6 Things You Need To Know About Your Phalaenopsis Orchid
The Phalaenopsis orchid, or the Moth orchid, is a beautiful and very popular house plant which will reward you with amazing blooms, once you learn how to take care of it. Here's everything you need to know!
1. Don't over water your orchid.
1. Make sure you never over water your phal, because this is the main reason they die. If its roots rot, your plant will be no longer able to absorb the water and it will eventually die.
2. Under watering can also be a problem. You can tell if your plant is getting enough water by checking its roots: if they are hard and brittle, your plant is under watered.
3. Whenever you bring home a new plant, check its roots. They should be thick, a silvery green with bright green tips. If they aren't, trim them off and repot your orchid.
2. How to water your orchid.
Typically, you should water your orchid once a week, but if you notice that the substrate is still wet, hold off for another couple of days.
There are a few ways to water your orchid:
1. You can sink the whole pot in water until the entire substrate is wet;
2. You can just water it from above like you do with your other plants;
3. You can place a few ice cubes on the substrate and let them melt.
Whichever technique you choose, let the water drain off through the holes in your pot and make sure you don't get water on or in between the leaves.
3. How to pot your orchid.
Moth orchids can be potted in various substances, but it's important to choose a substrate which dries quickly and allows the plant's roots to get enough air.
Choose a bark mix for orchids and never, ever use potting soil for houseplants on orchids.
To re-pot your phal, get a transparent pot of a size that best fits your plant's roots. The pot doesn't have to be large, because your orchid actually likes having its roots "crowded", but make sure it has holes in the bottom to allow good drainage.
Place the plant in the middle of the pot, then fill the rest of the space with the bark mix.
4. The best place to put your orchid.
Phals don't like being in direct sunlight, because it can burn their leaves, flowers, and roots. They prefer the diffused or the morning light in an east window. If your plant won't get enough natural light, it won't bloom, so if there's been a while since you've last had flowers, try changing its position.
This type of orchid doesn't like being cold, so don't even think about keeping it outside. For the moth orchid, temps at night shouldn't get below 62 degrees and daytime temps should be around 70-80 degrees.
5. Feeding your orchid.
From time to time, your orchid needs plant food. Feed your phal once a month with nutrients diluted in water and avoid food that uses urea for the nitrogen, because it can burn the roots.
6. How to cut a Phalaenopsis orchid spike
Before you trim the spikes, analyze your plant: a healthy spike is green and firm, while an unhealthy one looks brown or yellow.
If the plant has lost all flowers, but the spike still looks healthy, you can just leave it as it is, or cut the spike above the last node where the flower bloomed. By doing this, your orchid will bloom again from the same spike.
However, blooming your orchid repeatedly may exhaust your plant and at some point, it will need the energy to produce new leaves and roots. So, at least once a year, cut its spike(s) one inch above its base, to let the orchid grow new roots and leaves.
If the spikes are already brown or yellow, just cut them from the base and let the plant grow a new one.