The Phalaenopsis is also known as the ‘Moth Orchid’. It is a genus of about 35 species of tropical orchids, originating mostly in the hot and humid low lands of the Philippines, India, Indochina, Indonesia and northern Australia. Many of their hybrids produce long, arching sprays carrying ten or more white, pink, candy-striped or even yellow blooms. Phalaenopsis orchids are ideally grown within the temperature range of 18-28°C. However, they can be grown and flowered successfully indoors on a window sill if the pots are stood on (not in) a tray of wet gravel in order to maintain a high level of humidity; a low overnight temperature of 12°C will not set them back, providing the room is warmer during daylight hours. The above text is from an article by Bill Mather for the Orchid Societies Council of Victoria (OSCOV), on ‘How to Grow Phaelaenopsis Orchids Indoors‘. Here is the rest of Mather’s article.
Further tips on growing Phalaenopsis indoors is provided by the North-East Melbourne Orchid Society (NEMOS) who posted an article on the OSCOV website. They have provided some great tips on flowering and pests and diseases.
- FLOWERING – Well-grown plants flower twice each year, usually in autumn and spring. The flowers continue to grow in size after the buds first open. There are usually three or four blooms when the plant first flowers but in the second and subsequent seasons you can expect a tall, arching spike carrying up to ten blooms, sometimes more. If your plant is growing well, you may choose not to remove the old flower spike (it usually lasts for two months) but to cut it above a node, thereby initiating a secondary spike, which will flower about 90 days later.
- PESTS and DISEASES – Check the underside of the leaves occasionally for mealy-bugs and scale, which can be killed by brushing with methylated spirits. Brown spots, caused by airborne fungal spores (Botrytis), occasionally disfigure the flowers. This spotting is a temporary, seasonal hazard induced when the flowers remain wet in cool conditions overnight. Water lodging at the conjunction of the leaves under these conditions may also lead to the development of brown rot in the crown of the plant. Use a paper tissue to remove water lodged in the crown before it can cause problems. Rots are best treated with the fungicide Natriphene®. Full article is available here.
REPOTTING – Tips on potting and repotting are provided by Rex Johnson in his article “Potting Phalaenopsis: A New Idea”. Johnson begins: “When I began growing phalaenopsis orchids about twelve years ago, I was very particular about watering, always making sure that all the water was directed into the potting mix and that none fell into the crown of leaves. If by chance any did so, it was immediately removed with a paper tissue to minimise the likelihood of crown rot. The first few years were very successful, resulting in some beautiful flower spikes. However, as my orchid collection grew I became less careful with my watering practices and sometimes neglected to remove any water that lodged in the crowns of my phalaenopsis plants. I live in a cold climate, where the temperature on some winter nights falls as low as -5°C, requiring my phalaenopsis house to be securely closed to maintain the desired minimum temperature of 16°C for up to 16 hours per day. The lack of fresh air during this time meant that any water on the foliage had little chance to evaporate. Inevitably this led to crown rot and the loss of some plants”. View Johnson’s full article here.
See also our Phalaenopsis photo gallery.
For further information on Phalenopsis and other orchid varieties, see the Orchid Societies Council of Victoria (OSCOV) Website under the section Articles & Resources.
- For further information about orchid care at Southern Suburbs Orchid Society (SSOS) or membership enquiries, please do not hesitate to Contact Us
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