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Growing Phalaenopsis Orchids

Most amateurs in orchid growing are more often than not introduced to Phalaenopsis orchids first. These orchids are easy to grow and are quite popular among many design and lifestyle magazines across the United States. Phalaenopsis orchids have thick leaves and produce timeless arching sprays of orchid blooms that exude elegance.

Types of Phalaenopsis Orchids

There are many species of Phalaenopsis orchids. The true species of these orchids are about 60. These orchids are native to the tropical Asian countries such as Borneo, Java and the Philippines. Phalaenopsis orchids have been hybridized and today there are thousands of Phalaenopsis hybrids in the market. These orchids vary from moth orchids which are also known as the classic white hybrid to the miniatures that look like jewels that have pink and yellow blooms. The flowers of the Phalaenopsis hybrids differ in size. Some are 2 inches in diameter while others are 5 inches in diameter. The colors that range from lavender, pink, yellow to white also have mixes of spots and stripes on the flowers. The blooms can last for about 3 months and flowers open between intervals of 2 to 5 days.

Preferred Temperature

Phalaenopsis orchids are classified as a warm-house plant. They prefer temperatures that range from 75 degrees to 85 degrees Fahrenheit although these orchids can also tolerate normal house temperature that is 65 degrees to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Always remember that Phalaenopsis orchids need humidity more if the temperature is relatively higher. Often times than not these orchids prefer a contrast between day and night temperatures in order to grow well.

Watering Phalaenopsis 

Phalaenopsis orchids are the type of orchids that are considered monopodial which means that these orchids only grow from a single stem. They are not like the sympodial orchids that have the pseudobulbs that are used for storing water. Phalaenopsis orchids however can store water in the leaves of the plant. It is advisable that you water the plant whenever possible since the plant cannot tolerate drought. It is best to water Phalaenopsis orchids when you see the exposed roots turning silvery white. Water weekly and always remember to keep the potting media damp. When the flowering starts, you can start watering the orchids every other week. Always check on the humidity as Phalaenopsis orchids need to maintain good air flow within the roots and the leaves.

Lighting

These orchids do not really need too much light. They are low-light orchids and prefer not to receive direct sunlight as they will burn. Place the plants in an east window or expose it in a southern or western area. If you prefer to grow the plants in an artificial way, use common grow lights that are placed one foot away from the plant. Your plant is receiving just the right amount of light when you see dark green leaves that have splashes of burgundy or red on the base.

Potting and Media

Phalaenopsis orchids thrive in a variety of potting media which includes clay aggregate pellets, perlite, charcoal, Styrofoam, sphagnum moss and chunks of pine bark. They can also thrive when placed on slabs in an environment similar to a greenhouse or placed in hanging baskets. Make sure that you use free-draining containers for your Phalaenopsis orchids to thrive.

Repotting It is best to repot in spring after the bloom. These orchids last for a very long time so it is best to do some repotting. For the adult orchids, usually it could take two years before it can be repotted. There are two reasons for Phalaenopsis orchids to be re-potted. One is because it might have outgrown the present container it is planted in or another good reason could be is because the pot media is not aerated enough to promote its healthy roots.

Whatever the reason is, it is best that you re-pot your orchids whenever necessary. Do this by removing the old plant from the container and letting the old media fall. Trim the dead roots and afterwards, put in the plant in the new container and begin putting in the new potting media. Make sure that you settle the new potting media around the roots of the plant. For orchids, the ideal potting media to be used are stone, perlite, sphagnum moss, bark or other materials that would provide aeration to your Phalaenopsis orchids. An inside tip, experts use sphagnum moss as their potting media. Their Phalaenopsis orchids develop healthy vigorous root systems because of this. After re-potting make sure that you still follow your watering and fertilizing plan.

Blooming

These orchids bloom in the later winter or early spring. They usually have more than 20 flowers in a single multi-branching flower spike. These flowers can  last  2 weeks. If you want to encourage a flower spike, put your plant in an area where it will have cool nights and with a temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It is best that you follow these tips for your plant to bloom well.

Fertilizing

Feed your Phalaenopsis orchids during the growing season with a weak orchid fertilizer weekly. During the winter and flowering season, minimize feeding your orchids to once a month. To boost a flower spike, growers usually feed the plants with blooming fertilizer during the months of September or October.

Phalaenopsis orchids are rewarding plants. They are actually not demanding provided that they are given the right conditions to grow well. Avoid watering on the leaves of the plant as this will tend the leaves to rot. Follow these tips and enjoy your beautiful blooms.

Parent Category: Species Guides
Category: Flowers