We've compiled information from our own experiences and offer them here as
a 'guide'. You may find that your particular orchid has not read this culture
sheet and will want to march to the beat of a different drummer. If you have
questions about your specific plant, feel free to ask us. Our email is
Phalaenopsis (Phals.) are considered low light orchids, requiring only bright
indirect light or dabbled sunlight to grow and bloom. Even these lower light
orchids will benefit from some direct sunlight in the early morning or late
evening when the sun is low in the sky. This is especially true of the venosa-
type hybrids with heavy, waxy, flowers. Feel the leaves of your plants when
they are in direct sunlight and make sure they are not overheating. They
should be cool to the touch.
Phals like to keep their roots moist but not wet. How often you water is
dependent on how quickly the potting mix dries out. Clay pots will dry out much
faster than plastic or glazed ceramic pots. When you water, completely drench
the roots and allow the pot to drain. NEVER LET YOUR PLANT SIT IN
WATER!!! Letting the plant set in water will rot the roots.
Fertilizers and Supplements:
Water with clear water first, then water with a "well balanced", "all-purpose"
fertilizer at 1/2 strength once a month. A fertilizer is considered "All-Purpose"
or "Well Balanced" when the three major components: Nitrogen, Phosphorous,
and Potassium are close to being equal. The three letters and numbers on the
container of fertilizer indicate this. For example: N-P-K / 20-20-20. Or 5-7-6
etc. We have found no difference from one fertilizer to the next. We use fish
emulsion, Protect, CalMag etc. just to make ourselves feel good about our
orchids. We're not sure it does anything for the plants, but we have customers
that swear by these products.
Small plants in 2 to 4-inch pots will do well for us in New Zealand Sphagnum
Moss. Larger plants are potted using a bark/coconut husk mix which might
contain other items like sponge rock, charcoal, etc. As your plant increases in
size, so will the pot and so should the size of your potting mix. Plants in 5-inch
pots or larger should be potted in a mix of medium size components. Mix in
some sphagnum moss fibers if it was previously grown in Moss. This helps
wean the plant off its old media and into the bark mix.
Most novice growers (and many experienced growers) hate to repot while their
orchid is growing well, for fear of losing the plant. This is the first and biggest
mistake you can make. You must repot your orchid BEFORE the potting mix
begins to break down. When the potting mix rots, so do your orchid roots.
You will not know this until it's too late. Therefore we recommend you repot
your Phal. every 12 months. NEVER OVERPOT. Use a pot that fits the size of
the root mass - not the size of the plant. If the plant appears too big for the
pot, you can use a more open mix or simply drop the pot into a larger, more
decorative container. Repot your newly purchased orchids after they have
bloomed. This assures the plant is in a fresh mix that you are familiar with.
Most plants come to market just before they need repotting. Many vendors
"pot up" these over-grown plant's by placing them in larger pots with the old
mix still around the roots. This stabilizes the plants without disturbing the roots
and causing the flowers/buds to drop.
Most Phals grow best in temperatures that you are most comfortable with.
Therefore they make excellent houseplants. Most will do well between 65F and
80F. Lower or higher temperatures may slow down the plant's growth. If you
have trouble blooming your plants try increasing the amount of light they
receive or drop the night temperatures 20 degrees lower than day
temperatures. This is easily done in the spring and fall when outdoor
temperatures naturally fluctuate.
A few words of wisdom:
1) Information provided here is a generalization and not specific to any species or hybrid.
2) Conditions suited to one orchid may not be the best for another even though they are in
the same family.
3) What works for one person may not work for another, so try different ideas.
4) All orchids benefit from good air movement.
5) If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
6) You're not a real orchid grower unless you've killed your fair share of orchids.
|Cultural Information for Your Phalaenopsis
Orchid Orchid Enterprise Inc.