How to Care for an Orchid Plant

The Phalaenopsis Orchid plant, also known as the Moth Orchid, is one of the lowest maintenance, hearty and beautiful orchids you can have to enjoy year after year – provided you give it proper care! Once you learn a few basics, you’ll be able to grow and flower your elegant Phalaenopsis orchid for years to come. And what’s most rewarding is that with each year, your orchid plant will produce more flowers than the last!

Tips for Proper Orchid Plant Care

Phalaenopsis orchids require many of the same essentials humans need to take into consideration – light, temperature, humidity and water.

Temperature and Light: 

Bright, indirect light is ideal for orchid plant care. Southern and eastern sun exposure is optimal. However, most importantly, never place your orchid in direct sunlight .

Whenever I choose fresh flowers for design purposes, I always, always check the foliage. In the same way, your orchid’s foliage is the best indicator of what your plant needs. Ideally, you want to see firm, light to medium green leaves. Limp, dark green leaves indicate that your orchid is not being exposed to enough light. On the other hand, too much light exposure will produce an excess of dark reddish pigmentation. You’ll want to remedy this quickly, as it can result in your Phalaenopsis producing fewer and even smaller blooms. Another way to tell if your plant is getting the optimal amount of light is seeing a very slight reddish hue near the base of the leaves. This lets you know that no more light is necessary!

Watering: 

In its natural setting, a Phalaenopsis orchid attaches its roots to tree bark, and they are exposed. When exposed to frequent rainfall, the roots thoroughly absorb water, and then dry out before they are watered again.

When grown in a pot, it is easy to overwater an orchid plant, without having this knowledge, and this can result in the roots rotting, causing the plant to wilt or die. A certain balance must be kept when watering your Phalaenopsis. Simply put, you want to allow the roots to dry out a bit between watering; however, you never want the roots to be bone dry. Water the plant thoroughly early in the day, as with all orchid plants, so the leaves can dry by the evening. Also, be sure never to allow standing water on the soil, where the leaves emerge. Filtered tap water is ideal, and should be cool or room temperature when administered (never cold)… think rainwater!

Humidity:

Mostly coming from a  tropical environment consisting of 50-90% humidity,  dry air is definitely not ideal when caring for your Phalaenopsis. This may be the most challenging factor to control indoors, especially during winter, when heaters are run, and the air is generally very dry.  A simple solution would be to keep a humidifier running.  Air circulation is also important given that they grow higher off the ground on trees, there is a constant flow of air. Consider running a small fan near your orchid, especially during winter months when the air is drier. 

 

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