Phalaenopsis Care For The Moth Orchid

When the holidays approach it means orchids will soon be "Up and Coming".

The main orchid crop you’ll find at this time is Phalaenopsis commonly called the Moth Orchid.

Click Here For Phalaenopsis Orchid Care.

The site of 100s and 100s of carefully grown and selected phals beginning to spike is a site to see.

The spikes are young and the flower buds are begin to form… from December 1, through Mothers Day (plan now on that unique gift for Mom) you’ll find these beauties in the store.

Orchids have a myth of being very difficult to grow. They are in fact no more difficult than other house plants. They may even be easier, if you follow some simple guidelines in purchasing and caring for your indoor moth orchids.

phalaenopsis, phalaenopsis orchid care

Purchasing Moth Orchids

The Plant

  • Should be in proportion to the container.
  • The foliage should be clean, unblemished, medium green in color and free of any visible pest. Remember some of the leaves have a mottling that is natural.
  • There should be roots in the growing media. 

The Flowers

  • Should be held well above the foliage on a strong, well-supported spike. Many growers use a bamboo stake to help in shipping.
  • Free of any unnatural spotting
  • Still have some buds to open. You will never be able to judge the flower life on your plant after all the flowers have opened.
  • Make sure it fits your decor. Bathrooms with the high humidity is a great place for orchids.

Indoor Care

One way to kill your orchid is to let the roots sit in water. Nothing kills an orchid faster then letting it sit in water or a water logged pot. The lack of oxygen to the roots will cause them to suffocate and rot. Learn How Often To Water Your Orchid Here
Most orchids are grown in pots that are filled with bark chips, stones, treefern or some other very loose material. Many growers of phals today are using spaghnum moss as their media of choice.

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When you first bring your orchid home give it a good watering. I may be wrong but I have yet to see an orchid in stores that was wet. The best place to water your plant is probably at the kitchen sink. Use luke warm water and water your plant for about 15 seconds. Be sure to thoroughly wet the media. Then allow the plant to drain for about 15 minutes. It may appear dry but it has had enough water.

If the roots are in a very wet or moist environment they will begin to rot, and there goes the plant. When watering your phal try not to get any water on the flowers themselves. This reduces the life of the bloom. Your plant may be healthy but will have no flowers. The blooms of a good healthy plant should last for many months.

Remember this when watering orchids

Your orchid can withstand periods of forgetfulness and drought better then they can handle over watering.

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

carole June 15, 2010 at 2:20 pm

what causes the ridged leathery leaf on phals, can it be stopped? Even new growth seems to become leathery.

admin June 16, 2010 at 6:55 am

That is just their make up…

Coral June 17, 2010 at 5:33 pm

I received a phalaenopsis as a gift. The lower leaves have withered and shrunk. I’m afraid upper levels are next. Is it okay to repot it? The pot seems too small for it. Do I need to get orchid potting mix? Is it okay for it to be outside on my screened in porch for the summer? Or should I keep it inside?

Adele Anderson June 18, 2010 at 11:00 pm

my moth orchid has air roots or should they be in the mixture.

Nicky June 19, 2010 at 5:15 am

What causes the underside of the leaves on phals to have a sticky substance, during and after flowering?

Lori June 22, 2010 at 4:04 pm

I am trying to find out about nodes on the spike how can you identify them?
I have received a beautiful Phalaenopsis for mothers day and it is still flowering!
I want to keep her alive.
If you no of a sight that may have a picture of the node? I dont want to cut to far down.
Does it re bloom on the same spike?

Renee June 26, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I just bought this Phalaenopsis Orchid and the botton or base has alot of thick roots sitting hirer than the moss, is this normal?

bw June 26, 2010 at 8:42 pm

The roots have come out of the top of the pot and are 3-4 inches in length. Can these be cut?

Joseph Vella June 27, 2010 at 2:10 am

Very good site, very usfull information to our plants.

Jay Tuckerj June 27, 2010 at 9:51 am

I live in AZ and have a healthy green plant that had two long pretty flower spikes. Unfortunately they have croaked. Is this normal for these and how do I make sure it flowers again next year? Any info will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

tony June 27, 2010 at 11:34 am

I purchased a phalaenopsis orchid for my girlfriend & the flowers are falling off is it because it is diening?

Grace Sawyer July 1, 2010 at 9:15 am

What are the root looking “spikes” growing out of the plant pot at the base of the plant? Truly roots? New Plant? What to do?

Yvonne July 1, 2010 at 10:19 am

After my phalaenopsis had flowered I did not cut it back as there seemed to be more flowers to come on but there are now leaves coming on the flower spike, is this usual? It looks a bit strange with leaves so high up.

Lorrie July 5, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I received a Moth Orchid months ago as a gift. Eventually all the orchids died off. I have continued to water and care for the plant. It has grown one additional leaf and another one is just sprouting. The long stem that the original orchids hung from is still there. I trimmed back what looked to have died out, Will this plant ever bloom again? Having never tried to take care of such a plant I have no idea what to do. A florist recently to.d me throw it out just buy a new one. Mine looks very healthy to me.

Marsha Davis July 9, 2010 at 11:36 am

I recieved a phalaeonopsis orchid inApril as a gift. It has done well until now. It just dropped all its blooms.(7-8-10). Will it bloom again? What should I do?
Thank You

Kari July 12, 2010 at 2:01 pm

What do you do with those long finger-like shoots that grow at the bottom of the plant? The ones I’m questioning, have triangular tips (somewhat like asparagus). Are they future blooms or should they be trimmed away?

carole wise July 12, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I have an moth orchid that is about four years old but has only bloomed once. The leaves are beautiful and thick and dark green,and also very large. can you give me some reason why it doesn’t bloom? thank you Carole Wise

Virginia Butler July 13, 2010 at 11:04 pm

What do you do when the plant produces lots of air roots, but few flowers?

Katie July 14, 2010 at 6:28 pm

For Mother’s Day I received one of these AWESOME flowers. I have enjoyed it immensely. 2 Days ago all the flowers began to wilt and today I noticed the stem is turning brown. PLEASE HELP! I have followed the instructions that came with to the letter. I do not know if it’s flowering season is over. I would guess not because it had a new flower starting. DO I replant it?? Try watering it in between it’s normal time? Is it possible to drown it? Any help would be so appreciated. I love my Orchid and would hate to see its demise.

Jill Hinch July 18, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I received a Phalaenopsis Orchid as a gift. While I think I understand how to care for it, I was wondering if I should stake it up more. It is already staked up about 8 inches, but the blossoms are arching over another 8 or so inches. Should I use a taller pole and stake it up the rest of the way? Thanks so much!

Cindy Weiss July 20, 2010 at 9:44 am

HI. Thanks for the guidance. When I repotted a grocery store phalaenopsis, I used a double pot – one unglazed pot set inside another that serves as a water reservoir. Keeping the water level low seems to keep the medium evenly damp, but not wet. So far, so good, and it’s had constant blooms since October. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Buck July 21, 2010 at 11:47 am

After the flowers have gone and the spike has dried, how long before a new spike and flowers develop?

David Hoyt July 23, 2010 at 4:01 pm

I was lucky with my orchid, I had blooms from February until April. I pruned it above the third “node” after i clipped it i noticed the very end had a new shoot, is it possible for it to have another “run” of flowers. I watered it carefully, applied one ice cube to the moss, keeping it away from the plant itself, and had extremely good luck. The bright light was perfect during the morning hours. So what can I do to get bigger and more flowers?

Shirley July 24, 2010 at 12:54 pm

My mother can grow most any kind of house plant, but not Moth orchids. She’s lost 2 in the last year. Within a few weeks of being finished blooming the leaves fal off one by one until there are none left.
Any ideas as to possible causes?

rita July 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm

how long does a white Moth Orchid live for?

Cassia July 28, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Hello, A friend got me a phalaenopsis orchid in QFC around October 2009 and I don’t know if it was ever repotted. It’s the first time I grow an orchid and it has bloomed very well till maybe May 2010. I thought its normal that some roots are outside the pot. I think it’s a medium bark but I am not sure. I didn’t know I need to repot immediately after flowering. Now the roots have dried up. Three out of 4 leaves are now very limp. Is the plant dying? Can I still save it? how? If I repot it now, do I lightly cover all the roots with the bark?

Thanks in advance for your input.

Krista July 31, 2010 at 4:59 pm

I have a moth orchid and when I got it, it was beautiful and now the flowers fell off and the stems are starting to die but the leaves are growing. I want to know what is hapenning, am I not watering it enough or is it not getting enough sun or what? I feed it liquid orchid food every two weeks and dont water it till the two weeks. Please help! Thanks!!

C Gignac August 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm

For Lori on June 22nd -& anyone else interested. This site has a video that shows you exactly where to cut for the nodes on a Phalaenopsis orchid

Helene August 11, 2010 at 10:30 am

I got my moth orchid over a week ago from a grocery store, and it still has two lovely flowers. However, the bottom leaves are beginning to go yellow and wilt. The upper, larger ones seem to be okay, but I am afraid it might spread to them eventually. The orchid is in a 5 inch pot, near an east-facing window (directly in the path of light in the morning), and I’ve watered it twice since I got it. There is one really nice root sticking out over the edge of the pot, and the rest look greyish. Am I doing anything wrong, or is my plant okay?

julie morden October 12, 2012 at 10:33 am

This is my first moth orchid also.I water mine every 8 days. its still in this pot from the store.I have mine in the south window but the window has lace curtains so the orchids not in direct light. I kill every thing but so far so good with this plant…it has bloomed 3 times for me so I must be doing some thing right…the roots of my orchid are the same as yours.I was told the leaves always have to feel ferm and not floppy soft,I love this pot its in as in side it has like a spike come up in the center of the pot ,and the pot that has the plant in it sits on it so you cant water it to much….I have to look into feeding for this orchid as I dont know any thing about that….Well Helene good luck lovie….hahaha I have to find out why my Moth Orchid has a few new leaves growing under these two blooms on the steam….

B Becker August 22, 2010 at 5:56 pm

My little moth orchid bloomed then all blossoms fell off. Then quite unexpectedly new pods formed again and blossomed revealing a regular blossom and a decidedly male looking blossom. What is going on and do I need to pollinate these two? I’ve had this plant for several years and this is a new development for me. Please answer.

julie morden October 12, 2012 at 10:16 am

HELLO I have a leaf growing in the steam of my Moth Orchid….with two blooms…the plant first set of leaves are in the top of the pot ….what do I do with this other leaves growing 6 inches above the top of the pot…Im so happy I havent killed this plant as I have done with most of all my other plants, a green thumb i dont Helpppp..

admin November 28, 2012 at 10:57 pm

It’s what is call a “kiki”… be patient, allow it to develop roots and then you can pinch it off and grow it out.