How to successfully grow a Phalaenopsis Orchid

Happy Mothers Day

If you, or someone you love was lucky enough to receive a Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis) as a gift for Mothers day, then Now is the time to repot that orchid!

These tips will help ensure that you maximise its chance of living and reflowering for you!

Tips for growing a Phalaenopsis Orchid
Phalaenopsis or Moth orchid

Moth orchids, correct name Phalaenopsis Orchid (try saying that when you’ve had a few drinks) are a beautiful orchid that has gained an unfair reputation for being difficult to grow.

But if you follow my tips you should be successful!

When you are given a Moth Orchid they will invariably be potted up in sphagnum moss.

The growers wrap them tightly in sphagnum moss to minimise plant shock during transportation to the store.

And because they want to ensure the plant is well watered while they are in store before purchase.

Tips for growing a Phalaenopsis Orchid
Cutting away inside cage from roots

They do not mean them to live in this sphagnum moss permanently!

This sphagnum moss will kill them unless you re-pot them into another type of orchid mix.

The moss holds too much water around the roots and leads to the plant being drowned and the roots rotting.

How To Repot Your Phalaenopsis Orchid

Phalaenopsis orchids are one of the only orchids you can safely re-pot while it is in flower.

The first thing to do is remove them from the pot and remove all sphagnum moss from around their roots (see photo).

With this particular Phalaenopsis, I found the roots tightly crammed into an even smaller pot when I removed the outer wrapping of sphagnum moss. You may find a similar problem.

This plastic cage has to be cut away carefully with minimal if any damage to the root system.

Tips for growing a Phalaenopsis Orchid
Roots completely clean of sphagnum moss

Luckily it was easy to cut with normal kitchen scissors.

You then need to find a suitable-sized plastic pot, generally smaller than the outer one they came in, or at best the same size, as all orchids like to be pot-bound.

Tips for growing a Phalaenopsis Orchid
Plastic pot for orchid

I tend to use clear plastic pots as they have better drainage and are lighter weight.

And, as the orchids breathe and photosynthesise through their roots, it helps the plant to breathe and therefore stay healthy.

Also you can them place these inside whatever decorative pot you want to use. Just make sure that the outer pot has enough drainage.

The orchid can still drown, even if it is potted up in orchid bark, if there is not enough drainage and the roots sit for too long in water.

Place orchid plant roots in the pot then fill all around with a fairly coarse bark orchid potting mix and water well.

Tips for growing a Phalaenopsis Orchid
Repotted orchid

The orchids need bright diffuse light, but no direct sunlight and will grow and flower well on a brightly lit windowsill.

The Moth Orchid pictured is in almost constant flower and receives very little care.

Tips for growing a Phalaenopsis Orchid
Phalaenopsis flower stalk
One final tip. Don’t cut off the old flower stalk when the flowers are finished.
Phalaenopsis often re-shoot new flower stalks off existing stalks.
Only cut and remove when the stalk is clearly dry and no longer green.
Happy Gardening
Rohanne, your Personal Garden Expert