Phalaenopsis Culture

Phalaenopsis, commonly known as the moth orchid, and its close cousin the Doritis, a related genus, can be grown in the home as well as the greenhouse. Doritaenopsis is a hybrid of the two genera, Phalaenopsis and Doritis. These two genera and their hybrids are excellent for growing in the home where you can enjoy the flowers almost all year around.

TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY: Phalaenopsis are warm growing with humidity in the range of 50% to 60% . They do best when the temperature is about 65 F. and tolerate 90 F. and higher if the humidity is adequate. Maintaining the proper humidity in the home can be accomplished easily with a tray about 1" or 2" deep filled with gravel and about 1/2 full of water. Remember, the plant must be able to drain freely and not stand in the water.

WATERING: Watering the Phalaenopsis is more critical than those plants with pseudobulbs. Therefore greater care is taken in watering "Phals". Water only in the morning so the crown of the plant can dry out thereby avoiding crown rot. Do not allow the plant to completely dry out. It should be moist or damp at all times. Water about once every three or four days during the summer months when it is dry. At other times about once a week.

FERTILIZING: During the growing season use a high nitrogen fertilizer (30-10-10) at half the manufacturers recommendation every time you water then at mid year change to a high phosphoric acid fertilizer (say 10-30-20 or 10-20-10).

LIGHT: Phalaenopsis require less light than many other orchids. In a greenhouse about 70% to 85% shade or 1000 to 1500 foot candles. If you are growing your "Phals" in the house the east window is a good spot, or the south and west side if adequately shaded. Sometimes a curtain is adequate protection from the sun burning the leaves.

POTTING MEDIUM: If you have a seedling or very small plant fine bark (1/8 to 1/4") is an excellent medium. For larger plants use course bark (1/2 to 3/4") or other media that drains well.

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