Rising The Pretty Moth Orchid

Orchid flowers are fascinating; each is really a murals. This information offers important ideas for phalaenopsis orchid care, serving to you retain yours wholesome, delay the blooms, and encourage reblooming.

Caring for these lovely vegetation isn’t as exhausting as you might assume. They’re the best orchids to develop as houseplants. I used to dwell in Santa Barbara, CA, the place many orchid-growing greenhouses are situated. A few of these phalaenopsis orchid care ideas got here straight from the growers themselves.

Botanic Identify: Phalaenopsis Orchid.   Widespread Identify: Moth Orchid

Word: This publish was printed on 9/1/2015. It was up to date on 5/24/2024.

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care & Rising Information

Close up of beautiful raspberry & white speckled phalaenopsis orchids.
Are these not attractive?!!


Once I labored for a florist in San Francisco many moons in the past, phalaenopsis orchids (we referred to as them “phals”) had been accessible in white, pink, and lavender-colors. My, how instances have modified!

They’re now grown in lots of extra colours, variegations, and colour combos. As talked about within the video, Westerlay Orchids has the favored Gemstone Collection, so you’ll be able to even pick your favourite jewel-tone colour.

Gone are the times when you could possibly solely discover these beauties in a flower store. Now, they’re offered in grocery shops (Dealer Joe’s and Sprouts all the time have a wide variety), massive field shops, and, in fact, some backyard facilities and florists. 

How lengthy do Phalaenopsis flowers final?

If you would like a plant with a long-lasting bloom time, purchase one with extra buds than open flowers. The buds will open regularly over time. The person flowers final a couple of month, relying on the situations. A flower stem with many buds can bloom for months if the situations are proper.

At the start of January, I introduced my pal a mini-phalaenopsis (you’ll be able to see one additional down the web page) as a present. I used to be over at her home on the finish of April, and it was nonetheless blooming.

The hotter your home is, the shorter the bloom interval shall be. Preserve your orchid flowers out of the direct solar; it’s not good for the plant and can shorten the bloom.

Close up of large white phalaenopsis orchid moth orchid flowers with deep rose centers.
My goodness, extra beautiful orchid flowers!

Gentle Necessities

Be certain that your phalaenopsis is uncovered to as shiny mild as potential with out being within the sizzling, direct solar. They are going to burn very quickly flat if uncovered to direct daylight in a south or west window, particularly in the summertime.  

Consider a greenhouse or conservatory with a lot of pure mild coming from all instructions, however the glass is whitewashed to diffuse the direct rays of the solar—that’s the publicity they love.

Nevertheless, you might have to maneuver it within the darker winter months to get extra mild. 

Phalaenopsis Orchid Watering

Orchids are epiphytes, which implies they develop on different vegetation, items of bark, rock, and so on. They don’t develop in soil, and their roots are an anchoring mechanism.

In brief, you need to water them and let the water drain out utterly. If yours has gone bone dry, you might need to soak it in a pail or bowl for a couple of minutes, ensuring all water drains out. 

If rising in pots, they should have drainage holes so the surplus water can circulate out. An excessive amount of water increase will trigger root rot. By way of temperature, I’ve all the time used room temperature water. I’m not a proponent of utilizing ice cubes to water orchids, however some persons are. That’s your selection!

Benches full of blue phalaenopsis orchids moth orchids in a grower's greenhouse.
Listed below are a few of the color-infused Gemstone Assortment at Westerlay Orchids. This colour isn’t pure – they’re white orchids dyed in jewel tones. By the way in which, the colour will revert again to white with subsequent blooms.
Orchids Rising In Moss vs. Bark

Orchids grown in bark will dry out quicker than these in sphagnum moss, which holds the water.  If yours is rising in bark, then you definitely need to water it each 7-14 days. If it grows in moss, water it each 14-21 days.  

The frequency is determined by your private home’s setting, the time of 12 months, pot measurement/sort, and rising medium. I favor to develop my orchids in bark as a result of I’ve a a lot simpler time getting the watering proper. Moss stays moist, however when it dries out, it actually dries out!

Like my different houseplants, I again down on the watering frequency within the winter.

Word: My pal in Oakland, CA, has been rising these orchids for over ten years. She soaks hers in a bowl of heat water with a diluted quantity of orchid fertilizer each different week for 90 seconds. That’s it; no high watering. It have to be working as a result of nearly all of them are nonetheless alive, and so they repeat flower yearly!


There’s a nice focus of phalaenopsis orchid growers alongside the central coast of California (the place I used to dwell) as a result of the temperatures are comparatively even.  And, it cools down within the night, which is one thing else they love.  

The best temperature for Phals is 60 to 75 levels F. Remember to hold them away from air conditioners, heaters, and sizzling or chilly drafts.  

 As a result of they’re epiphytes, in addition they respect good air circulation. I lived about eight blocks from the ocean and had my home windows open for 7-8 months out of the 12 months.  That meant my phals bought the humidity and the air they love.

I now dwell within the Arizona desert, the place the humidity is 14% at this time. These orchids like excessive humidity ranges (60 to 70%), so rising them right here for the lengthy haul is a problem. 

Clearly, a climate-controlled greenhouse is good. If the air in your house is just too dry, you might have to place your orchid on a tray of pebbles stuffed with water to extend the humidity. Be certain that the underside of the pot or any thick, fleshy roots don’t sit immediately in water. Working a small humidifier close by or misting your plant each couple of days may assist. 

Many beautiful yellow & lavender phalaenopsis orchids moth orchids in a grower's greenhouse.
Extra orchids are within the greenhouses at Westerlay, and you’ll see how intently they’re grown.


Orchids don’t develop in soil, so that they should be fed.  Bark, moss, or orchid combine doesn’t present any of the vitamins they want.

The growers I’ve talked to advocate a water-soluble balanced fertilizer like 20-20-20 ( you too can use 20-10-20, 15-15-15, or 12-12-12) for the home-owner as a result of the timing of bloom-time/non-bloom-time orchid fertilizers may be very tough. No matter you select, be sure you use it at 1/2 energy and feed your phals each 14 to 30 days.  

I discussed this above, however in case you missed it, my pal in Oakland, CA, has been rising phals for over ten years. She soaks hers in a bowl of heat water with a diluted quantity of orchid fertilizer (the identical as I exploit) each different week for 90 seconds. That’s it; no high watering. It have to be working as a result of they repeat flower yearly. 

To not be a damaged document, however make certain the fertilizer completely drains out as a result of the build-up of salts could cause the roots to burn. I exploit this orchid fertilizer, which the grower additionally makes use of.


Phalaenopsis orchid vegetation don’t have a number of foliage, so there’s not a lot pruning to do. You may prune off the occasional lifeless or yellow leaves as wanted.

A magenta colored mini phalaenopsis orchid moth orchid in a grower's tray.
This can be a mini Phalaenopsis. There are a number of flowers coming from that tiny pot!

Pruning for Re-Bloom

There are various opinions on easy methods to prune the flower stem for re-bloom, so I’ll simply share what I’ve realized and completed. 

Most growers get re-bloom from their Phalaenopsis Orchids in 6-9 months.  Mine usually re-bloomed nearer to the 9-month mark. The upper up you prune the stem, the earlier it would flower once more.  

One of the best time to prune is after blooming when new progress is showing. Some folks prune the flower stalk all the way down to 1 node above the foliage, which is ok, but it surely takes longer for the stem to re-grow.  I prune simply above the node under the place the very 1st flower appeared.

My pal, whom I discussed above, doesn’t prune her stems in any respect (except they flip brown, then she cuts them off) and routinely will get them rebloom, generally twice a 12 months. As I mentioned, there are alternative ways to do that!

By the way in which, in case your phal doesn’t re-bloom, the commonest purpose is that it doesn’t have sufficient mild. Feeding them is vital, too, so be sure you work that into your care routine.

Potting Medium

Phals are epihytes, that means they don’t develop within the floor; they principally develop hooked up to different vegetation. Their potting combine have to be chunky, have good drainage, and forestall root rot. They’re additionally grown in moss, however the watering may be trickier to get proper.

When repotting, I usually use orchid bark with pumice added in.   I’ve used this orchid potting combine; this combine and this one are extremely rated, and all are prepared to make use of.

Close up of beautiful lavender/white phalaenopsis orchid moth orchid flowers.


The time to repot your moth orchid is quickly after flowering. Don’t repot it whereas in bloom. 

No matter new pot you employ, be sure that it has loads of drainage holes so the water can freely circulate out. Particular pots designed for orchids embrace this clay one, this plastic one, this wood one, and this ceramic one.

Once I was rising these orchids, I repotted them each two to a few years. 


Moth orchids are vulnerable to mealybugs and scale. Preserve your eyes open for aphids and spider mites

Pests usually journey from one houseplant to a different, so figuring out plant pests and taking motion is vital to get them below management.

Pet Security

Are Phalaenopsis Orchids poisonous to cats and canines? Ring the bells! In accordance with the ASPCA web site, they’re deemed non-toxic.

Many phalaenopsis orchids moth orchids in a grower's greenhouse.
A sea of orchids; one among every, please!

Orchid Roots

Your phalaenopsis orchid will most likely have a few of its roots rising out of the pot.  It’s not as a result of the orchid is pot-bound – these are the air (or aerial) roots reaching for one thing to seize onto.  They’re epiphytes and, in nature, develop on different vegetation. These wandering, spider-like roots are what anchor them and assist them take up moisture from the air.

In case your orchid has loads of roots, you’ll be able to minimize a few them off in the event that they’re bothering you. Do the identical with the lifeless and dried ones. 

How To Show Your Phalaenopsis Orchid Plant

Some show concepts embrace an ornamental orchid pot, kokedama, a plastic orchid pot inside an ornamental pot (that is how a lot of the shops promote them), in a wooden orchid basket, on a bit of wooden or bark, or as a part of a tablescape show.

A white phalaenopsis orchid decorated for christmas to be used as a table display.
I made this for a Christmas show one 12 months. Orchid vegetation final for much longer than minimize flowers.

Moth Orchid FAQs

How do you retain Phalaenopsis Orchids blooming? 

The blooming cycle runs about each 9 months. It’s potential your orchid will flower twice a 12 months. A cheerful and wholesome orchid will repeat bloom for a few years. The correct amount of sunshine, common fertilizing, correct watering, and repotting when vital will guarantee this.

How lengthy do Phalaenopsis Orchids final?

Many individuals purchase their phalaenopsis orchid in bloom after which toss it as soon as it’s bloomed. Nevertheless, an orchid plant stored wholesome and correctly cared for can dwell a few years (20 or extra). 

How do you take care of Phalaenopsis Orchids after flowering?

For what to do with the flower stem, learn “Pruning For Rebloom.” I look after my plant the identical means after flowering as I do when it’s flowering, following all the guidelines listed above. 

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care Video Information:

This was shot within the greenhouses at Westerlay Orchids in Carpenteria, CA. It’s proper off Freeway 101 and positively value a go to.

Conclusion: Even if these lovely orchids appear fairly unique to some, they’re simple houseplants.   They are often in bloom for over three months with correct care, making them fairly a cut price in comparison with minimize flowers.  The Phalaenopsis has change into America’s favourite orchid.  I really like the various several types of orchids, so it’s a troublesome selection for me.  I say, the extra orchids, the higher!

Completely happy Gardening,

Signed by Nell Foster

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