Phalaenopsis

The most popular orchid with orchid growers. Their longevity and tolerance, together with the thousands of different varieties now available, make them ideal orchids for gifts and display. Phalaenopsis are very easy to look after despite what many people think. They make good indoor plants because they can tolerate the drier heat of central heating as well as having extremely long-lasting flowers at any time of year.

General Care

Around 50 original species come from eastern Asia and the Philippines and grow naturally as epiphytes on trees in the warm, tropical forests, so need warmth all year round. High humidity is also beneficial. They do not have bulbs like other orchids but instead grow fleshy leaves, which store food and water with new ones forming from the central crown. They also produce a lot of aerial roots that come over the side of the pot as well as into the bark compost.

Light and temperature

An east or west facing windowsill is very good or a bathroom, for humidity, provided the light is adequate. Do not put plants in direct sunlight. Household conditions with a minimum temperature of 16C, but not higher than 26C, is desirable.

Watering and feeding

They benefit from humidity. To keep humidity high around the plants, place them in a saucer of gravel or grit and keep it moist. Spray plants to keep humidity up and avoid too much water in the pot. Spraying with Orchid Myst is especially beneficial. Alternatively, feed with Orchid Grow once a week during the growing season and with Orchid Bloom when in flower or when a spike is growing. Use rainwater if possible, bring to room temperature for best results.

Re-flowering

  1. If flowers drop from the plant naturally when it has finished flowering, then cut flower spike back to a node on the flower stem starting at the top-most node. This may shoot and produce a new flower spike. If this does not produce a new spike within a month or so, or if the stem starts to go brown, then cut above the next node down, and repeat the process.
  2. If the stem dies back (goes brown all the way back to the plant) then cut it off just above the growing point, about half an inch (10mm) up. Place plant in cool place (north facing window sill) for a month to six weeks. This will promote new growth and new flower spikes. When a new spike shows, move the plant back to warmer conditions.

New plants

Sometimes a new plantlet grows from the nodes of a flowering spike when all the blooms have gone. Leave these to grow to form a new plant. When the plantlet shows signs of aerial roots, and with at least two leaves, then carefully remove the little plant by cutting the old flower stem above and below the small plant. Pot it in to moist sphagnum moss and leave it there until it grows more leaves (feed and water as for a mature plant). Later, pot on as a mature plant.

KingDanseuse_phalaenopsis

Re-potting

Re-pot annually in to a slightly larger pot. Plants may be left in their original pot for up to two years, but not more. For more advice and illustrations on re-potting, please click here.  Never use a re-potting medium that contains peat. Always use a bark or coir-based medium. Always use a clear orchid pot with plenty of holes at the bottom for adequate drainage. The clear pot will promote photosynthesis by the roots.

Pests and diseases

Phalaenopsis do not suffer greatly from pests and diseases, but may occasionally get greenfly and mealy bug. Use Provado Insect Killer aerosol spray to control these. Other afflictions are rare. Most Phalaenopsis are killed by over watering.

Care Products:

    • Orchid Myst Repotting Kit

      Orchids, when grown in bark-based media, need to be repotted every 12-18 months. This kit offers you all you need to repot and revitalise an orchid.

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    • Orchid Myst

      Orchid Myst is first and foremost a nutrient solution containing all the elements needed by orchids, in the right proportion and at the kind of strength encountered in their wild habitat.

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  • Orchid Focus Grow and Bloom

    Formulated to the highest standards for the specific nutritional requirements or orchids. The Orchid Focus feeding programme is recommended by The Eric Young Foundation, the leading UK authority on orchid hybridisation.

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