How Much Light Do Phalaenopsis Orchids Need?

How Much Light Do Phalaenopsis Orchids Need

How much light do Phalaenopsis orchids need? How many hours of light does an orchid need? How do you know if your orchid is getting too much light? How do you grow and take care of a Phalaenopsis orchid indoors?

If you are scratching your head finding answers to these questions, this article is for you.

Here, we are going to share with you all that you need to know when it comes to taking care of your Phalaenopsis orchids. 

So relax and read on to learn more.

Phalaenopsis orchid, AKA moth orchids, are a popular variety of plants that can be grown indoors. The plants are easier to maintain, they require relatively low light requirements or indirect bright light but require a great amount of care to flourish.

Just make sure you don’t put your Phall directly in the path of sunlight, its leaves will suffer and hence lead to premature bloom drop.

In this article, we will show you exactly how much light Phalaenopsis orchids need, how to identify problems associated with growing these plants, and how to fix them.

Summary- How much light do Phalaenopsis orchids need? 

  • Phalaenopsis require bright, but indirect sunlight. A good rule of thumb is to place your plant in a window that doesn’t face the rays of the sun- probably east or west. Too much direct sunlight can hamper growth and result in premature bloom drop.
  • If exposed to direct sunlight, make sure you don’t do it more than 2 hours a day. When the leaves of your Phal plant start to form brown patches, it’s an indication of too much light. A healthy Phal plant will always have dark green leaves.
  • To regulate the amount of light for your Phal plants, put sheer curtains between them and the window.
  • You could use artificial light whenever there is insufficient light in your house or office.
  • You can put your Phalaenopsis orchid on a windowsill but make sure it’s on windows that face either north or east. For south-facing windows, place your orchid plants far away to prevent sunburn.

Ideally, you must make sure your Phalaenopsis orchid is getting bright, indirect sunlight all the time.

With that in mind, let’s get into the meat of this article.

How to Position Phalaenopsis Orchid

As mentioned above, Phalaenopsis orchid requires bright, indirect sunlight. That means the way you position it can determine how much light it will receive.

For that reason, you should mind how and where you place your plants.

For instance, placing the plants in a window facing to the east or west would allow the required amount of light to reach your Phalaenopsis orchid but placing the plants at the center or in a north-facing window will deny your plant the optimum light needed for growth.

Placing the plants direct to the sun rays where it is exposed directly to the sun for more than two hours could not only deter growth but could also kill the plant. Excess sunlight is an enemy of Phalaenopsis orchid.

Although excess lighting may not affect the plant immediately, over time, its leaves will get damaged.

Ideally, you should aim to expose your Phalaenopsis orchid plants to natural indirect sunlight between 11 am and 4 pm.

Also, don’t expose Phalaenopsis orchid to temperatures below 8 degrees centigrade or 47 degrees Fahrenheit- this is especially important if you prefer to place the plants in a windowsill during the winter season. Besides, always transfer the plants to the right location at night.

Examining the amount of light your phal is exposed to.

Sometimes it can be challenging to know how much sunlight your Phal is getting. However, there are plenty of ways to determine the amount of light hitting your plants.

The best time to examine how much light your Phalaenopsis orchid is getting is on a bright sunny day.

Use the tips below.

  • Observe your hand’s shadow– Here, you will place your hand, some few inches at least 12 away from the plant making sure your shadow falls on the leaves. If the shadow is faint or irregular, your plant is getting enough light.

If the shadow is black, it means your plant is getting excessive sunlight. So you will need to change the positioning.

  • Test with a lux meter. Unlike using the shadow to examine how much light Phalaenopsis orchid is getting, using a lux meter will give you an accurate measure of the light penetrating your plant. The good thing is that lux meters aren’t costly.

How to evaluate how much sunlight your Phalaenopsis orchid plants are getting using a lux meter. 

Lux is the measure of the strength of light an object is receiving. The optimal strength of light your Phalaenopsis orchids are getting should be 10700 to 16000 lux per square meter for at least 8 hours each day.

Well, you can expose the plants to lower light condition but this will hamper their growth. Too much light for a long time is also not healthy for Phalaenopsis orchids and that’s why they are suitable indoor plants.

Phalaenopsis orchid light problems: Signs the Phalaenopsis orchids are getting excessive light 

Ideally, you don’t need to scratch your head looking to know whether your orchids are getting excessive sunlight. Just observe the leaves.

Here is how to know your Phalaenopsis orchid is getting excessive light.

  • Leaf burn- When Phalaenopsis orchid’s leaves start to turn brown or get burned, it’s a sign your plants are getting excessive sunlight. If you had changed the position to near the window, you should gradually do that for at least one week.

Ideally, if you put an orchid you have grown in a dark condition directly to bright sunlight; its leaves will start to burn. Do it gradually over time until the plant gets used to the new environment.

  • Yellowing of leaves- A healthy Phalaenopsis orchid must have dark green leaves. Apart from that color, that’s a symptom of problems. And when the leaves start to turn yellow, it’s an indication of excessive sunlight.

If you expose Phalaenopsis to excessive sunlight, it will have short and hard leaves. Too much sunlight also slows down the growth.

Problems with low light conditions on Phalaenopsis orchids.

Signs Phalaenopsis is getting insufficient sunlight

It can be a bit tricky to know whether Phalaenopsis orchids are getting little sunlight since the leaves will retain a healthy and vibrant look. But if you notice a darker and bold green color, it’s an indication of little light. Besides, the plants won’t produce blooms.

Check the following signs to tell whether you are giving your Phalaenopsis orchids insufficient light.

  • The plants will take too long to grow.
  • Your orchids will fail to bloom or produce a few flowers.
  • Orchids leaves will start to grow long and skinny or short and broad, unlike those when the plant was growing.
  • Also, dark green colored leaves are an indication of problems.

As a rule, you should be cautious when positioning your orchids, especially when moving them from low light to higher light conditions and vice versa. You need to do everything gradually.

Can you grow orchids under led lights?

Yes, this is very possible but not essential unless the plant is getting little light. Usually, if you intend to grow Phalaenopsis orchid in a dark room, then LED or fluorescent lights would make the best option since they don’t expose your plants to excess heat. However, make sure your plants are getting 11000 to 16000 lux per square meter of light for at least 10 hours a day.

Do Phalaenopsis orchid roots need light?

Not necessarily. 

Surprisingly, orchids have green roots, unlike other plants. This is because they are epiphytic plants. They grow by attaching themselves to other plants and not in the soil.

And because the roots are always open to sunlight, the roots produce chlorophyll which is necessary for photosynthesis. Otherwise, orchids will still flourish whether the leaves get light or not. But it’s good to place your Phalaenopsis orchid in a transparent container where light can reach every part of the plant.

Optimal Phalaenopsis orchid growth conditions

Having known how much light is too much or too little for your Phalaenopsis orchids, here are the principles to help you grow healthy orchids.


You can grow orchids in temperatures of 60 to degrees Fahrenheit. These are normal indoor temperatures. Orchids can also do well in temperatures of 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

Just make sure the temperatures do not below 60 degrees Fahrenheit else, your plant will suffer.

During the winter, temperatures should be around 60 degrees Fahrenheit and above.


For health Phalaenopsis orchids, keep the humidity at 50% or higher. Usually, the average humidity around homes is 30 to 40%. So you will need to boost the humidity a little bit. To do this, you will want to allow water to evaporate continually around the container in which you’ve grow orchids.


Watering can affect or enable orchid to flourish. Here, you will need to observe the timing of when to water the plant. Just make sure you water the plant when it’s time to.

As we have said earlier, Phalaenopsis are epiphytic plants but they need thorough soaking. So do not underwater your orchids.

Generally, you should aim at watering your Phalaenopsis orchids early in the morning. Avoid using softened water and make sure to water your plants every 5 to 6 days. Note that when you allow your Phalaenopsis orchids to stand in water or if you water them in the evening, you will increase the chances of bacterial or fungal rot.

Just make sure the plant does not have any water residue on it before watering it again.

Potting mix

Regardless of the container or pot you use to grow orchids, what matters is how you care for your plants. You must make sure the roots get enough air and don’t overwater orchids. Ensure the container in which you grow orchid allows free circulation of air


Make sure you add fertilizer to your orchids every two weeks. A good fertilizer ratio is 3:1:1 but this depends on the media you grow your orchids in. As a rule, you should regulate your fertilizer usage depending on seasons. You could consult with plant experts for that matter.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it: We started by showing you how much light Phalaenopsis orchids need. We then discussed how to position orchids the right way. We’ve also talked about how you can tell whether your plants are getting enough sunlight by observing your hand’s shadow and a lux meter.

We also dwelt on the signs your orchids are getting excessive or little light.

If you were wondering whether you can grow orchids under led lights we hope you’ve got the answer. Lastly, we talked about the optimal growth conditions for Phalaenopsis orchid.

We hope this tell-all guide will help you grow and take care of your Phalaenopsis orchid.

Good luck!