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”.
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.
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.
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?
Can My Phalaenopsis Have Too Many Aerial Roots?
How To Deal With A Yellowing Leaf
Another Question On Why Buds Fall Off
What Causes Phalaenopsis Leaves To Split?
Will My Orchid Flower Again?
Pests On Orchid
What To Do After Blooming And How To Encourage Reblooming?
Pot Too Big? Should I Repot Now?
Where To Cut My Orchid After It Is Finished Blooming?
Moth Orchid ?
When To Snip and Prune A Phalaenopsis?
Watering And A Pot With No Drainage
2 Orchids Thats Never Rebloomed
What Is Causing Bud Drop?
Should I Repot My New Baby Orchid
My Beautiful Orchid
When Will My Orchid Produce Flowers Again?
Phalaenopsis Orchid in a Glass Vase (No Drainage)
Pot For Orchid Has No Drainage, Should I Repot?
How To Water A Phalaenopsis
What To Do With The Orchid Roots?
Phals. Keep Losing Blooms
New Momma For An Orchid, Should I Repot?
What Is Wrong With My Orchids?
Plastic vs Terra Cotta?
My First Orchid
Reblooming vs New Leaf Coming In
Spots on Petals That Are Not Black or Dark Brown!
Just Bought Two Orchids in Bloom Should They Be Repotted?
How To Best Deal With Mealy Bugs?
White Powder on Leaves and Stems
Lost Center Leaves and Now Re-Blooming!
What Do I Do With My Dtps. Now That It Has Finished Flowering?
What About Self Watering Pots for Phalaenopsis?
Should I Re-Pot and Trim Off Soft or Rotten Roots?
Should I Water My Orchid Right Away?
My Orchid Has Leaf Troubles
Can You Advise About Re-Potting And Balancing Weight of Leaves? Not rated yet
Phalaenopsis Orchid Is Leaning To Light, And Watering Quesiton Not rated yet
Phalaenopsis Orchid Leaf Problem Not rated yet
How Large Of A Pot Should I Use When Re-potting My Orchid? Not rated yet
Need Help With Root Rot & Re-potting Not rated yet
Questions About Pruning A Phalaenopsis Stalk And Aerial Roots Not rated yet
How To Divide Phals. With New Growth From The Sides Not rated yet
Questions About Phalaenopsis Care In Texas For Fall And Winter Not rated yet
Orchid Questions From A Beginner Not rated yet
Amateur Grower Not rated yet
My Moth Orchid Leaves Are Going Yellow Not rated yet
Winter Care Not rated yet
Sibling Plants... Not rated yet
Please help! My Phal. Has Lost All The Leaves Not rated yet
What About Cooling A Phalaenopsis Orchid If It Already Has A Spike? Not rated yet
North Side Window With 23 Watt Light Not rated yet