How to Care for Your Phalaenopsis Orchid

Orchids are the most spectacular and beautiful of all flowers. In the past, orchid growing and caring was difficult. They were expensive and the required expertise, however today, there are orchids for everyone, to suit their budget and growing conditions. Did you know that the orchid family contains an estimated 30,000+ species, and more are discovered each year? Orchids are one of the easiest plants to grow. Their incredible beauty and diversity captivate men and women of every walk of life.

They are easy to maintain and require the least amount of watering compared to other plants. Here are come instructions on how to care for your Phalaenopsis orchid.

Oriental Waterfall Orchid (Phalaenopsis)

Oriental Waterfall Orchid (Phalaenopsis)

Light : Medium to bright light is preferred, but try to avoid direct sunlight. If plants are grown under fluorescent lights, it should be placed at least 12 inches (30cm) from the bulbs to avoid damage to the leaves.

Temperature : Phalaenopsis orchids are just like any other houseplants. Optimal temperatures are between 17-25C (62-77F). Good air circulation is needed. You can create air movement by using a small fan, but make sure it’s not blowing directly at your orchid plant. Make sure your orchid is away from the heater or cold drafts.

Humidity : An easy way to create humidity in the house is to have a tray of pebbles filled with water and place it near your orchid plant. Or, you can increase humidity by misting your plant in the morning. Do not mist at night, because excessive water in the crown area of the plant will create possible disease problems in the future.

Watering : Before you water your phalaenopsis, make sure the top 1-2 inches of the growing media is dry to touch. If it is still wet, do not apply any more water. In general, your orchid plant needs to be watered every 7-10 days in summer and 10-14 days in winter if it’s grown in moss. Water more frequently if it’s in orchid mix. Do not allow your orchid plant to stand in water. The water’s temperature should not be cold to touch.

Fertilizing : We don’t recommend feeding your orchid while it’s in bloom, unless you know what your doing. Just plain water will be sufficient (won’t kill it). You can start feeding your orchid with 20-20-20 fertilizer or anything with a balanced formula at half of the recommended strength every second time you water after your orchid has finishes blooming. Or, for those of you who pay a lot of attention to their plants, who like to feed their babies well, you can feed your phalaenopsis weekly ‘weakly’.

Extra Tips (Where to cut) : Once your orchid has finished blooming, cut one inch below the first bloom. Sometimes a branch will emerge with more blooms from one of the nodes on the stem. If nothing happens in 6-8 weeks, cut the flower stem all the way back. A new spike will form after its resting period. To re-bloom, place your orchid plant near a south window or somewhere in the house where it’s warm during the day and cool at night. A 5 to 8C (10-15F) difference between night and day is required for blooming. They bloom between 17-25C (62-77F).

Repotting : If your plant is showing a lot of roots, whether inside or outside the pot, you know it’s about time to re-pot your orchid. However, only re-pot it if it’s not in bloom, unless you don’t mind losing a few blooms. When choosing a new pot, try to remember that most orchids like to be root-bound. You can use a slightly bigger pot, or, just use the original one. Clean the roots and cut the dead (shriveled) ones off. Try to avoid hurting the healthy root tips when you re-pot your orchid, just gently wrapped the roots with new sphagnum moss or with orchid mix (bark, tree fern …).