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The Phal Orchid: Information on Phalaenopsis Orchids and How to Care for Them

 

As one of the most popular orchids in trade, Phalaenopsis orchids, also known as Phal, are commonly known as moth orchids due to the flower’s moth-like appearance. They are among the easiest and most beautiful orchids you can grow. The colors of this plant range from white, pink and lavender to yellow, blue and even mixes of spots and stripes. Native throughout Southeast Asia, most species of the phal orchid are epiphytic in nature, with a few being lithophytes. These flowers grow wild beneath the moist and humid canopies of the forests, enjoying a combination of sun and shade.

Watering Requirements

Phalaenopsis orchids are monopodial plants, meaning they have a single stem growth, with new growth appearing at the top of the plant. They do not have pseudobulbs for water storage, so only their leaves and stems are used to store water. To thrive, the phal orchid should be kept damp year round, but not wet. Watering frequency depends on the container, the potting mixture, the temperature and the circulating air, but generally, these orchids need to be watered at least once every four to seven days.

Light Requirements

Since they are used to the shade, phalaenopsis orchids are low light orchids. For natural sun exposure, place them in an eastern-facing window. Add a sheer curtain for a bit of a shade. If you want to use artificial lights, 1000 to 1500 foot-candles is the preferred level of light intensity.

Ideal Temperatures

Ideally, these orchids should be kept in temperatures from 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. To induce flowering, the phal orchid must be exposed to a couple of cool nights, with temperatures down to 55 degrees. This temperature contrast is essential for the plant to bloom well. Blooming is typically during late winter or early spring, and lasts from two up to six months.

Adding Fertilizer

Fertilization is done weekly during the growing season to ensure the phal orchid has adequate nutrients to grow. It is recommended to use a weak orchid fertilizer, one that’s non-urea based to provide available nitrogen. During the winter and flowering season, you can cut back on fertilizing to only about once a month.

Repotting Frequency

Due to frequent watering, repotting must be done once a year so your plants can enjoy fresh potting media. The best time to do this is during spring or fall, as the temperature is mild. You can use orchid bark mix or New Zealand sphagnum moss for your phal orchid.

 

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