Phalaenopsis Orchids (Phalaenopsis amabilis)

One of the most popular indoor plants in the world, it is also know as the “Moth Orchid”.  They make an ideal ready-to-go gift or why not spoil yourself?

The flowers are long lasting and add a touch of class to any home or office. They often bear multiple flower buds on arching stems, which can last for two to three months.

Phalaenopsis orchids are available in a range of colours including pink, purple, white, yellow, and spotted colour varieties. They are available twelve months of the year from hardware and garden centres and are grown by specialist production nurseries under controlled conditions.

Coming from the tropics, they are known as epiphytes, which means they grow on a tree or rock rather than in the ground. Their roots grow into crevices to anchor themselves and to find moisture and food.

Growing conditions

Aspect Grown indoors, position it in filtered light with no direct sun as the leaves will burn. Outdoors attach it to a tree or palm on the southern side avoiding any direct sun and frost.

Soil For beautiful blooms, it is important to mimic its natural growing environment. Do not use standard potting mix to pot or report a moth orchid. Always use a specialist phalaenopsis (orchid) potting medium to ensure good drainage. It’s important to use a clear growing pot as the phalaenopsis orchid is an epiphyte meaning that they grow naturally on other plants and conducts photosynthesis using sunlight to synthesize nutrients from carbon dioxide and water through their roots.

Climate Outdoors phalaenopsis orchid grow in warm sub-tropic and tropical regions. Indoors, they can grow in temperate and colder areas, given the right conditions.

By following some simple tips, you will have a healthy phalaenopsis orchid for years to come.

General care

Watering In summer water every 7 days and every 14 days in winter as a guide, always checking the plants moisture before watering. For strong root development and healthy growth, add 3mLs of  Seasol concentrate to a litre of water every 14 days.

Fertilising To promote flowering add 5mLs of PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives concentrate to a litre of water every 14 days in spring and summer and monthly in autumn and winter.

If you have several phalaenopsis orchids, you may wish to immerse your orchid into a bucket of water with Seasol and PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives (mixed at the recommended rate). Be careful to only immerse to the base of the crown (above the potting medium). This will reduce the likelihood of fungal disease. Ensure the water has drained completely from the grow pot before replacing into your favourite decorative pot as the phalaenopsis orchid doesn’t like to sit in water.

Reflowering (pruning) If the stem remains green, an option is to leave it as it will normally reflower. Alternatively cut the flower above the node near the base of the plant.

Watch for

  • Pests Spider mites, scale, thrips, and mealy bugs. Control with EarthCare White Oil insect spray. Gently spray both sides of the foliage.
  • Diseases If you believe that your orchid has a fungal infection isolate it from your collection as the infection is likely to spread. Bacterial diseases such as Erwinia (mushy looking areas on leaves), crown rot (wilted yellowing leaves), botrytis (small brown spots that may have a pink margin) are easily identified. Treat your orchid with a fungicide at the recommended rate. Your local hardware or garden centre will advise you of the product available to suit your needs.
  • Brown leaf tips Often caused by too much or not enough water. Adjust your watering program by checking the moisture level of the potting media.