Phalaenopsis orchids

Many people think that keeping and caring for orchids is some mystical process that requires specialist knowledge, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Phalaenopsis (fa-len-opsis) orchids are among the easiest orchids to grow.  However, as with all plants, these bright and beautiful tropical gems have a few basic requirements:

  1. Orchids prefer a fairly bright position, out of direct sunlight. Near a north or west-facing window is best.
  2. Don’t put your orchid in a cold draught, it will never thrive there. Orchids are happiest in a reasonably warm spot.
  3. To keep your orchid truly happy, put it somewhere with about 40-60% humidity. If this is not possible, try regularly misting the plant with water.

Orchids need ample water but should be allowed to dry out a little between waterings. One way to check to see if your orchid needs water is by poking your finger about an inch into the growing media.  If it’s dry, you can give it some water; otherwise, let it be.  In fact, every time you think you want to water, wait three days… or even a week; your plant won’t suffer.

Like many epiphytes, (that is, plants which grow on other plants) Phalaenopsis are typically grown in a chunky mixture of pine bark, charcoal, and sphagnum moss.  This mixture is designed to drain very rapidly and allow the orchid’s roots to get plenty of air.  Because of this, you’ll probably need to water your orchids one to three times a week, depending on the humidity and temperature.  When you water your orchid, it’s a good idea to totally drench the roots but don’t let water sit between the leaves.   The best way to accomplish this is to submerge the whole pot in a bowl of water for a few minutes, then remove it, allow the excess water to drain, then replace the pot on its saucer and let the plant dry-out again before you water it again.  Contrary to what many people think, orchids do not like continuously wet environments.

As with all container plants, orchids require a little food from time-to-time.  However, they are not big feeders, so periodic application of a liquid fertiliser at a quarter strength is usually enough to keep them happy.

Here at Shotover Garden Centre we stock a lovely range of both single- and double-stem orchids in a variety of colours.  Pop-in and take a look, you might just discover your new plant passion.


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