Full Water Culture (FWC) Orchid Photos Recognizing a struggling orchid

In Orchid Tips & Care
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Full Water Culture (FWC), a method of growing orchids that involves plopping an orchid in a glass, vase or bowl of water and expecting it to do well. This orchid growing method has many problems, mainly that the “always-wet” conditions at the root promote a number of issues from nutrient deficiency to bacterial infection. However, rather than nay say, I’m using this post as a visual guide to why you SHOULD NOT use water culture for your orchids. Each photo will annotate the issue of the plant so that new growers understand signs of distress and can see for themselves that FWC is not the best option if you want your orchid to thrive in your home.

Photos of Orchids in Full Water Culture (FWC)

This phal (not in FWC) has 9 leaves, 3 spikes, and over 30 flowers
It is due for a repot though…shame on me.

A well-grown phal  should have numerous bright & vibrant leaves that are shiny and “full” rather than dull and matte. This phal has 11 leaves!


An older phal has the potential to get big – accumulating leaves and roots over many months.

Want tips on growing phals more effectively than in FWC?

Read this.