Phalaenopsis Orchid Care
The first thing people interested in Phalaenopsis orchid care should know is, that caring for this beautiful plant indoors is relatively stress free.
That’s because Phalaenopsis Orchids (Moth orchids) are one of the easiest orchids to grow in homes and offices, being no more difficult to succeed with than many other indoor plants.
They prefer moderate light and comfortable (for them and you) room temperatures.
This makes them an ideal species of orchid for those new to indoors plants or those who may have been reluctant to try growing orchids due to their reputation of being difficult to maintain.
This reputation I have to say is a little unfair as orchids tend to behave quite well as long as they’re in conditions that meet their specific needs.
Most moth orchids grow to 15 – 24 in / 37.5-60cm when in full bloom. The broad green leaves spread outward, so the plants are wider than they are tall when not in flower.
Several blossoms appear on each flowering spike, and sometimes a second flower spike emerges when the first one is cut.
Flowers last 6 weeks or longer. The flat blossoms with sensual centers may be white, pink or yellow, or show intricate mottled patterns.
Phalaenopsis orchids develop sturdy roots including some that wander over the sides of the pot, perhaps in search of a tree to climb.
Phalaenopsis Care Indoors
Moderate to bright light. Try an east window where days are warm and nights are cool.
Moth orchids are fine to keep indoors all year-round.
Evenings 65F / 18C and afternoon temperatures up to 80F/ 27C. In winter, 2 weeks of cool temperatures (around 55 F / 13C) improve flowering.
Water & Humidity
Allow soil to dry to 1in/ 2.5cm below the surface of the soil between generous waterings every 5-7 days. You can water less often in winter but don’t let the soil completely dry out. Moderate humidity is essential for the wellbeing of your moth orchid. A soil moisture meter can be a good help here,.
Regular orchid potting mix is recommended. Potting mix for orchids is not really soil but a mix of coarsely cut fir bark or redwood bark, with small amounts of peat moss, perlite or vermiculite added in.
In spring and summer, add a balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted to half the normal strength recommended on the label with one out of every three waterings.
In fall and winter, feed every 3 weeks with fertilizer diluted with water at one quarter of the strength recommended.
Phalaenopsis Orchid Repotting
Repot every 2 years to discard decomposed potting mix. These plants enjoy being slightly root bound.
Most orchids develop small plantlets called keikis, on the flowering spike. After the plantlets have three leaves, and 3in / 7.5cm roots, they can be cut off and potted up.
Note that when propagating orchids, set the small plants in 4in / 10cm pots so they will grow tight, compact root balls.
Mist newly propagated moth orchids daily for several weeks to maintain high humidity, which reduces demands on developing roots.
After propagating, orchids may not bloom for a year, or sometimes two, which is why it’s not a good idea to propagate orchids until necessary, which is usually every 5 years.
Pedigrees on moth orchids can be quite long highlighting the extensive hybridizing that has been done with these plants.
Price can vary widely, with the latest releases more costly that the more established varieties. You should have no problem in finding a reliable, proven strain in a color you like at an affordable price.
Because of their easy-going nature, moth orchids are quite happy to share a growing environment with other indoor plants such as Rex Begonias, that enjoy a window position that warms up in the daytime and cools down at night.
PROBLEM: Plant doesn’t bloom
CAUSE: Improper temperature range; too much fertilizer or not enough light
SOLUTION: Orchids must have a 10-20F / 6-9C difference in temperature between day and night temperatures; and only enough fertilizer to keep them from going hungry. Ensure that your plant is getting sufficient light as per directions given above. Be aware that it can take a plant months to re bloom so you may have to be patient.
PROBLEM: Buds are dropping off
CAUSE: If located in dry conditions, your moth plant may be reacting to a lack of moisture or humidity.
SOLUTION: Ensure that your plant is receiving sufficient water and misting as per directions given above.
When flowers drop from the orchid you have three choices: leave the flower spike (or stem) intact, cut it back to a node, or remove it entirely. Remove the flower spike entirely by clipping it off at the base of the plant.
PROBLEM: Leaf tips turn brown
CAUSE: Over fertilization; improper watering
SOLUTION: Water according to the guidelines given above and make sure that you have diluted your fertilizer as recommended. Brown leaves are a common sign of fertilizer burn.
PROBLEM: Shrivelled Leaves
CAUSE: Under watering
SOLUTION: Make sure that your plant is getting sufficient water through a proper watering regime. Also check for root damage as this may be restricting water intake. If leaves are limp, the plant may need humidifying via a damp pebble tray or you may wish to invest in a humidifier.
PROBLEM: Flowers have small, brown, circular spots
CAUSE: Petal blight, a fungal disease.
SOLUTION: Remove affected blossoms. In future, increase air circulation around the plant to prevent reoccurrence.
PROBLEM: Leaves turn an unusually light green color
CAUSE: Excessive sun
SOLUTION: Move plant to a shadier spot.
If you’d like to see 5 more easy to care for orchids for beginners, click here
I hope this article provides you with enough phalaenopsis orchid care information to encourage you to begin enjoying this beautiful plant indoors.
Like this article? Pin it on Pinterest