By Gardener's Supply Company
Photographs by Suzanne DeJohn, Gardener's Supply Company
With their large, colorful flowers on long, arching stems, moth orchids (Phalaenopsis) are a dramatic addition to any room. And unlike many flowering houseplants, the blooms last for weeks — even months!
Eventually the flowers fade and it's time to cut back the flower stalk. Fortunately, moth orchids are some of the easiest orchids to encourage to rebloom.
Ideally, you've been giving your plant the proper care right from the start. Orchids have a reputation for being fussy, and many types do have exacting requirements. Moth orchids are a bit more forgiving, but still need the proper growing environment and regular care. Keeping the plants healthy while they're blooming is the first step toward preparing them for rebloom.
Caring for Moth Orchids
Follow these tips for ensuring a healthy plant that will reward you with additional rounds of blooms.
Light: Moth orchids thrive in bright, indirect light, such as an east-facing window, or under full-spectrum lights. Don't overdo it, though; direct sun can burn foliage. If you'd like to display yours in a south-facing window, use sheer curtains or move the plant several feet away from the window. Also, adequate light is key to getting a moth orchid to rebloom.
Water: Most orchids are planted in a freely draining medium, such as bark. Orchid roots need plenty of oxygen, so after watering be sure to allow excess water to drain. On the other hand, don't let the roots dry out completely between waterings — especially in winter, when central heating dries out indoor air.
Fertilizer: Like other houseplants, your moth orchid will benefit from regular fertilizing. Apply a water-soluble orchid fertilizer twice a month.
Temperature: Although moth orchids will grow at regular room temperature, they prefer warm days and cool nights. If your moth orchid is reluctant to rebloom, locate it where the temperature drops by 10 to 15 degrees F at night.