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Understanding Phalaenopsis Orchid Care


When someone mentions orchids, it is important to understand there are hundreds of different genera and thousands of different species. While this is true, when someone is first introduced to orchids, it is the Phalaenopsis genus. These are great beginner plants. They have thick leaves and arching, elegant sprays of blooms. These are also the orchids most commonly seen in design magazines.

To ensure the orchid survives and remains healthy, learning more about phalaenopsis orchid care is a must. Keep reading to learn some care basics for this plant.

Growing the Phalaenopsis Orchid

These orchids are from a hardy zone and can be grown outside in humid, warm conditions that remain damp but that are not soggy. The plant also requires a shady area, but bright light (no direct sunlight). More often, these plants are grown inside. This is because it is possible to balance temperature and humidity in a controlled environment. When properly cared for, a single flower spike with several branches may have over 20 different flowers. Once the flowers bloom, they can last for several weeks.

Light Considerations

Quality light is necessary for the phalaenopsis. However, they should never be put in the direct sun, as this may scorch the leaves. Be sure to rotate the plant regularly to ensure growth remains equal. The phalaenopsis can grow in low light, but it will thrive when it is placed in a window that faces east, or if it is in a shaded window with westerly or southerly exposure. Common grow lights can be used, too. Plants that grow well will include darker green leaves at the top along with burgundy or red streaks on the underside of the leaf.

The Soil

When growing in nature, a moth orchid will grow on a tree as an epiphyte. This is a plant that requires the presence of a host plant. Rather than traditional soil, they require a special potting material that mimics the host tree or something that comes from a tree, like Monterey pine bark chips, redwood bark chips, or fir tree bark. Usually, any type of bark potting product is going to be fine.

It is also important to make sure that there is some coconut husk chips, charcoal, sphagnum moss, and perlite mixed in. This aids with water retention. Commercial potting mix can also be purchased for orchids. Regardless of the potting material used, be sure there is sufficient air circulation for the roots. The epiphytes thrive when breezes are present, and they will not grow well without this.


The phalaenopsis orchid will grow from one stem. It does not have the bigger pseudobulbs on other orchids that are used for storing water. While the leaves can hold some water, it is best to make sure the plant receives sufficient water to continue growing.

With the tips and information here, anyone is ready to try their hand at growing orchids. Be sure to follow these tips to minimize the likelihood that the plant will die or that it will not thrive.

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