An American Orchid Society demographic survey showed that
phalaenopsis have become America’s favorite orchid. And no
wonder. Perhaps no other orchid is better suited to home orchid growing.
Plants with long-lasting sprays of lovely mothlike blooms in a broad array
of colors are inexpensive and widely available, ready to give weeks of
pleasure in your home or office. Simply provide modest light and consistent
moisture, and they will delight you with their relative ease of culture.
The main flowering season is late winter into spring, though commercial
growers today can make flowering phalaenopsis available year round.
Sufficient light is important for
healthy growth and flower production.
PROVIDE Bright light, no direct sun.
In the home, an east, west or shaded
south window. In a greenhouse,
about 30 percent full sun. Under
lights, four 40 watt fluorescent
tubes and two 40 watt incandescent
bulbs directly over plants. Foliage
should be naturally semierect, and of
a medium olive-green. Dark green,
limp foliage indicates too little light.
Mature plants need a 15 to 20 F
difference between night and day.
PROVIDE Nights of 60 to 65 F; days
of 75 to 85 F. Seedlings need
temperatures five to 10 degrees
higher than mature plants..
Mature plants should seldom dry out
between waterings. Seedlings need
more constant attention to moisture.
Phalaenopsis need 60 to 70 percent
humidity. In the home, place on
trays of moistened pebbles. In
greenhouse, use a humidifier if
conditions are too dry.
Must be provided on a regular basis
because most potting media have little.
PROVIDE The exact fertilizer you use
will depend on the mix in which your
plant is growing. A good general
rule is to use a balanced (10-10-10,
12-12-12 or similar ratio) fertilizer
“weakly, weekly.” That is, fertilize
every week at one quarter to one
half of the recommended dilution.
Should be done every one to two years
before the mix breaks down too far.
Best done in late spring after main
flowering season, using a well-drained
but water-retentive mix. Select pot
size for root mass, not top size.