The Phalaenopsis orchid, also called Phal, is widely preferred by those who wish to grow orchids which are not too demanding on the grower. It is often the choice of beginners and home growers because they are easily grown and rebloom for years.
Phalaenopsis is a very appealing houseplant since it is quite easy to maintain the plant in a house or office environment. Proflowers.com offers fresh cut orchids, and potted orchids.
There are almost 60 different species of Phals in different shapes, sizes and colors; white, pink, lavender and pale yellow being the most common. They may be plain, stripped or spotted but are surely a visual delight. Like the Dendrobium orchids, the plants grow about 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide.
The Phalaenopsis orchids are also known as Moth Orchids, as the word “Phalaenopsis” means “moth-like” and the blooms seem to resemble the flight of moths in the forest. Phalaenopsis gigantea is the largest Phalaenopsis species. The Phals do not have any smell but the blooms last up to 2 months if not damaged.
Growing the Phals
Temperature and Water:
Phalaenopsis orchids grow best when provided with a warm temperature and a lot of indirect lighting. A curtained living room, for example, would be ideal. They should do best if the night temperature is about 60 degrees and about 75 degrees during the day. Proper watering is critical to orchid care.
To find out if the orchid needs watering, you could check to see if the medium is drying out. In case it is the plant should be watered thoroughly and allowed to stand till the medium starts drying again. The method used to water the orchids would typically depend on the medium they are planted in.
If the plant is potted in a water retaining medium, such as the moss medium it can be simply watered by a watering can. If not then the plant needs to be watered under a faucet, preferably in warm water for about 15-20 sec. Gardeners.com has some good water saving products such as rain barrels.
Air and Humidity:
The Phalaenopsis orchids grow best when there is air circulation. Use of a small fan is a low speed is recommended in the growing area. They also prefer a rather higher humidity environment (60- 70%) than other orchids such as the cattleya orchid. Providing such an environment should help them bloom season after season.
Fertilizer and Repotting:
Too much fertilizer damages the Phals. So it is advisable that the fertilizer is used in a weak mixture, very diluted but regularly. The Phalaenopsis orchids usually flower during mid-winter.
So it makes sense to repot them in a fresh medium every year in late spring. You may want to trim rotten roots before replanting. Do take utmost care not to damage the roots or leave air pockets while repotting.
The Moth Orchids when maintained properly can be a source of great pleasure for a long time as they bloom for many years. However if they refuse to bloom one season the plant could be encouraged by:
Increasing the light
Positioning the plant in an environment 10 degrees less than usual
The Phals make excellent companions, not only because their blooms cheer the heart but also because they remain healthiest in conditions that make us comfortable too.