Some years ago hydroponics was quite popular because caring for plants was made easy, especially watering. Even orchids, in most cases Phalaenposis, were offered in hydroponics. Classical hydroponics with two pots (cache pot and inner pot) and indicator for watering did not gain acceptance and today you will not find orchids in hydroponics any more.

Inspired by members of our German Facebookgroup Orchitopworld we started to think about hydroponics in combination with our Orchitop and we became aware of the following advantages: 

1. Watering is even easier, because the coaster is filled again after all water disappeared and the coaster is dry. You don´t have to check the weight of the Orchitop or the color of the mix any more.

2. The mix, the clay pepples, are totally stable in structure and a lot of air can reach the roots – permanently. Especially epiphytic growing orchids like Phalaenopsis love this. And you don´t need to repot so often if the water quality is high as the structure of the mix will not change over the time.

3. Between the poles of the Orchitop a lot of air and light can get to the roots in spite of classical hydroponics with two pots. In reverse humidity can get out.


Convinced by the theoretical advantages we repotted in June 2014 a flowering Phalaenopsis-hybrid Copper Buddha.

The photo on the left shows the plant directly after repotting. At the beginning we filled in a 2-3 cm layer of clay pebbles as we do with bark mixes before we put in the plant. But this layer was too high for hydroponics, so the plant could not catch enough water. We repotted the plant again and filled in only a one-pebble-layer. After this modifikation it worked without any problems. The plant was growing very fast and built a new leaf.

On this photo you see the plant after 5 months. The Phalaenopsis-hybrid adapted perfectly to the new conditions, made a new leaf and new roots. All flowers are still at the spike. After 5 months they are more pale but they are still there. Members of our Facebook-group Orchitopworld repotted orchids in clay pebbles too and this worked as well.

Beside Phalaenopsis we cultivate Dendrobium phalaenopsis-hybrids, Multi-genera-hybrids (Cambria) and Masdevallia-hybrids in clay pebbles as well.


1. Roots have to be long enough to lay on the base plate of the Orchitop.

2. Remove all organic particles from the roots by cleaning them under warm water. .

3. Clay pebbles  8/16 are best.

4. Fill in only one-pebble-layer or put the orchid directly into Orchitop without any base layer. Fill in clay pebbles and ensure that all spaces are filled with clay pebbles.

5. 24 hours after repotting remove coaster, put Orchitop with plant into bathtube and rinse intensively.

6. Put on coaster again and put plant to the destinated location. Take care that the plant doesn´t get `cold feet´ especially in winter.

7. Two days after repotting fill coaster completely with water.

8. During the first two months spray orchids in the morning with warm water.

9. To avoid salination use salaries water e.g. rain water

10. The coaster is refilled when it is empty and dry. Exception: plants in clay pebbles 2-4mm or plants which demand less water due to rest period.

When you follow these instructions you can cultivate many orchid genera in semi-hydroponics at your window sill.