easy phalaenopsis orchid care
Summer Blooming Phal
Summer Blooming Phal
They are happy in bright light, but not direct sunlight. Direct sun on their leaves will cause them to transpire water fast trying to stay cool. If they run out of water or can't do it fast enough their leaves will scorch.
East windows are ideal for Phalaenopsis orchid care. South or west window should have shade cloth or some curtains to protect the Phals from the direct sun.
Be aware that the temperature right against the window will be warmer and cooler than temperatures of the room.
They also may be grown on a plant stand with growing lights about a foot above the plants.
One thing that makes the Phal such a good house plant is the fact that they like the same temperatures most of us have in our homes.
The like it from 60 to 65 degrees at night. Too many nights below 60 will inhibit their flower initiation.
During the day they are happy from 70 to 85 degrees. They will tolerate it from 90 to 95, but they are not so happy.
The natural environment of Phals is humid. They like sitting on a tray of pebbles with water in the tray below the top of the pebbles. Do not have the bottom of their pot sitting in water.
If they are in high humidity, then they require some gentle air movement (such as a ceiling fan) to prevent leaf diseases.
Don't set them near a heat or air vent where the air will be blowing on them. It will dry them out too fast. And it could cause their flower buds to drop and the flowers to wither.
Phalaenopsis don't have the capacity to store much water. They can hold some water in their roots, but they don't have pseudobulbs like Cattleyas to store larger amounts of water. Cattleyas are gorgeous orchids.
Good Phalaenopsis care includes regular watering. If they are growing in bark or other open potting medium they will require water more often. If they are growing in sphagnum moss they will be watered less frequently.
They use more water in warmer temperatures. And in cooler temperatures during the winter, they use less water.
Plants in small pots need to be watered more often than those in large pots.
WHEW - that's a lot - so how do you know when to water?
Water by judging the weight of the pot.
Wait about 10 minutes after you water. Pick up the pot and see how heavy it is. Water again when the pot is half the weight it was after you watered it last time.
When the top of the potting medium is dry there is still moisture down in the pot. If you are in doubt wait a day or two before watering. It is better to under water than over water. Keeping the roots too wet can cause root rot.
I learned how to water orchids the hard way.
Good Phalaenopsis orchid care requires thorough watering.
Water until you see water running out of the bottom of pot. About once a month give it a good watering to flush extra fertilizer salts out of the pot.
Do not water with softened water or strongly chlorinated water.
Water in the morning. The leaves must be dry before nightfall to prevent leaf diseases.
DO NOT GET WATER INTO THE CROWN OF THE PLANT, where the leaves join together in the center of the plant. Water sitting in the crown will cause it to rot and you will most likely lose the Phalaenopsis plant.
If you accidentally get water in the crown blot it out with tissue or a paper towel. Or I blow it out with a forceful puff from my mouth until I can no longer see water in the crown.
they need fertilizer
French Spots Phal
French Spots Phal
Phalaenopsis growing in bark will require more fertilizer than a Phal growing in moss. The bark uses nitrogen to break itself down and it takes nitrogen away from the plants.
Orchids growing in bark should get a weak strength fertilizer every watering. One growing in moss may be fertilized about once a month.
Orchid fertilizer is good for Phalaenopsis orchid care or use a regular 10-10-10 fertilizer.
Phalaenopsis orchid care requires potting about every year for plants in bark. Soak the bark in water for an hour or two before potting.
Phals in moss are good for about three years. Young Phal plants that are still growing should be potted every year. Wet the moss before using it and squeeze out the extra water.
Potting is usually done in the summer after they are finished flowering.
Take the plant out of the pot and remove all potting medium, wash the roots under running water to remove the last bits of medium. Cut off any broken or rotted roots.
Place the plant in a clean pot with plenty of drain holes. Use an orchid pot that has holes on the sides of the pot that allow air to get to the roots.
Pack the potting medium firmly around the roots. Water the plant.
Phalaenopsis orchid care is one of my hobbies. Painting is another of my hobbies. I did this painting of a Phal in a clay pot. I liked the complimentary colors of the clay pot.
Phals actually are happier in plastic or glazed ceramic pots because they hold the moisture better. They dry out too fast in terracotta pots.
I was thinking about wild Phals in the jungle and how they looked like white flying moths. I named the painting "White Flight".
I have been growing and caring for plants for years. They bring me so much pleasure.
I wish you many years of bountiful flowers, too.
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