more, force a "dry period" to promote healthy root growth. Lift plant and pour out all the water in the saucer. Or, if using grower trays, remove the plants from the tray and pour out all the water. Don't rewater for several days. 

No matter what your skill level is, you'll be growing like a pro outdoors with our system!
Questions on Moving Your Orchids Outdoors?

We have answers  .....
click here

Growing Orchids Outdoors for Summer

Plant Care for Outdoor Growing

Tips for Growing Several Common Orchids Outdoors

The Stuff You'll Need Out There....

Replace Outer Pots

Plastic Saucers

Replace Outer Pots

Grower Trays

Perfect media for outside growing

Leca Pebbles

Great all-around nutrient

Dyna Gro 7-9-5

Switch to Bloom when you see flower spikes
Dyna Bloom 3-12-6

Stop Insects before the start
Pro-Tek 0-0-7

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