Phalaenopsis (pronounced FAIL-EN-OP-SIS), is without a doubt, one of the most beautiful orchids, and probably the easiest to grow in the home. The name is derived from the Greek meaning, “moth-like.” More that forty species occur in nature throughout the Asiatic tropics with most coming from the Philippines.

A mature Phalaenopsis should be in bloom for 8-10 months out of the year ; producing two or more complete spikes per year. The spikes can
carry thirty or more blooms with each lasting from 2-3 months. When the last flower has wilted, the spike can be cut back to about an inch above the second or third node (bump on the spike). Usually, a lateral shoot will form from one of these nodes within a few weeks to a month.

Temperature:
A minimum night temperature of 62-65 degrees F is optimum, but temperatures as low as 50F will not harm the plant. Actually , contrary to orthodox Phalaenopsis culture, lowering the night temperature 3-5 degrees seems to initiate flower spikes. Day temperatures should range between 7585F, although temperatures as high as 100F for short periods will not harm the plant if good air movement and humidity are maintained.

Light:
Good light promotes good flowering. As a rule-of-thumb, give the plant all the light it can take without burning. In the home, select a bright windowsill however, never let the plants sit in direct sunlight.

Watering and Feeding:
Always water orchids before noon, so that the plants are dry before night. How often to water depends on the potting media used, the size and type of pot (plastic, ‘holy’ or clay). When you water, water well, then let the plant become almost dry before watering it again. Phalaenopsis in bark or bark mixes feed with orchid food. Feed every 2 weeks all through the year (DO NOT FERTILIZE DRY PLANTS).

Repotting:
Phalaenopsis should be repotted at least every 2 years. Pot when the plants are in active growth so they become re-established more readily. The choice of potting media is up to the individual , although fir bark and bark mixes are by far the most popular and easiest to use; Fine grind for seedlings and medium grind for mature plants. When repotting, all dead and decaying roots should be removed . After repotting withhold water for a day or two to allow the injured roots to heal. For optimum aerations use ‘holy ‘ pots made especially for orchids. Plastic pots have an advantage over red clay pots in that they are less expensive in the long run, lighter, retain moisture longer, and thus require less watering. In addition, salt deposits do not build up in plastic or orchid pots, which means healthier root tips for your orchid.

Pests and Virus: 
Mealy bugs are probably the worst pests of Phalaenopsis. To control Mealy bugs and other related pests, we recommend a houseplant insect spray. Virus in Phalaenopsis appears as sunken, necrotic yellow spots on the leaves. It can be transmitted by contaminated cutting tools, pots, and stakes. Flame cutting tools and stakes each time they are used. Wash all pots in a strong bleach solution. Avoid handling plants any more than necessary. Plants with virus should be destroyed to prevent its spreading throughout the entire collection.

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