Phalaenopsis orchid care
Phalaenopsis is the name of a genus in the orchid family Orchidaceae. There exist about 60 known species of Phalaenopsis orchid and a broad collection of different hybrids. Phalaenopsis orchids are sometimes referred to as “Moth Orchids”. They are extremely popular and Phalaenopsis orchid care is certainly not difficult compared to many other more delicate orchid variants. The bloom will often last for several months and Phalaenopsis orchids can bloom more than once a year. Wild Phalaenopsis orchids grow on tree branches or stones, and are usually found below the canopy in humid lowland forests. They do however also occur in habitats exposed to dry and/or cool seasons. Phalaenopsis orchids are native to Asia and Australia. In Asia, they are found from the Himalayan mountain range to the Philippines. In Australia, they grow only in the northern parts of the continent.
Phalaenopsis orchid care - Medium
Most Phalaenopsis orchids are epiphytic, but some are instead lithophytic. Both varieties are sensitive to “wet feet” and the medium must therefore be well draining. A medium grade wood bark is a good choice.
Phalaenopsis orchid care - Temperature
The recommended day time temperature for Phalaenopsis orchids is 75-85° F (24 - 29˚ C). Your orchid will appreciate cooler nights, but the temperature should ideally stay above 60° F (15.5˚ C). A healthy and well-established Phalaenopsis orchid will typically handle occasional temperature extremes well as long as the exposure is not prolonged. The bud is however much more sensitive than the rest of the plant. Chilly temperatures can also make the orchid stop budding. Protecting your orchid from the cold is therefore an important part of proper Phalaenopsis orchid care.
Phalaenopsis orchid care - Light
Normal indoor lighting conditions are usually enough for a Phalaenopsis orchid and this is one of the reasons behind its popularity as a house plant. Wild Phalaenopsis orchids are usually found growing under vast canopies in lowland forests where they can remain sheltered from direct sunlight. Good Phalaenopsis orchid care will therefore involve protecting your plant from strong light. Indirect sunlight is much more beneficial for Phalaenopsis orchids. Strong light and too much sun exposure can easily burn the leaves.
Phalaenopsis orchid care - Watering
Phalaenopsis orchids are epiphytic or lithophytic and will not do well in a soggy plant medium. Water just enough to keep the medium moist right below the surface. During normal indoor conditions, watering once a week will be enough.
Phalaenopsis orchid care - Nutrients
Avoiding over-feeding is a very important aspect of proper Phalaenopsis orchid care. Never give your Phalaenopsis orchid more than one teaspoon of fertilizer per month, and dilute it well. You can feed the orchid 12 months a year. A high-nitrogen fertilizer is best.
Phalaenopsis orchid care - Repotting
Repot your Phalaenopsis orchid every other year. Water scarcely until the new roots has become well established after the repotting. Since these orchids grow upwards without spreading, you do not have to provide your Phalaenopsis orchid with larger and larger pots. Repot instantly if the potting medium goes bad, e.g. becomes infested by mould.
More information about orchids