Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Phalaenopsis - back to basics

In this post I thought I'll go back to basics and will share with you my techniques for growing these beautiful plants. One of my personal rules for growing any orchid is to find out as much as I can about it's native habitat and to try to match it as much as possible. This genera contains more than 60 species which been crossed between themselves to obtain the beautiful colors and shapes and sizes. but the basics remain same for successful cultivation. Of course, every growers conditions are different, yet once the basics are understood, these orchids will reward you with many many years of blooms.

Here is the video showing phalaenopsis growing in natural habitat -

Note the light intensity, the amount of moisture, the way the plant positioned - all of these things are the clues for understanding what these orchid need and how they like to be kept.
I don't know how many times I've heard advice not to over water them, yet in they natural environment moisture is everywhere and from my personal experience mastering the watering  techniques is a major part of growing them successfully.

What they don't like is overhead watering, with moisture collecting between the leaves because in nature they hang on the trees at an angle so all excess moisture just slips away.  They are sold potted upright in containers, so the easier way to water them is by dunking them just below the crown so that the roots can absorb the moisture from the bottom.  Also, I fertilize them same way - dissolving fertilizer in the water at a very weak rate may be once a month - they really appreciate it.

Phalaenopsis are epiphytes ( air - plants) , they roots need plenty of air and light to flower successfully and what usually happens is that they sold in plastic pots where only air roots at the top see the light and the bottom, the feeder roots promptly start rotting away because it’s unnatural for them to be enclosed in thick plastic pot. What I always do is re-pot them in clear plastic pot with many large holes made around and the bottom of the pot. The choice of container is up to you - anything with clear plastic will do, as long as the light can penetrate the area around the roots, the more holes made, the better it is for the plant. It means that they will get watered and dry out quick, imitating their natural requirements. They love this kind of environment and send many flower spikes during growing season.

Here are some of my plants that flowering at the moment -


  1. What a great collection of Phals. The video is great, too, and should be of immense help to those who are starting with orchids.

  2. How interesting is to learn about watering! It is true - they do hang from the trees!
    We just returned from Hawaii (school spring break) where we had a chance to enjoy so many orchids! It was a moment when I thought about you, Klara! Your post are such a good source to learn about these wonderful plants! Thank you!

  3. Thank you all for your comments and to allow me the opportunity to show how these orchids like to be kept, and hopefully it will help someone to understand that they are very long lived orchids, capable of re-flowering for many many years that delight with numerous flower spikes every growing season.