The Moth Orchid
An American Orchid Society demographic survey
showed that phalaenopsis have become America's
favorite orchid. And no wonder. Perhaps no other
orchid is better suited to home orchid growing.
Plants with long-lasting sprays of lovely moth like
blooms in a broad array of colors are inexpensive
and widely available, ready to give weeks of
pleasure in your home or office. Simply provide
modest light and consistent moisture, and they will
delight you with their relative ease of culture.
The main flowering season is late winter into
spring, though commercial growers today can make
flowering phalaenopsis available year round.
LIGHT: Sufficient light is important for healthy
growth and flower production.
PROVIDE Bright light, no direct sun. In the
home, an east, west or shaded south window. In a
greenhouse, about 30 percent full sun. Under
lights, four 40 watt fluorescent tubes and two 40
watt incandescent bulbs directly over plants.
Foliage should be naturally semierect, and of a
medium olive-green color. Dark green, limp foliage
indicates too little light.
TEMPERATURE: Mature plants need a 15 to 20 F
difference between night and day.
PROVIDE Nights or 60 to 65 F; days of 75 to 85 E
Seedlings need temperatures five to 10 degrees
higher than mature plants.
WATER Mature plants should seldom dry out
'between waterings. Seedlings need more constant
attention to moisture.
HUMIDITY Phalaenopsis need 60 to 70 percent
humidity. In the home, place on trays of moistened
pebbles. In greenhouse, use a humidifier if
conditions are too dry.
FERTILIZER Must be provided on a regular basis
because most Potting media have little.
PROVIDE The exact fertilizer you use will depend
on the mix in which your plant is growing. A good
general rule is to use a balanced(10-10-10,
12-12-12 or similar ratio) fertilizer "weakly,
weekly." That is, fertilize every week at one
quarter to one half of the recommended dilution
POTTING Should be done every one to two years
before the mix breaks down too far. Best done in
late spring after main flowering season, using a
well-drained but water-retentive mix. Select pot
size for root mass, not top size.
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