Houseplant Spotlight: Phalaenopsis – Moth Orchid
Long lasting blooms on a low maintenance plant
In nature Phalaenopsis are shade-loving plants but will do better in a bright or filtered room without direct sunlight. Their leaves can easily burn in direct sun.
The size of the pot the plant is growing in, the type of growing mix and the time of year will all affect how often the plant should be watered. The easiest way to determine the watering cycle of your plant is to check it’s weight. Using a kitchen scale or just holding it to get a ‘feel’ for its weight when it’s dry versus after it’s been thoroughly watered.
Phalaenopsis like to dry out in between watering but dislike getting bone dry. Water your plant thoroughly in the sink, getting both sides of the leaves wet. Don’t worry about splashing the flowers, it won’t hurt them. You can even let your plant soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
Phalaenopsis do well when fertilized weekly year-round with half-strength fertilizer.
After watering, tip the plant from side to side to drain out any excess water and drain any water collected in the crown.
Phals are equally happy in sphagnum moss and large size orchid bark. Orchid bark dries out faster than sphagnum moss so choose potting mix according to your personal preference and commitment to watering maintenance.
Steam jungles of Southeast Asian and Northern Australia
Phals have proven extremely adaptable and will live happily in the home environment but will especially love a bright room without direct sun and occasional misting.
Repotting and reblooming:
Phals should be repotted every 18 to 24 months. They like their roots tight in their pots. A mature phal establishes a rhythm of blooming, often producing a new leaf and then a new flower spike. It can take a few months for your new orchid to get used to your house so it may take a little longer before it blooms a second time.
Hands down the most popular orchid in the world today the moth orchid needs no introduction. Coming in a variety of colors and sizes, these mass produced Phalaenopsis are tough as nails and can flower for months. Growers have even cut the seed to bloom time from seven years to two years and with their affordable price point and easy availability it’s not hard to have a flowering Phalaenopsis all year long.