Phalaenopsis Orchid Plant Care

Table of Contents

The Phalaenopsis orchids are an exotic flower that is nearly impossible to grow outside. Yet as indoor plants, they brighten up any indoor space. Still, the Phalaenopsis genus provides plant lovers with many popular orchids, especially for the beginner.

Today, we will help you care for the Phalaenopsis spp.

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care

Phalaenopsis orchid

The Phalaenopsis orchids grow in the tropical regions of Australia and Asia. The flower stem grows from the axils developing multiple flower buds. These flowers can bloom for months when you care for them properly.

The flowers are long-lasting and displayed on arching branches. One flower spike can have up to 20 flowers, each lasting for weeks. Still, if you want to grow moth orchids in the Phalaenopsis genus, you can do this outdoors in the USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12.

Anywhere else, it would be best to grow the moth orchid indoors.

How to Grow Moth Orchid Indoors

Phalaenopsis orchid

While the Phalaenopsis orchids are not oversensitive, they can grow well under the right conditions. The best part is they reward you with some showy blooms as if it is blooming plants.

You will see it growing tree trunks with branches in its natural habitat, which best mimics the same conditions as indoor plants.

It helps find the right balance between airflow, light, temperature, and humidity for successful growth. The important thing is to keep checking the overall health of your orchid.

Healthy orchid displays bright green leaves. You may see some yellow leaves at the bottom, but it is not always bad.

For orchids, this is normal as the young leaves become a priority for their health while the bottom leaves die back.

So, let’s dig in and see what your Phalaenopsis orchid needs to flourish and look healthy.

The Type of Soil Phalaenopsis Orchids Needs

Regarding Phalaenopsis orchid care providing the best living environment, it needs suitable soil. In its native habitat, the moth orchids grow on trees and are epiphytic orchids. Hence, it needs a host, and it helps to mimic these living conditions.

orchid bark

So, potted orchids need a potting medium made from redwood bark chips, fir tree bark, or even pine bark chips. Then complete the potting mix with sphagnum moss, coconut husk, perlite, or charcoal to retain moisture.

You can buy orchid mixes if you do not prefer making up your potting medium yourself. The vital thing to having healthy roots is to provide enough air circulation not to suffocate.

Light Requirement for Phalaenopsis Orchid

The Phalaenopsis are low light types of orchid. Exposing them to direct sunlight can scorch those gorgeous light green leaves. Hence, it would be best if you found a balance for your epiphytic, outdoor plants.

Phalaenopsis orchid light requirement

The best spot in winter is at the east or south-facing window to receive direct light exposure. Still, please rotate your plant from time to time to provide consistent growth. The best way to know when you grow orchids if the light is too bright or too little is through the leaves.

Many orchids will produce a vibrant light green leaf with the correct lighting. While dark green leaves show, it is receiving too much light. The foliage can get a pink or red tinge along the leaf margins turning yellow.

If you cannot provide the correct natural light, then it helps to use supplemental grow lights. We recommend placing your orchid about 12 inches underneath the growing lights if treated as an indoor plant.

How To Water Phalaenopsis Orchid Plants

Orchid watering

The Phalaenopsis is part of the monopodial orchid genus, which grows with a single stem. This elegant plant does not have large pseudobulbs found at the branching. Hence, it does not store a lot of water and is not drought tolerant.

You can water your plant weekly during the growing season or when you notice the exposed roots turning white-silver. The best water is tepid water run over your plant, the bark, and the aerial roots about four times with lapses of ten minutes.

It will help give the plant enough time to absorb the water. Then leave the excess moisture to drain and empty the catch sauces. Neither should water rest around the stem, resulting in leaf and root rot.

The roots will then turn green, showing that it has received their fill of water. When you see flower stalks, you can reduce your watering schedule to every other week. When you do this, you will see the beautiful flowers displayed.

Fertilizer Needs

During summer, the growing season, you can provide your orchids with diluted orchid fertilizer every fourth week. Then, during the flowering phase, you can skip feeding from fall and winter to spring.

This is because too much fertilizer results in too much foliage without blooms. In the orchid culture, many people give their plant a bloom booster from September to October. They do this to start the flower spike.

Temperature and Humidity Levels

Phalaenopsis orchid temperature and humidity requirement

The beautiful plant is a warm houseplant preferring temperatures between 75°F and 85°F. Yet, the orchid can adapt to your average home temperature. But the higher the temperature your plant needs, the higher humidity with enough airflow to prevent disease.

In the orchid culture, many successful growers have ceiling fans or use a stationary fan where they grow orchids. Another thing about these beautiful flowers is that they need cool nights around 55°F to induce the flower spike to bloom.

Hence these humidity orchids need the correct moisture levels and temperature to flourish.

Repot Orchids

repotting orchids

The best time to repot your orchid is in spring, planted in a free-draining container with enough drainage holes. Some excellent containers are four- to six-inch pots made of plastic or terra cotta.

The reason to repot Phalaenopsis is that it is finished blooming. Alternatively, if the roots grow out of the container, it also helps to provide your orchid with a new home. It can take up to two years before you need to repot orchids.

Another helpful thing is to disinfect the container with a weak bleach solution and wash your hands and tools before repotting. Then fill the pot with some potting mix. Finally, remove our plant to check the roots and remove the brown roots.

Then place your plant into the new pot and moisten it with water. You can then mist your plant daily until new roots start to form. Also, keep your plant in indirect light.

Encouraging Phalaenopsis Orchids to Bloom Again

When orchids in nature grow during the winter, you see the flower stems, and the cold encourages new flower buds to grow. Once your orchids complete flowering and the blooms fall off, you can cut the bare flower stem.

You can cut the node below a previous bloom or branch. If you see a brown or yellow stem, it helps to remove the whole flower spike. Then move your plant to a cooler place, keeping it in bright indirect light to give it rest.

You can then water less and not feed your orchids during this time.

Propagating Your Phalaenopsis Orchids

You can propagate your orchid by seed, yet it is time-consuming and requires special equipment. The easiest method for home growers is planting the Keiki growing on the parent plant. Hence, you get an identical copy of the mother orchid.

When you see the baby forming on the parent plant on the new or old flower spikes, the best is to leave it there for up to a year. Then you can remove it to place it in its pot. Here is the process to help remove and plant the Keiki:

  • First, sterilize some scissors and the pot you plan to use for your Keiki.

  • If you see the baby is about three inches long with up to three leaves and a few roots, you can cut it away from the plant. The best is to keep the roots intact.

  • Prepare your potting mixture and plant the baby in it, exposing some of the top root parts.

  • Then mist your plant daily until it becomes established and care as usual.

Phalaenopsis Orchid Varieties

In the Phalaenopsis genus, you can find about 60 true species, and they have been hybridized, ranging from classic white to jewel-like hybrids in yellow and some candy pink. Here are some of our favorites:

Phalaenopsis ‘Liodoro’

Phalaenopsis 'Liodoro'

The Liodoro has bright green wavy leaves with pink to purple star-like flowers. The orchid can reach a height of up to 19-inches.

Phalaenopsis schilleriana

Phalaenopsis schilleriana

The orchid produces long-lasting flowers with dark green variegated leaves in a pink to purple color. The stem of this variety can bloom with up to 200 flowers on each stem.

Phalaenopsis stuartiana

Phalaenopsis stuartiana

The orchid displays white flower spikes with red to yellow dots on the multiple branches reaching up to 30-inches tall.

Phalaenopsis Orchid Basics

Here we have the essential tips for the Phalaenopsis orchids:

  • Blooms: Winter to spring and can bloom year round

  • Water Requirements: Like moist potting media but not too much moisture.

  • Temperature: It is a warm growing plant that needs a minimum temperature of 55°F.

  • Fertilize: Needs feeding weekly with an increase up to 50% from May to September.

  • Growth Habit: In early fall, one can grow up to three new leaves per year, with flower spikes emerging at the base of the second leaf node from the top. You will see new leaves in summer, bloom spikes in fall, and blooms in winter and spring.

Where to Buy Phalaenopsis Orchid Plant?

The good news is that the Phalaenopsis orchids you can find at a local nursery or a store as it is a popular orchid. Still, if you would like to order one to deliver to your door, you can find one here at Plantly.

Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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