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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 light and consistent moisture, and they
will delight you with their relative ease of culture.
Because of their rapid growth and early flowering Phalaenopsis species are
among the most frequently cultivated orchids. As well as having long-lasting
flowers, Phalaenopsis plants have the tendency to reflower from old nodes
along a previously flowered inflorescence. This tendency extends the characteristic
spring flowering season. A favorite group for orchid breeders, modern Phalaenopsis
hybrids come in a wide range of size, shape, color, and pattern.
Adapted to low light levels in nature, in cultivation they should be grown
in medium light levels to increase flower production and disease resistance.
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. Foliage should be
naturally of a medium olive green color. Dark green, limp foliage indicates
too little light.
Mature plants need a 15 to 20 F difference between night and day. Nights
of 60º to 65º F, days of 75º to 85º F. Seedlings need
temperatures 5 to 10 degrees higher than mature plants.
Phalaenopsis species are monopodial and lack pseudobulbs or similar storage
organs. For this reason they should be kept always lightly moist and do
best in a compost that retains some moisture between watering.
Mature plants should seldom dry out between waterings. Seedlings need more
constant attention to moisture.
Humidity and Air circulation
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. Abundant air circulation also reduces disease problems.
Must be provided on a regular basis. 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
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.
What potting media are used at Kew (The Royal
|Phalaenopsis amabilis is the most wide ranging species
and is native from Java to Papua New Guinea, North to the Philippines. and
south to Queensland, Australia- Smaller-flowered plants from the eastern portion
of the range are sometimes distinguished as P. rosenstromii The largest flowered
species in the genus, Phalaenopsis amabilis is the parent of most modem hybrids.
Branched sprays of large, stark white flowers are offset by variable yellow
and red lip markings.
Tolerant of higher light levels than most species, Phalaenopsis amabilis
should be grown under medium bright light levels. Most strains of the species
have a degree of red leaf pigment, and a slight reddish cast to the leaves
indicates that the plants are receiving proper light level.
for more pictures of other species >>