EASY AND CLEAR PHALAENOPSIS ORCHID CARE

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care:

Here is some some clear and easy to understand care instructions for Phalaenopsis orchids. These orchids are very beautiful and very popular and one that I recommend for a "Beginner's Orchid". They have long lasting blooms, are very elegant and will often reward your orchid growing efforts by reblooming.



Phalaenopsis is also sometimes known as the “Moth Orchid”.


It is important to note there is another orchid, a Dtps. or Doritaenopsis that is a hybrid of Phalaenopsis and Doritis orchids. It is very similar in form to a Phalaenopsis and it has very similar culture. Both of these orchids are easy to grow!

Phalaenopsis and Orchid Humidity Trays



The two Phalaenopsis in the picture are seedling crosses from a community pot I bought many years ago. The community pot had 25 little miniature Phalaenopsis seedlings. They all have the same parents came from the same seed pod so they are siblings. They all express the same miniature Phalaenopsis characteristics in size and all but one have slight variations in the pink and pink and white color of the flower. But only this one on the left has a wild color variation for the flower. The flower is very different from the other siblings. Using Humidity Trays as I do is a good example of good Phalaenopsis orchid care.

Click here to the Humidity Tray Page.

Phalaenopsis is listed by the American Orchids Society as the first orchid that is appropriate for a beginning orchid grower. Personally, I am very fond of these orchids and and Phalaenopsis Orchid Care. These orchids have so many redeeming qualities. They are incredibly beautiful, elegant even. They lend themselves to every décor from Japanese modern to Western and all in between. They come in many colors, and sizes and the blooms can last up to almost 4 months sometimes. They are easy to grow, very forgiving and re-bloom readily compared to some other more fussy orchids. What is not to like about all of those qualities?

So, for the number one easy orchid, here is what you need to know to understand Phalaenopsis orchid care.

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care General:

Phalaenopsis orchids are very popular and with good reason. One reason is that it is an easy growing orchid for the beginner. Another reason is that the flowers can last three months or longer. They have a graceful arching spike with many flowers. Now there are also hybrids that are multi-branching so you can have quite a display when they are in flower. They tend to flower in the late winter and the early spring. That said I have 2 in flower right now and it is mid fall here in California. The name Phalaenopsis is taken from the Greek term “phalaina” meaning “moth” and “opsis”, meaning “appearance” as the flowers have a moth like appearance. Phalaenopsis species range from Asia to the Philippines to New Guinea and parts of Australia. In the wild these areas have weather that is constantly warm and generally provides a humid environment and naturally provide Phalaenopsis orchid care. These plants are epiphytes which means they grow on other plants like trees but are not parasitic on the other plant. In the wild they derive moisture and nourishment from the air and rain.

Phalaenopsis have no pseudobulbs as do some other orchids like Oncidiums or Cattleyas. Pseudobulbs are water storage devices for the orchid to store surplus water. They are monopodial in growth and only store water in the leaves.

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care Light:

Phals. like bright light but do not like direct sun. They like east or south windows where they get bright light but again no direct sun. I grow mine in a room with south facing light about 6 feet (2 meters) from the window. They have approximately the same light conditions as African Violets between 1000 to 1500 foot candles. The foliage should appear yellow-green not dark green if the light is correct. If the leaves are dark green or the new leaf growing longer and narrower than the old leaf is an indication that the light is too low.

Pink Phalaenopsis

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care Temperature:

The ideal day temperatures are between 65 and 85 F. (18 - 29 C). Ideal nighttime temperatures are between 55 and 65 F. (13-18 C). The normal home temperature of 72 – 78 F. (22 – 26 C.) is fine for Phals. If you are comfortable with the temperature, Phals. will be as well. In the fall Phals. need the temperature to fall below 60 F. (16 C.) for three weeks to induce the plant to initiate a flower spike. A spike should start to appear about three weeks after this cold treatment. And the flower spike will grow in the direction of the source of greatest light. It is possible to grow Phalaenopsis under artificial light. Grow them 9 to 12 inches under fluorescent grow lights or 4 to 6 feet under 400 watt high intensity discharge lights or high pressure sodium lights. Your Phalaenopsis should have a flower spike growing by February. If it does not move it to where it will receive more light. Even a small incandescent light can make a difference.

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care Humidity:

Like most orchids Phalaenopsis orchids appreciate a more humid environment between 40% – 70 % relative humidity. One way other than misting (which I am not a big fan of due to the possibility of increased risk of fungal disease) to increase the humidity is to put a plate or saucer with little pebbles in it and put water in it. Put the orchids ABOVE the water. This increases the humidity around the plant. Phals. like it somewhat moist that said I let mine dry out sometimes when I get busy. ;=). You can also use humidity trays like the ones I sell very effectively. In fact I have almost all my 100+ orchids on these humidity trays. They are a fabulous orchid growing tool! If you are interested in checking them out further. Click here to link to orchids-plus-more.com's Humidity Tray Page.

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care Water:

Plants should be thoroughly watered when approaching dry but prefer not to completely dry out. In my conditions that is about once every week to ten days. However when in doubt, go drought. DO NOT use water that has been water softened as it can kill your Phal. It is important to give the plant a complete drenching when you water. It is best to water early in the day so that the leaves dry out. Do not leave water collected in the crown of Phals. as they are prone to crown rot. I water mine by putting them in a sink and running water through the pot 3 or 4 times over a 15 minute period. Then if I am going to fertilize I do it then as the roots have swollen somewhat and can absorb the nutrients.

Phals. are subject to crown rot, so when watering do it early in the day. It is best in many situations to water before noon so that the leaves have a chance to dry before it is cooler in the night. Do not let water stay in the crown for a long period. If necessary use a paper towel or something like that to soak up the puddle of water in the crown. Or have your Phal. located somewhere where it gets very good air circulation.

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care Fertilizer:

Fertilize with a balanced formula every two weeks, however dilute the fertilizer to between 1/4 and 1/2 the recommended strength of the dilution. The adage is "weakly, weekly". That said it is best to reduce the amount of fertilizer during the winter months when most plants are not in active growth. Do not fertilize orchids when they are dry. Only fertilize after you have given the plant a good drenching and the “velamen” has had a chance to absorb some water. Velamen, you ask? Velamen is the name of the thick spongy outer layer of cells on the roots of epiphytic orchids that absorbs moisture from the surroundings. That way your plant can properly uptake the nutrients in the fertilizer.

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care Repotting:

Best to repot Phals. every two years or so. Definitely when the media has broken down as Phals. are prone to root rot. I plant Phalaenopsis in plastic pots not in terra cotta as the roots tend to stick to the pot. I use either the standard green ones generally available in most nurseries or the clearer/whitish ones which I prefer. It is easier to see what the roots look like in the clearish pots. But as to what is exactly best for your Phal. will depend on where you are growing your Phal. I have some on sticks and mounts that do beautifully.

For re-potting: Phals like a porous mixture. I like to use a mixed media for most of my orchids. I make a blend of medium fir bark, small fir bark, large pearlite, charcoal and red lava rock. Depending on the orchid I will change the mix. If this is too complicated, just get some medium and some small fir bark for orchids from a nursery. It is often sold in small bags. Size the pot to the orchid. Use plastic pots not terra cotta or clay. You should be able to comfortably put the roots in the pot, not too big not too small. I like to preserve all its roots if possible. Healthy roots are the basis of a healthy orchid. But not all orchid growers agree with me. Some orchid growers will cut the roots off leaving at least 6 inches (15 cm) especially if the roots are aerial and growing many directions. As I said I rarely do this but some do. If you do cut them use a sterile razor blade or sterile technique to do so.

Rule of Thumb is Phals. need re-potting every 2-3 years. I sometimes go longer but I look at the media. If it is breaking down it makes the roots more prone to rot. So give these lovely orchids a chance. You will be rewarded for your efforts.


What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

My Orchid Is Sick, Can You Help? 
Hi, I've had my Orchid for about 6 months now. When I first got it, it had several shoots off the main stem and a pretty good amount of buds. Over …

Can My Phalaenopsis Have Too Many Aerial Roots? 
I was given a Phalaenopsis orchid for Valentine's Day 2011. It came from a grocery store floral area, potted with some kind of ivy and a fern. 1. …

How To Deal With A Yellowing Leaf 
I have a Phalaenopsis which has a brown yellowish leaf; do I just cut it off with a sharp knife? Thank you, Joanne

Another Question On Why Buds Fall Off  
I have several potted Phalaenopsis Orchids. They have bloomed beautifully, but now, the past two times they get buds on a long stem, looks good, then …

What Causes Phalaenopsis Leaves To Split? 
What causes the leaves of Phalaenopsis to split? I mist mine twice a day. Thanks for your reply, Anne G.

Will My Orchid Flower Again? 
My son gave me an orchid and after several months its flowers fell off. Will it flower again? What can I do to make it flower again?

Pests On Orchid 
I have a lovely orchid which has flowered for the last two years and now that the last flower has dropped off I have noticed small black flies hovering …

What To Do After Blooming And How To Encourage Reblooming? 
How do you treat the plant after the blooms die off to promote further blooms? I am a novice at this.

Pot Too Big? Should I Repot Now? 
I had the brilliant idea that I would put two plants in a 10 gallon fish tank. I have plenty of drainage at the bottom to create humidity but may have …

Where To Cut My Orchid After It Is Finished Blooming? 
Hi, My orchid has lost all its flowers. It has 2 very long stems (about 30 in each). Where should I cut it so that it continues to grow tall and gracefully? …

Moth Orchid ? 
This beautiful plant was given as a present about 2 years ago, it hasn`t stopped producing blooms yet but has started pushing out what I can only conclude …

When To Snip and Prune A Phalaenopsis? 
My roommate and I just bought a Phal. Right now she has 7 flower blossoms and 2 buds. A new bud blooms approximately every week for the past month. Basically …

Watering And A Pot With No Drainage 
This is a first for an orchid. We just received one from a friend and it is gorgeous. It came in a glass pot (without holes). Does the orchid need to be …

2 Orchids Thats Never Rebloomed 
Melissa, I have 2 orchids that are not in bloom right now. The first one was given to me 2 years ago and never rebloomed. The other orchid was in …

What Is Causing Bud Drop? 
I just bought a Phalaenopsis Orchid. Within a few days of having it in my home the buds started to drop one by one. Now I have the stem, where the buds …

Should I Repot My New Baby Orchid 
My husband bought me a 2" phal and I was just curious if I should re-pot it? I do not have a green thumb and I'm nervous about killing it.

My Beautiful Orchid 
I found my beautiful Orchid in a cheap supermarket in April. It was the only one left and looked a wee bit sparse, I loved the colour so took it home. …

When Will My Orchid Produce Flowers Again? 
My orchids quit blooming months ago, and the branches they grew on turned brown and hard, so I cut them down to about 1 inch above the leaf. I have been …

Phalaenopsis Orchid in a Glass Vase (No Drainage) 
My husband recently gave me a beautiful Phalaenopsis Orchid for my birthday. It currently has a 2 foot high bloom stem and five 6-8 inch healthy dark …

Pot For Orchid Has No Drainage, Should I Repot? 
I was given a Phalaenopsis orchid in a glass pot with no drainage holes is this ok for the orchid or should I repot it?

How To Water A Phalaenopsis 
I am an orchid novice. I have 2 Phalaenopsis orchids, one almost a year old, the other about 6 months. I have been using the ice cube watering system. …

What To Do With The Orchid Roots? 
Are all of these long pale green kinky things ROOTS? There is 15 growing on one of my orchids which has 6 beautiful blossoms on it one is 24 inches long. …

Phals. Keep Losing Blooms 
In late June, I purchased a "Just Add Ice" Phalaenopsis orchid. My windows face west so I placed it approximately 12 feet from the windows so it wouldn't …

New Momma For An Orchid, Should I Repot? 
My husband just sent me a beautiful Phalaenopsis Orchid for our one year anniversary (he is currently serving overseas). I have always loved orchids, …

What Is Wrong With My Orchids? 
Your article is very helpful, I am assuming I don't have enough light. I have had these plants for 4 years, and every year I get new leaves and never …

Plastic vs Terra Cotta? 
All of my phals were in plastic pots and most had beginning to be soft roots. So... I just put most of them in terra cotta knowing I will need to water …

My First Orchid 
I recently recieved a Phalaenopsis Orchid plant for my birthday. This is my first orchid so I am really nervous about killing it. Your site has been pretty …

Reblooming vs New Leaf Coming In 
I am a little confused as to what I should do. My orchid has finished flowering and I read that I should cut the spike above the second node so it can …

Blooms Wilting? 
I just received my Phalaenopsis orchid as a gift. The leaves are green and healthy and the roots look healthy as well. I received it in full bloom but …

Spots on Petals That Are Not Black or Dark Brown! 
I have had my orchid for about 2 months now and it has been doing amazing! At one point I had 13 blooms between 2 stems :) Up until about 3 weeks ago she …

Wilting Blooms 
Hi, We purchased two moth orchids and placed them on a North/east window sill (the best light available in our apartment). They get about one hour of …

Just Bought Two Orchids in Bloom Should They Be Repotted? 
I just bought two orchids that are in full bloom and am wondering if I should repot them now or if I should wait. They are still in the small clear plastic …

Bloom Questions 
Once my plant is finishsed blooming, should I cut down the stalks to leaf level? Will new stalks then grow with new blooms to follow? How many times …

Joyce Mathieson 
I recently purchased an orchid from a Fred Meyer store. It is in a small clear plastic cup inside a green ceramic pot. The instructions say to water …

How To Best Deal With Mealy Bugs? 
What is the best way to get rid of mealy bugs? My Phals. have had such an outbreak a friend who raises orchids said to use Bayer's rose spray which I find …

Phalaenopsis Orchid 
How to prune?

White Powder on Leaves and Stems 
Our Phalaenopsis orchids have recently developed a white powdery substance like a mold or mildew, maybe? on the leaves (particularly on the under side) …

Lost Center Leaves and Now Re-Blooming! 
I wonder if this is unusual for an orchid that has lost its center leaves to continue to grow and bloom. I have a Phal. orchid that has done just that …

What Do I Do With My Dtps. Now That It Has Finished Flowering? 
My DTPS, has lost all it's flowers,the plant still has beautiful leaves. Is it garbage now? What do you do with it at this point? As you can see I am …

leaves caring 
Could I clean Phalaenopsis orchid leaves with moisture cloth?

What About Self Watering Pots for Phalaenopsis? 
I was given a moth orchid, I am new to orchids and found your web site very informative. I have a question. My orchid came in a container called Ella …

Should I Re-Pot and Trim Off Soft or Rotten Roots? 
Hi there, I received an orchid (Phalaenopsis) back in February and it had flowered up until March when most of the flowers started drooping at which point …

Should I Water My Orchid Right Away? 
My son just got me a Phalaenopsis orchid. My question is: should I water it right away?

Leaf mush 
some of my Phals suddenly started to have the leaves turn to mush, some were yellowed some were not. this is on more than one plant and happened almost …

My Orchid Has Leaf Troubles 
I have had my orchid for quite sometime now and have found myself CONSTANTLY moving it from spot to spot within my house to keep the bugger happy with …

Can You Advise About Re-Potting And Balancing Weight of Leaves? Not rated yet
Our orchid grew 15 flowers last year and 13 the year before. But the leaves grow sideways out of the pot and keeping the pot upright is now impossible. …

Phalaenopsis Orchid Is Leaning To Light, And Watering Quesiton Not rated yet
My orchid is leaning over quite a bit...I rotated it to the other side of the window and nothing has improved. I also have a watering question. When …

Phalaenopsis Orchid Leaf Problem Not rated yet
I have had this Phalaenopsis orchid for several years. One of the leaves has a section on the top that is whitish and bumpy and seems to have gotten bigger. …

How Large Of A Pot Should I Use When Re-potting My Orchid? Not rated yet
I recently got an orchid as a gift. I'm waiting for it's second bloom and then I think I need to re-pot it. The roots look root bound (it has a clear …

Need Help With Root Rot & Re-potting Not rated yet
Hi there! ^.^ My name is Anique and I recently started working at the Superstore in the Floral department. I instantly fell in love with the orchids …

Questions About Pruning A Phalaenopsis Stalk And Aerial Roots Not rated yet
I have questions about pruning a Phalaenopsis stalk. Do you have to prune it? Do you prune it right at the base? There are 2 green curly things sticking …

How To Divide Phals. With New Growth From The Sides Not rated yet
Hi Melissa - I was given a Phal. last winter - my first orchid. After the last bloom finished and fell off and the spike turned yellow and ugly, I clipped …

Questions About Phalaenopsis Care In Texas For Fall And Winter Not rated yet
I arranged my Phalaenopsis (still in plastic pots) around oak trees in my front and backyard. They had adapted very well outdoor and the flowers blooms …

Orchid Questions From A Beginner Not rated yet
Hello there, Recently I bought 3 orchid plants. 1.Phalaenopsis. 2.Dendrodium and 3.Zygopetalum. They are beautiful. However, the leaves of the Zygopetalum …

Amateur Grower Not rated yet
Hi, I am hoping you can help me with what appears to be contradictory advice. The new leaves on my Phanalopsis are long and narrower than the older …

My Moth Orchid Leaves Are Going Yellow Not rated yet
I bought a moth orchid a few weeks ago. It has three leaves with beautiful white flowers. Now one of the leaves is starting to go yellow. Could it be …

Winter Care Not rated yet
I have my first orchid and all of the blooms are now gone, should I cut part of the stalk? Does it need different care now that winter is near?

Sibling Plants... Not rated yet
I recently was given a white Moth Orchid. It seems to be two siblings. The plant is rather large and currently in bloom. Unfortunately one of the plants …

Please help! My Phal. Has Lost All The Leaves Not rated yet
I have a Phal. that was a gift this past Valentines Day so it does mean alot to me. It bloomed throughout the Spring and then the stem that the blooms …

What About Cooling A Phalaenopsis Orchid If It Already Has A Spike?  Not rated yet
Hi, I have a spike on my orchid it has been about 2 inches long for the last 2 months, just doesn't get any longer. In reading your column it states a …

North Side Window With 23 Watt Light Not rated yet
Will a Phalaenopsis orchid be able to grow on a window sill on the north side, with a 23 watt light above it?

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