Phalaenopsis orchid care: how to look after orchids

Phalaenopsis Orchids might have a complicated name but they are easy to look after! By following just a few simple rules they’ll flower beautifully for up to 6 months.

This elegant plant makes a gorgeous addition to any home or office, with its long stems, dainty wing-like flowers and deep green foliage. Due to their long-lasting nature Phalaenopsis Orchids are a very popular present. Fresh cut flowers from Fig & Bloom typically last up to a week, possibly two weeks with Australian native flowers. If you want something that lasts longer then you can’t go past a graceful Phalaenopsis Orchid. Gift recipients can expect to enjoy this low maintenance plant for many months to come with only minimal maintenance. Of course, you might find you want one for yourself too!

Many of the florists in our team love these plants so much that they also keep them at home. So together we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of our tried and tested methods to care for your Phalaenopsis Orchid.

1. Don’t water it too much

We know you’re going to love your Phalaenopsis Orchids, but don’t be an overbearing plant parent! Orchid roots like to be watered, but then left to almost dry out before you water them again.

This is because the roots are very susceptible to rot if they’re kept constantly moist.

A good way to tell when it’s time to water your orchid is by sticking your finger into the pot. If it feels wet, don’t water yet! You can also try lifting the pot to feel how heavy it is. When the pot is dry it will feel very light, and it might be time to give your orchid a drink.

On average, Phalaenopsis Orchids will only need watering around once a week, or perhaps a little more often in the hot summer months.

2. Keep the crown dry

It’s not just the roots that can rot, the orchid’s crown – the centre, where new leaves emerge – also doesn’t like to get wet. If water is trapped in the crown, it can lead to rot.

Water your orchid carefully, and try to avoid getting any water in the plant’s crown at all. If you accidentally splash a little in there, then you can try blotting it out with some paper towel.

3. Keep warm, but out of direct sunlight

Phalaenopsis Orchids are indoor plants – they love warm temperatures, between 24°C and 29°C. If you like to keep your house warm, you’ll make an excellent orchid owner!

However, orchids are just like people, we may love the heat, but sunburn isn’t healthy! Keep your plant out of direct sunlight to avoid the burn.

4. Humidity is key

We know these elegant orchids are starting to sound a bit fussy, but stick with us! While they don’t like to be watered too much, a humid atmosphere is perfect, as it keeps them hydrated without being wet.

Position your Phalaenopsis away from air conditioning, as this can dry it out. Hot, dry conditions can cause unopened buds to drop.

To give the plant the humidity it needs, stand the pot on a tray of pebbles and fill the tray with water. The pebbles will prevent the roots from sitting in the water, but will provide a humid zone where the plant needs it most. You can also try misting the pot on very hot, dry days.

5. Feed well

To really keep your orchid happy and to be rewarded with the most beautiful flowers, you must feed her only the best meals.

Use a high-potassium liquid orchid food to encourage flowering. Apply the dilute fertiliser every two weeks or according to instructions on the container. When conditions are cold, you won’t need to feed her as often.

6. Keep bugs away

Unfortunately, bugs seem to like the Phalaenopsis Orchid as much as we do! Mealy bug is the most common pest found on the plant, but to keep them away, simply spray or wipe some white oil or eco oil onto both sides of the leaves.

This isn’t a poison, but it will suffocate the bugs, leaving your precious plant safe and happy!

You can buy white oil, or just make it yourself at home.

Bonus tip: cut the stem to get flowers again

When your orchid finally finishes flowering, and you’re left with just the stem, don’t despair! You can encourage new flowers to appear, simply by cutting the stem.

Notice the small triangular nodes on the stem? The higher ones will have been where your flowers were previously blooming from, so they can’t flower again, BUT find the lowest one on the stem and cut the stem about 1 cm above the node. (You’ll need a good pair of gardening shears)

This will encourage your orchid to start reflowering! Now, this is the one time when Phalaenopsis needs to be kept a little cooler, so try keeping her in a cooler part of the house while you wait for flowers to reappear.

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