Growing Phalaenopsis Orchids

 

LIGHT & HEAT

The first requirement is a warm room with a lot of light with windows facing northeast to northwest. The room gets natural light from 8 o'clock in the morning until 4 o'clock in the evening. On calm days the window near by is open. The sun only reaches the leaves in the wintertime, when it is not so intense. During the summer the sun is high enough in the sky not to stream in the windows during the heat of the day and damage the leaves. Phalaenopsis have very thick lushes green leaves, which can heat up very quickly and suffer heat damage. The leaf first turns white and then turns black. Not a pretty sight but it does not kill your plant!  

WATERING, BARK MIX & FERTILISER

Watering will depend on the bark mix you have the plants in. For full-grown plants use the largest bark. The plants sit in a deep tray with pebbles. When the pebbles have dried out it is time to water again. This is generally once a week. The plant gets taken to the sink and watered thoroughly, leaves as well, under the tap with tepid water. 

Feed with any liquid fertiliser. A capful in a two-litre bottle of preferably warm water. This gets splashed over the bark and the bottom of the leaves. Be careful to tip out any water that remains in the leaf base as this could develop rot. The leaves do like to have water. 

There will be quite a bit of water left in the trays after this procedure. This water is required to create humidity. The more plants the better the humidity. The leaves should look dark green and lush.

FLOWERING.

Spikes can appear at any time of the year. Most will flower around March to October.  It takes about three months for the spike to grow and develop into flowers. Cut the spike off completely after its first main flowering, which lasts about three months. However, you can leave the spike on and it will still continue flowering but the stem gets very ungainly looking and the flowers get smaller. You can also cut off the spike leaving two nodes on the stem. Generally, if the plant is healthy it will shoot another spike from this stem. (This is for those afraid it will not flower again). The plant requiring a rest period to build up strength for the next flowering season. This will generally get a better spike of flowers each year.

The most common cause of few or no flowers is lack of light, and in some cases, lack of nighttime temperature drop in Autumn. Warning! Be careful not to have fruit or tomatoes near flowering plants as they emit a chemical, which can cause bud drop. Another cause of bud drop is lack of humidity.  

ROOTS

The roots should look thick and fleshy. During the winter they don't grow a lot but as the daytime temperatures increase and the room gets hotter you will see the green tips growing. They like fresh air but generally don't like cold draughts. Some of the roots are aerial and some like and need to be in the bark to anchor the plant.

REPOTTING

Repot if the plant looks like it has a problem or it is growing out of the pot. The best time to repot is in summer.  


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