Phalaenopsis Orchid (Moth Orchid): Care and Growing Guide (For Beginners)

The genus Phalaenopsis belongs to the Orchidaceae family of exotic-looking blooming plants. With colorful petals, huge leathery leaves, and lengthy epiphytic aerial roots, phalaenopsis orchid is also known as the moth orchid. Because they are easy to care for, phal orchids are a common indoor plant.

Orchids with exotic flowers are a remarkable characteristic of the genus Phalaenopsis. Phal orchids produce several blooms at once, and their flowers last for many weeks. When temperatures fall below 60°F (15°C), Phalaenopsis orchids flowers bloom. White, mauve, pink, purple, or striped with orange or red patterns are some of the possible Phalaenopsis blooms.

In warm, humid environments, this article will help you grow phalaenopsis orchids as houseplants. You’ll find out how to fix different problems with phalaenopsis orchid flowers, as well as what to do about orchid plant pests, at the conclusion of the piece.

How to Care for Phalaenopsis Orchid Indoors or Outdoors

Grow the moth orchid in bright light, protected from direct sunlight, to care for a phalaenopsis indoors or outdoors. Plant the phal orchid in a potting mix that allows the roots to breathe and is made of bark. Water the orchid mixture frequently enough to keep it moist.

Between 60°F and 85°F (15°C and 29°C) is ideal for growing Phalaenopsis orchids. Outdoors, you may cultivate phalaenopsis orchids. USDA zones 10 through 12 are ideal for these heat and humid-loving plants, which grow on the ground or on trees.

What is Phalaenopsis Orchid (Moth Orchid)?

Native to India, Southeast Asia, and Australia, Phalaenopsis is a genus of orchid. The two huge petals and three oval sepals of Phalaenopsis orchids, also known as moth orchids, are distinctive. Orchids have long, rough roots that absorb moisture and nutrients from the air, just like other epiphytic blooming plants.

Phalaenopsis, the Greek word for “like a type of moth,” is the botanical name for these orchids. The naturalist who originally described the phalaenopsis orchid mistook clusters of Phalaenopsis flowers for masses of fluttering moths, which is why the common name moth orchid comes from him. Phal orchids are another name for these orchids.

Phalaenopsis Orchid Flowers

The flowers of Phalaenopsis are found on arching stems or spikes. Large colorful, oval petals characterize the exquisite, unusual flowers. The petals of the moth orchid attract pollinators and are specialized. The star-shaped petals of Phalaenopsis orchid are widely separated, and the orchid blooms have a strong fragrance.

How Long do Phalaenopsis Orchids Bloom For?

Orchids that last for three months or longer are known as moth (phalaenopsis) orchids. Long flower spikes produce small flower buds. The weight of the blossoms on the flower spike causes it to droop over. Therefore, you’ll need to support the flowering stems for the three months that the phalaenopsis orchid is blooming.

How to Get Phalaenopsis Orchid to Bloom Again 

“How can I get my phalaenopsis orchid to rebloom after the flowers have dropped?” you may wonder after the flowers have fallen. Moth orchids bloom for a long time during winter and early spring. When the weather reaches a temperature of 55°F (13°C), Phal orchids bloom again. When average nighttime temperatures are about 10°F (8°C) colder than daytime temperatures in the autumn, orchids bloom again. Your phalaenopsis orchid may benefit from being placed in temperatures of 55°F to 60°F (13°C to 15°C) to encourage bloom.

Phalaenopsis orchids bloom between 57°C and 62°F (14°C and 17°C), according to certain research. According to the study, moth orchids can bloom again even if the day and night temperatures differ slightly. When the day temperature exceeds 84°F (29°C), phalaenopsis orchids, on the other hand, will not bloom.

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care for Beginners

Orchids from the Phalaenopsis genus are exotic plants that require little care. Let’s take a closer look at the care requirements for indoor moth orchid cultivation.

Light Requirements for Growing Phalaenopsis Orchid Indoors

If Phalaenopsis orchids have protection from direct sunlight, they will thrive in bright light. Phalaenopsis may tolerate partial shade and thrive in low-light situations. A east- or west-facing windowsill is an ideal location for growing a phalaenopsis orchid indoors.

Keep the orchid away from the window in a south-facing room. The thick leathery orchid leaves turn yellow and wilt due to too much direct, intense sunlight. Phalaenopsis orchids grow beneath the forest canopy in their natural environment and are attached to tree trunks. As a result, moth orchids seek out dappled sunlight.

In USDA zones 10 through 12, you may cultivate a phalaenopsis orchid outside. As long as it is at least 60°F (15°) and growing in filtered light, the moth orchid thrives in gardens. If you live in temperate climates, you can also grow phalaenopsis orchids indoors and outdoors during the summer.

Best Soil for Phalaenopsis Orchid

Tree bark chips with some sphagnum moss, perlite, or coconutyhusk chips mixed are the ideal potting media for a phalaenopsis orchid. For orchids, you can use commercial potting soil. For phalaenopsis, a soilless combination should be airy and light.

Orchids like Phalaenopsis grow as epiphytes on trees. Epiphyte plants absorb moisture and nutrients from the rain and air by growing on the surface of other plants. Their aerial roots absorb nutrients from the host plant’s surface, as well as nutrients from decaying matter. When selecting the appropriate pot for cultivating phalaenopsis orchids indoors, here are a few helpful guidelines:

  • Make sure the aerial roots get enough light by choosing a transparent plastic pot.
  • To avoid an overly moist potting mix, make sure there are ventilation or drainage holes in the container.

How to Water Phalaenopsis Orchid

To keep the potting mixture constantly damp, water a phalaenopsis orchid once a week. You can water the moth orchid every two weeks when it blooms. Because there is no way for the orchid to hold water, Phalaenopsis isn’t a drought-tolerant plant. With phalaenopsis orchids, watering techniques can be difficult to master. Watering phalaenopsis indoors is easier with a few handy tips:

  • Don’t let water collect around the orchid’s stem, since rot will progress and your lovely orchid might perish.
  • The orchid’s leaves and flowers should not be wet.
  • Let the roots absorb as much water as they need by placing the orchid pot in a few inches of water for around five minutes.
  • You may occasionally need to mist your moth orchid’s growing mix to keep it moist and hydrated.
  • Roots should not be allowed to sit in soggy, overly damp soil.

Top tip for phalaenopsis orchid care: The orchid needs water, as evidenced by white-gray roots.

Temperature Requirements For Growing Moth Orchid Indoors or Outdoors

Between 60°F and 85°F (15°C and 29°C), the phalaenopsis orchid thrives. The ideal temperature for moth orchid cultivation indoors is between 72°F and 78°F (22°C and 25°C). The temperature should be below 60°F (15°C) for a few weeks to ensure that your orchid blooms. Outside in rock gardens or attached to trees, Phalaenopsis orchids thrive in partial shade. Since orchids don’t develop well in the cold, the typical temperature for growing moth orchids outside should be above 55°F (13°C).

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care – Humidity Requirements

To care for phalaenopsis orchids, maintain humidity levels between 50 and 60%. Moth orchids prefer moist environments in their natural habitat. They may need even more moisture in warm weather. Yet, to avoid root rot and fungal infections, you need adequate air circulation if you have high air moisture.

It is vital to raise humidity around orchids indoors, as well as provide them with proper care. You may use a gravel tray half-filled with water to hold the moth orchid pot. Your orchid’s environment is humidified by the evaporating water. You may alternatively increase air moisture by using a humidifier.

Should you mist phalaenopsis orchids indoors? 

Should you mist phalaenopsis orchid leaves? It’s usually not a good idea to mist orchid leaves. Misting orchid leaves won’t raise humidity since it merely moistens them. You may also cause mold spots on the leaves or blooms by misting moth orchid leaves.

How to Fertilize Phalaenopsis Orchid Plants

From after they finish blooming in the spring until October, orchids need to be fertilized. To help a moth orchid grow faster and healthier, apply a diluted orchid fertilizer every week or two. Because of its slower development during winter, it would be preferable to fertilize a phalaenopsis orchid monthly.

Propagating Moth Orchid

Repotting new plants that grow from the parent plant is a common way to propagate a phalaenopsis orchid. The copies of the mother plant are known as Keiki. Once two or three leaves and its own roots have developed, remove the baby plant.

Repot it in a suitable orchid potting mix and place it in a new pot. Orchids can be seedsed to propagate phalaenopsis. Yet, producing results is time-consuming and difficult.

Repotting a Phalaenopsis Orchid

Every two years, healthy phalaenopsis orchids benefit from repotting. The roots of the moth orchid can grow more roomy after being transferred to a bigger pot. You may also refresh the orchid potting material and check for root damage during this time. Late spring or summer, after the blooms have fallen off, is the optimum time to repot a moth orchid.

Inspect the roots of the orchid for signs of damage before removing it from its container. Healthy roots should be lush green and full. Throw out the previous potting mixtures. Fill the new pot with water and place the orchid in it. Next, put in the orchid potting bark mix to fill the remaining space.

How to Prune Phalaenopsis Orchids

Cutting off unhealthy roots is all you have to do for moth orchids. Withers, mushies, or appears damaged aerial roots are to be found. To eliminate diseased roots, sharp shears are acceptable. Because the orchid will benefit from the amputation of damaged roots, you shouldn’t worry about it.

After the orchid blooms, you might be considering what to do with its stems. You can either cut a node to prevent the blooming spikes from forming. You can cut the entire stem off of your orchid to improve its appearance if it has grown long and leggy.

Common Pests Affecting Phalaenopsis Orchid Growth

Spider mites, mealybugs, scale insects, aphids, and thrips are all common houseplant pests that affect moth orchids. Make a neem oil-based natural pesticide to get rid of insects from orchids. Mites, pests, and bugs can be killed by spraying the thick leathery leaves once a week. Mix 2 tsp. of neem oil with 1 cup of warm water for orchid care. 1 tsp. neem oil is used in this recipe. Warm water with 1 quart (1 liter) of liquid Castile soap. To use on your orchids and other infested houseplants, thoroughly mix in a spray bottle.

On a phalaenopsis orchid, it’s important to identify the early symptoms of a pest problem. Pest infestations may make your orchid blossoms unattractive and deformed, as well as cause leaves to brown and wilt. Orchid leaves can also be infected with a black sooty mold fungus. The following are signs of common orchid pests:

  • Aphids—These insects congregate beneath orchid leaves and appear as little pear-shaped green, black, or brown creatures.
  • Mealybugs—The pests that resemble little white fuzzy creatures that leave a cotton wool-like substance behind are easier to spot mealybugs.
  • Spider mites—Silky webs dangle from orchid leaves or stems, which are the first symptoms of spider mites. Webbing may also be seen on the leaves.
  • Thrips—Little flying insects called thrips hide beneath the leaves. By feasting on the plant’s sap, thrips may harm orchids.
  • Scale insects—Scale insects look like strange lumps on the orchid’s stems, and you may see them. Scale, like other houseplant pests, may harm orchids in various ways.

Common Diseases Affecting Phalaenopsis Orchid Growth

If the leaves or roots of moth orchids are excessively wet as a result of overwatering or poor air circulation, fungal diseases may occur. To avoid fungal orchid diseases, adequate drainage and watering are usually all that is required. When watering orchids, avoid spraying water on the leaves.

On an orchid’s leaves or roots, for example, you may see signs of illness. In such situations, resolving the real problem is critical. Change the potting soil to ensure that it drains well and plenty of air flows, in order to preserve a dying phalaenopsis orchid. Only keep the potting mix slightly moist to care for your moth orchid better.

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care After Flowering

Proper care ensures that a phalaenopsis orchid blooms again the following fall after it blooms in late spring. Leave the flower stem, cut it back to a node, or cut the spike completely are three options once the orchid blooms. Depending on the kind of phalaenopsis you have, you may remove the stems.

After blooming, most orchid enthusiasts recommend cutting phalaenopsis stems. Orchid health is improved by snipping off the flower spike. If the flower spike is long and unruly, removing it can be beneficial. When the temperature drops in late autumn, the orchid will produce a new stem and bloom again.

Instead, you can cut the phal orchid stem to a node at the base. The plant can rebloom from a branch on the existing spike thanks to this type of moth orchid care. Snipping the stem at a node is often the best option if you have a big, healthy phalaenopsis orchid.

Why Phalaenopsis Orchids Need Cool Temperatures to Bloom

When nighttime temperatures are 10°F (8°C) lower than daytime temperatures, Phalaenopsis orchids generally bloom. To bloom, the moth orchid should ideally experience temperatures of 55°F to 60°F (12°C to 15°C) for a few weeks. You may also relocate your phalaenopsis to a colder environment in order to encourage blooming.

It’s important to keep a moth orchid away from drafts when it’s reblooming. Orchid growth may be harmed by sudden changes in temperature, such as a chilly draft. It’s also preferable to keep the orchid away from heated air from a heating ducts.

What Should I do About Phalaenopsis Orchid Aerial Roots?

Thephalaenopsis orchids benefit most from leaving their aerial roots alone. Like other epiphytic plants, the long, spriggy roots absorb light, moisture, and nutrients. As a result, it’s acceptable for the roots to protrude through the potting soil.

If you want to water the plant, orchid roots are excellent indicators. The roots of orchids that are hydrated are white and dried up. The roots of a well-cared-for moth orchid, on the other hand, are greenish-gray and fat.

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