Orchids have been growing in popularity over the last ten years, so that now you can find them almost anywhere. There are several varieties of orchid plants readily available. First, we will address the Phalaenopsis Orchid care.
The first thing to do is to relax. Orchids are more forgiving than most people think. If you pay attention to them, they will tell you when something is not right.
Phals don’t like direct sunlight. If they are getting too much sun, you will see brown spots appear on the leaves. bright, indirect light is best. Think being under a tree outside in summer.
Water is where most people run into problems. Generally, once a week is fine for phals, depending on what they are planted in. If you water them and the water runs out the bottom of the pot immediately, most likely they are planted in bark. If you water them and it takes a minute for the water to come out, they may be planted in peat moss. Of course, this is if the container has a drainage hole. Peat moss will retain moisture longer, so water sparingly every two-three weeks, depending on temperature, humidity, etc. You can feel the moss to see how much moisture it is retaining. It’s better to allow a phal to get a little bit dry, rather than overwatering. Too much water and the roots will begin to rot, and you have lost the plant. Too little, and you will see the leaves begin to wrinkle. Again, this is not good, but it’s easier to pull it back from being too dry.
Sometimes you will see a tag that says to add a couple ice cubes tot he top of the plant. This delivers a small amount of water over a period, but the water temperature is too low for the plant to be happy. Also, you never want to allow water to remain in the center of the leaves, where they join the plant stem. This can cause rot also.
Phals like nighttime temperatures of about 60-65 and daytime temperatures of 75-90. In the summer months, they benefit from being outside under a tree, and you can leave them out until the night temperatures begin getting in the 50’s. Often this will trigger re-blooming!
Phals are like a lot of other plants, in that they don’t like being in a draft. Especially when they are blooming a draft from a HVAC vent or a ceiling fan will cause the blooms to drop.
Once your orchid plant has stopped blooming, trim the bloom stalk just below the first bloom. Sometimes, this will trigger the plant to send out another bloom stalk off the first one, for an encore!
After all blooming is over, the plant will need to rest. It’s helpful to feed the plant once a month with an orchid fertilizer, mixed with water.