Garden Topics: Tropicals & Houseplants

Moth Orchid 

Phaeleonopsis

Why you may want to grow it:

Moth Orchid Orchids have a bad reputation as being finicky and difficult to grow, but really, the opposite is true. Orchids actually love to be neglected and most people end up killing their orchids with kindness (too much water and sunlight. Moth Orchids and are considered among the easiest of the orchid family to care for as well as the most recognizable. The long-lasting flowers bloom perfectly for up to three months, providing you ample return on your investment. A mature Phaeleonopsis will be in bloom much of the year with graceful inflorescences loaded with good-sized blooms. The flowering intervals vary with each plant, and you may be treated to a blooms as often as twice a year. The Moth Orchid has become the most popular variety of orchids because of their low maintenance and delicate balance of poise and elegance. Unlike many other orchids, these can be repotted anytime, though it is usually best to do so when not in bloom. Many orchid plants are not all that attractive when not in bloom, but the growth habit of phalaenopsis orchids is quite attractive. It has neat low-growing, elongated leaves arising in opposite directions from a central crown.

How to care for it:

Water: How often you water will depend on the potting medium. Bark retains less water than moss. If your orchid is potted in bark, watering once a week is generally sufficient. If your plant is potted in moss, water when the top feels dry. The amount of light and heat your plant receives will also affect how soon you need to water. Summer months will require more frequent watering, winter will need less. After a few watering, you will be able to tell by the weight of the pot whether or not it is time to water again. If in doubt, wait a day or so.

It is best to water in the morning. Place the plant in the sink and use tepid water. Do not use salt-softened or distilled water. Let the water run through the plant for a minute or so. Be sure to let the plant drain completely. If any water remains in the crown (where the leaves join in the center) use a paper towel to blot the water to avoid crown rot.

Light: Phalaenopsis are 'low' light orchids. They grow beautifully in an east window and can be grown in a south or west window if protected by a sheer curtain. Its leaves should be olive green. If they are darker it means the plant is not getting enough light; red tinged leaves mean the plant is getting too much light. Once the plant is in bloom you can place it anywhere in your home out of direct sunlight. If your plant does not re-bloom, increase the amount of light that it receives.

Temperature: Phal Orchids are easy to grow because they enjoy the same temperatures we do - above 60°F at night and a range of 70°F to 80°F or higher during the day. 95°F is the maximum temperature recommendation. Keep in mind that temperatures close to the window on a windowsill will be colder or hotter than your general house temperature. Fluctuating temperatures can cause bud drop on plants with buds ready to open.

Fertilizer: Jack’s Classic Orchid Bloom Booster can be used to fertilize your orchid. Feeding weakly (half strength) weekly works well. Once a month, use clear water to flush any accumulated salts from the potting mix.

Cutting the spike: When the blooms are finished, you can cut the spike down to the level of the leaves and the plant will bloom with larger flowers and a strong stem within a year. You can also cut off the stem leaving two nodes (those little brown lines on the stem below where the flowers were) on the stem. One of these nodes will then initiate and generally produce flowers within eight to 12 weeks. Continue watering and fertilizing while you are waiting for the blooming cycle to begin again! Repotting is usually done every one to three years.

Health benefits: Aside from being easy to take care of, orchids rid the air of xylene, a pollutant found in many glues and paints so they make wonderful housewarming gifts for anyone who recently moved into or renovated a new space. Unlike some other plants, orchids also respire and give off oxygen at night - so they're great for the bedroom.   

For More Information Check Out Wikipedia:  Moth Orchid

 

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