The Phalaenopsis Orchid, also known as the Moth Orchid, is one of the most popular indoor houseplants, and there are many reasons why it so coveted. Firstly, the plant has an incredibly striking and alluring appearance, which makes it a top pick for people to show off in their homes.
Additionally, the Phalaenopsis Orchid also tends to thrive in indoor conditions. This is contrary to the common belief that a delicate plant such as the Orchid must be difficult to take care of. In actual fact, it is fairly simple to take care of Phalaenopsis, and in this article, we will go through everything that you need to know.
Phalaenopsis Orchids are a very popular plant that is well stocked in garden centers and even some larger retail stores. They are usually reasonably priced, which makes them a fantastic addition to any indoor plant collection.
Many people prefer these Orchids to a typical bunch of flowers since the flowers tend to die after a few months. In contrast, Phalaenopsis Orchids can be kept for a number of years, which means you can look forward to multiple flowerings. If you take proper care of your Orchid, then you can expect multiple reblooming. Below, we will explain everything you need to know to take the best care of your Phalaenopsis Orchid.
Caring for Phalaenopsis Orchids
Firstly, we will go through the basic care steps that you should keep in mind when keeping Phalaenopsis Orchids in your home.
Phalaenopsis Orchids are a plant that requires a lot of light; however, they don’t tend to thrive in direct light. This makes sense since they usually grow under large trunks of trees in nature. Therefore, they are well adapted to bright light locations but are unfamiliar with direct light.
The Orchids can be left on the windowsill; however, you should make sure that it is placed in west or east-facing window. This will allow the plant to receive the required amount of indirect sunlight.
But, it is not a requirement for the Orchid to be placed near the window; they can also thrive in indoor spaces that are away from the window. You should be sure to provide either a natural or an artificial source of light in this space.
One typical sign that your Orchid is not getting enough light is a change in color. A deeper green color can usually sign a light deficiency. Additionally, signs such as yellow leaves and brown spots can be a sign of overexposure to direct light. In some cases, leaves may even be burned as a result of too much direct light exposure.
The orchids are well adapted for indoor temperatures. The ideal temperature range for Orchids is between 63 and 84 Farenheight. You should aim to provide a consistent temperature that is somewhere in the middle of this range.
Additionally, Orchids tend to prefer a slightly cooler temperature in the night, and they tend to react badly to any drafts or sudden changes in temperature. Therefore, you should aim for consistency in both the day and night.
In the wild, Phalaenopsis Orchids tend to live in high humidity conditions. This means that they thrive in indoor conditions that have a higher level of humidity. It can be difficult to attain this level of humidity in a home with central heating since this can lead to very dry conditions in the winter.
Most species of Phalaenopsis Orchids require around 50-100% level of humidity. Obviously, a level of 100% will not be reasonable for you to live; therefore, you should aim for a level of 50-60%. The specific phase of your Orchid can also affect humidity requirements, and this will be explained later in the article.
Most healthy Orchids will benefit substantially from adding fertilizer; however, it will not solve most of the problems of an unhealthy Orchid. It is crucial only to use a fertilizer that is specifically designed for use on Orchids.
The reason for this is that Orchids tend to be significantly different from other types of plants, which means that generic fertilizer can cause harm. Orchid specific fertilizers contain a range of micronutrients that would not be available to them otherwise. You should use a reduced strength fertilizer on a regular basis rather than using a full-strength variant infrequently. You can purchase reduced strength fertilizers directly, or you can dilute the full-strength versions.
The reason for this optimum usage is due to the specific nature of the growth medium. Orchids tend to be grown in barks, and these do not tend to hold moisture or nutrients particularly well in comparison to soil. Therefore, it is beneficial to regularly apply bioavailable nutrients that can easily be accessed by the Orchid.
Optimum Fertilizing Schedule for Orchids
It is important to know when to use fertilizer on your Orchids. In general, they will not need much fertilizer during their blooming phase. The use of fertilizer is most needed during the vegetative phase since this is where most of the growth occurs.
Fertilizer can provide the Orchid with the energy to grow out new stems, flowers, and buds. You can use a weak solution of Orchid fertilizer every two weeks during the vegetative phase. In the flowering phase, it is not necessary to use any fertilizer. In the winter months, you can apply fertilizer once every 3-4 weeks. It is important to water your Orchid between applications of fertilizer to remove any potential buildup.
A fertilizer high in nitrogen is recommended for the vegetative phase and one high in potassium during the winter months. This combination promotes healthy flowers, which can last in the long-term.
Phalaenopsis Orchid Air Roots
One thing you will notice about your Orchid is the tendency to grow aerial roots. These roots will start to project upwards, and they will come out of your pot on the sides.
The Phalaenopsis orchid is an epiphytic plant, which means that it is used to growing on top of other plants. This means that aerial roots can be considered completely normal. In the wild, the roots have to work harder to find water and nutrients. The arial growth pattern is simply a natural development of this requirement.
These air roots are an important aspect of the Orchid as they ensure that the plant gets the nutrients that it requires. Rather than trying to cut them off or re-shape them, it is best to simply let them be. You can allow them to spill out the pot and to continue their growth pattern.
One advantage of air roots is that they provide an easy indicator as to when watering of the plant is required. Roots that are sufficiently hydrated will have a vibrant green color, whereas roots starved of water will have a dry look and feel crisp to touch. You will immediately notice a color change once you start watering the Orchid.
What to Do With Orchid Flower Stem
Once the Orchid has finished flowering, many people tend to consider cutting off the stem for aesthetic purposes. However, you should know that cutting off the stem is not a good idea for the health of the plant.
The stem stores many vital nutrients for the plant, and the Orchid makes use of the stem in the long-term to remain healthy. Whilst it slowly builds energy to re-flower, it will make considerable use of the stem as a form of energy storage.
One method to cut off the stem without drastically affecting the health of the Orchid is to cut only a part off. You can select the part that is above the 3rd or 4th node and leave the rest. This leaves behind plenty of stem, and it can also lead to new growth.
However, if you want to hide the stem, then you can simply place the entire plant somewhere that isn’t as visible. Many plant collectors have rooms or spaces for plants before they flower. You can then bring the Orchid out to show once it has begun flowering. But, Orchids don’t react well to sudden temperature changes, which means you should keep them somewhere consistent.
Phalaenopsis Orchid Reblooming Guide
One common assumption that some people tend to have is that a Phalaepnsos can only bloom once. Once it has finished blooming, many will simply believe that the plant is dying. However, this is far from the case.
Orchids have the capability to thrive for many years and are capable of reblooming multiple times if they are cared for properly. For any plant owner, it can be highly satisfactory to watch their Orchid during the different phases, and it is incredibly rewarding to see it bloom again. You can keep a close eye on the progress, and then enjoy the final result of blooming.
Once an Orchid has completely finished blooming, it will enter a period of dormancy. This can be mistaken for a dying Orchid; it is anything but. During this phase, you will need to pay a bit more attention to your Orchid and provide a higher level of care.
In the flowering phase, you can simply admire your Orchid whilst also watering it every so often. After this phase is over, there are a few things that you should do. Below, we will go through the steps you can take to ensure that your Phalaenopsis Orchid reblooms.
Place Your Orchid in a Bright Window
One of the best ways to restimulate a blooming phase in your Orchid is by providing the plant with excellent light conditions. Light provides your Orchid with the energy it needs to start blooming again. You should pick a window that is south or east-facing, and allow your Orchid to get a high amount of indirect sunlight.
Allow Some Temperature Variation
In usual circumstances, Orchids tend to thrive under consistent temperatures. However, this can be changed slightly during the dormancy phase. A variation of temperature between day and night can help to stimulate reblooming. You should keep the daytime temperature between 70-85 Fahrenheit, and keep the nighttime temperature between 60-70 Fahrenheit.
Trim Some Stems
We mentioned previously that completely cutting off the stem is not recommended. However, it can be beneficial to start cutting away any dead parts of the stem. You shouldn’t cut right back; instead, you should focus on carefully trimming any dead parts that are remaining.
You can cut the stem above the third or fourth node, and this shedding of dead stems will encourage new growth to take place. The cutting site itself can often be the starting point for new a new stem to grow.
Increase the Humidity
In the wild, a Phalaenopsis Orchid is accustomed to humid conditions. They benefit greatly from higher humidity during their vegetative phase and require lower levels during the flowering phase.
You can place your Orchid on a drip tray to increase humidity, but you must ensure that the water stays away from the roots. You can use a small amount of water to make a real difference to humidity. The water will evaporate, and this will naturally increase the humidity for the Orchid, and mimic the conditions that it is used to in the wild.
Optimal Fertilization for Reblooming
We have already gone through the fertilization guide for Orchids. You will have noted that the vegetative phase is when the requirement for fertilizer is at its highest. Once your Orchid has entered the vegetative phase after flowering, you can use a reduced strength fertilizer every two weeks.
Length of Time for Blooming of Phalaenopsis Orchids
You can expect to wait around 6-9 months between the flowering phases. The timescale can be affected by many different factors. Most of these factors are in your control since they depend on the specific growing conditions and general health of the plant. If you follow the guidelines laid out in this article, you can ensure good health and fast blooming of your Orchid.
Length of Time for Flowering of Phalaenopsis Orchids
One of the benefits of Phalaenopsis Orchids is that they have a long flowering Orchid, and this is one of the main reasons why they are such a popular indoor plant. The flowers are something to be truly marveled at. From the initial budding period, you can expect the flowering to continue for around 3-4 months, which is a considerably longer length of time.
By checking the buds on the main stem, you can see if flowering will continue. The presence of buds indicates that you can expect more weeks of flowering. After the buds have run out, you will notice the flowers start to wilt away. The lowest flowers will wilt first, but the ones at the top will remain healthy for weeks to come. This means that you can enjoy the flowers even after the flowering phase is over.
The lifespan of your Orchid depends on a number of factors. The usual answer given to this question is a few months, but that is because many people simply get rid of their orchids once they have finished flowering.
This can make sense since Orchids don’t tend to cost a significant amount of money. Some people don’t want to wait the extra few months for them to bloom again. However, the lifespan of the Orchids can surpass a few years when you take care of them properly. You can enjoy multiple blooming phases by following the care instructions provided.
Repotting Phalaenopsis Orchid Guide
There will be times where your Orchid needs repotting. This can be when the growing media starts to decompose or when the roots start outgrowing the original pot. It is important to keep in mind that Orchids prefer roots to be restrained. Below, we will go into the factors you should take into account when selecting a new pot for your orchid.
You should select a pot that is transparent since this will provide maximum light to the Orchids. It should also be airy and have many drainage holes. The extra ventilation will ensure that the roots get enough air.
Orchids can be placed in another decorative pot during the flowering phase. However, during the vegetative stage, it is better to leave them in one plastic pot, possibly in a room that is less visible. The best potting media for Orchids is bark chip-based media.
Before you start repotting, it is important to prune some of the roots. You can carefully inspect the roots and remove any that appear damaged or unhealthy. This can be done by hand or with the help of shears. You shouldn’t be too concerned about removing unhealthy roots since Orchids tend to thrive with a lower quantity of healthy roots, rather than a large volume of unhealthy roots.
In terms of watering, there are a number of specific things you need to keep in mind when caring for Phalaenopsis Orchids. Below, we will go through all the watering essentials that you need to know.
Only Water The Roots of Orchids
The first thing to keep in mind is that you should never water the leaves and flowers of your Orchids. It is essential to only water the roots. If you pour water from above, then it is likely to leave behind standing water within the crown, and this can lead to damage to the new leaves which are growing.
If this type of watering is done persistently, then it can lead to the formation of crown rot. This rot can eventually lead to serious damage to the plant and may even result in the plant dying.
There may be times where you accidentally get water in the crown of the Orchid or in its leaves. When this happens, it is crucial to act fast and to start absorbing the water with a paper towel. This will reduce the risk of any crown rot from forming.
Never Mist your Orchids
As mentioned previously, high humidity levels are important for Phalaenopsis Orchids. This requirement has led to some advice which states that mist can help to provide the humidity required. However, this is not a smart idea since it does not improve humidity levels in a significant manner.
Additionally, it is fairly inefficient and can cause water to start gathering on top of the leaves and flowers. This water can eventually lead to the formation of mold spots developing on the leaves and flowers.
Is Ice Water Ideal for Orchids?
If you look online, then you may see a debate as to the effectiveness of using ice water for Phalaenopsis Orchids. Many experts and people who own the plant often encourage the use of ice water. The thinking behind this advice is based on the small quantity of water, which is within an ice cube. Therefore, it makes it easier for people to avoid accidentally overwatering their Orchids. In general, it can be a decent way to keep track of watering.
However, if you live in colder conditions, then it is not recommended. The use of ice water can create cold temperature stress for your Orchids, which can affect their health. If you live in warmer conditions, then ice water is not likely to have a big impact on the health of your Orchids. It will melt fast, and therefore there will be no adverse temperature change for the roots or the plant. But, in warmer climates, the water requirement also increases, which means that you may risk underwatering your plant by using this method.
Ice cubes can be a good way to accurately measure how much you water, however in the majority of cases, it is better to simply use tepid water for your Orchids.
Signs That Your Phalaenopsis Orchid Needs Watering
Sometimes it can be difficult to know when your Orchid needs to be watered. Therefore, we will explain the specific signs to look out for below.
The first way to check the dryness of your Orchid is by weighing it. You can do this by lifting up the Orchid yourself or by using weighing scales. When you see the weight, it will be obvious whether the plant needs to be watered or not.
You can also test the potting mix with your finger. A simple poke into the soil will provide a good indication of how soggy or dry it is. If the top inch is very dry, then this is a clear sign that your Orchid needs to be watered. If you don’t want to use your finger, then you can make use of a wooden skewer. It is important to use the skewer carefully and gently to poke through. If it comes back damp, then your plant is hydrated. However, if it comes back dry, then this a clear indication that it needs watering.
It is crucial to keep in mind that overwatering is more common than underwatering when it comes to Phalaenopsis Orchids. Therefore, you should always check properly to ensure that your Orchid needs to be watered. There is nothing wrong with being cautious, and this is much more preferable to overwatering.
How to Water your Orchids
The method of watering is also highly important. Below, we will go through the best method of watering your Phalaenopsis Orchid.
One of the most effective ways to water your Orchid is by filling your pot with a few inches of water and letting it sit for 5 minutes. This will provide ample time for the roots to take up the water that they require. You can do this once every week or fortnight, depending on how how much watering is required.
Phalaenopsis Orchid pots usually have various drainage holes and a few sources of ventilation. These pots tend to be placed into aesthetic and decorative pots. If you have this setup, then one way to water your Orchids is by watering the roots by letting the outer pot partially filled with water. After 5 minutes, you can begin to empty the outer pot and drain out the inner pot. Then your Orchid can be placed back in the original position.
An alternative option for watering is to place the Orchid directly over the sink and directly pour water on the roots. You can also allow the pot to sit in the sink for 5 minutes, and the roots will absorb the water.
There is a tendency to water your Orchids more frequently but with less water. However, this method tends to lead to overwatering. The most efficient way to water your Orchids is by checking on dryness and giving them a thorough soaking on a weekly or fortnightly basis.
Never Leave the Roots Standing in Water
Once you have finished watering your Phalaenopsis Orchid, it is crucial to make sure it has been fully drained before you place it back on display. The roots must never be left to soak in water for too long since it can cause serious damage. Any prolonged soaking can lead to the development of root rot.
8 Top Tips for Keeping Your Phalaenopsis Orchid Healthy
Below, we will go through the eight essential tips you need to keep in mind to ensure that your Orchid remains healthy.
- Put your Orchid in a bright room where it can get plenty of indirect sunlight
- Water the Orchid infrequently, and always pay attention to the roots
- Ensure that you only water the roots
- Always use a well-draining pot
- Keep the Orchid after its flowering phase for reblooming
- Use a weak fertilizer solution that is specifically made for Orchids
- Don’t use mist on your Orchids
- Keep your Orchids in high humidity conditions
By following these tips, you can ensure that your Orchid remains in the best condition. Additionally, it will mean you can expect many flowering phases from your Orchid to enjoy in the long-term. This a plant where the flowers are simply stunning, and they add a touch of class to any indoor environment. Below, we will go through the things to look out for when purchasing a Phalaenopsis Orchid.
Phalaenopsis Orchid Buyers Guide
If you are on the lookout for a Phalaenopsis Orchid, then there a few features that you should pay careful attention to. Picking out a healthy plant means you can have one which lasts for years rather than months.
Look Out for Bright Green Leaves
One of the most important features to look out for in a Phalaenopsis Orchid is the leaves. This is because the leaves offer the greatest clue as to the general health of the plant. Ideally, the leaves should be fairly bright, and the color should stand out as deep vibrant green. The top leaves are the most important to look at.
In certain cases, you may notice some signs of yellowing and withering on the bottom leaves. However, if these leaves are rare and restricted to the bottom, it usually means that the Orchid is healthy. Shedding and prioritizing leaves is a natural process or a Phalaenopsis Orchid.
But, you must check properly to identify any large yellow or brown patches across the Orchid. Usually, these patches indicate that the plant has a disease, or that it is deficient of nutrients. Additionally, the patches can be caused by underwatering or overwatering of the Orchid. If you notice these patches, then you should not buy the plant, since it is very likely to have issues that may be difficult to resolve.
Check The Roots
Aside from leaves, the roots are the most important aspect of the Phalaenopsis Orchid to check. Healthy roots are always required for all types of plants to thrive. In the case of the Orchid, the roots can tell you even more than usual about the health when compared to other plants, which means that you should inspect closely. Orchids should ideally be planted in clear pots to ensure that the roots have adequate access to light. Since most Orchids are stored this way, it provides a great opportunity to get a good look at the roots.
There are a few characteristics that will indicate a healthy root for an Orchid. The first is how the roots feel; a healthy Phalaenopsis Orchid will have thick and firm roots. The roots can also come in a range of colors, which include white, silver, green, and pale yellow. However, if you notice black/brown roots that are mushy to touch, then this can indicate an overwatering problem or a disease if you notice that the roots and gray and flaky, then this can point to an under watering problem which leads to a dehydrated Orchid.
Finally, you should also lift up the Orchid plant to get a full look at the roots from a side angle. From the clear pot, you will be able to notice the look of the roots. You should only purchase a Phalaenopsis Orchid that has healthy and vibrant roots.
Look Out for a Strong Stem
Most Phalaenopsis Orchids tend to have one or two flower stems. The stems tend to grow a fair amount of flowers, which means that a durable stem is needed to provide adequate support. You should lookout for a stem that can easily support the flowers.
It is usually fairly noticeable when a stem looks like it is about to fall from the pressure. Nobody wants to see the stem of an Orchid fall apart because it means you would have to wait for months for new flowers. By keeping a close eye on the stem strength, you can ensure regular flowering to enjoy and admire.
Check Out the Flowers and the Buds
The flowers of Phalaenopsis Orchids themselves are also worth inspecting. If you require an Orchid, which will provide many flowers in a short amount of time, then it wise to opt for one that has not fully bloomed. It should also have a long and sturdy stem with a small number of flowers out, and buds that are waiting to develop. The species tends to flower for a few months, which means you can enjoy the beauty of the flowers for a long period of time.
You will now have a much clearer idea of how to properly care for the beautiful Phalaenopsis Orchid. By following the tips stated in this article, you can ensure that your Orchid remains healthy and grows at a normal rate. It is a plant that is sure to impress any visitors that come into your home. The magnificence of the flowers is simply stunning and a sight that any home can benefit from.