Phalaenopsis amabilis (Moth orchid) are long-lived flowering pot plants that add style and beauty to any indoor setting. They are accessible year round with blossoms that keep going for a considerable length of time. The blooms are typically purple, white or a mix of both. The graceful arching flower stems grow from a small clump of wide strappy leaves. It has a short stem. The shiny green leaves are up to 20 inches (50 cm) long and up to 4 inches (10 cm) wide and vary from oblong to elliptic at the base and obtuse, minutely, at the tip or apex. The flower is showy, membranous, white, the lip, (the unpared petals of an orchid) which is three-lobed, and the callus are a variety of yellow and red depending on the individual plant. It bloom from spring to summer with several flowers, up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter and more.
Scientific name: Phalaenopsis amabilis
Common name: Moth orchids
How to grow and maintain Moth orchid:
Provide 50 to 60% shade – most orchid thrive in diffused bright light. Symptoms of too much light can be pale yellow leaves or red pigment appearing in streaks and round the edges of the leaves. Too little light may result in soft dark green foliage and plants that do not flower well.
Moth orchid grow well with normal household temperatures. The temperature range for Phalaenopsis amabilis is 60 F to 85 F. The normal home temperature of 72 F to 78 is fine for Moth orchids. Allowing the temperature to drop below 60 F will endanger the plant. Check the temperature at the window sill during the winter. In the fall, allow the night temperature to drop down to 60 F for three weeks. This temperature drop will induce the flower spike. The flower spike should start to grow about three weeks after the cold treatment.
Moth orchid should be allowed to dry out completely between watering. How often you water will depend on how bright their growing conditions, how humid, and how warm it is, all factors that impact how fast the potting mix will dry. Always use room temperature or barely lukewarm water that will not shock the orchids’ roots, and avoid softened water if at all possible.Make a point of holding the container over a sink or washtub and watering thoroughly so moisture drips right through and is discarded. Lift the pot right after you’ve watered to get a feeling for its weight, then hold off watering again until it feels lighter. Don’t rely on the calendar to tell you when to water.
Utilize an extraordinary orchid manure, for example 30-10-10, mixed half-strength, once a month – more often during growth spurts in spring and summer. Every three months fertilize them with a complete fertilizer containing minor elements along with the major elements, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Almost any ratio of the major elements in this complete fertilizer is acceptable.
Besides failing to bloom when night temperatures are too high, Phalaenopsis and Paphiopedilum orchids will not bloom if light levels are too low or too high. Low light is often accompanied by the presence of dark green foliage. Too much light may result in leaves that are pale yellow-green and bleached looking. Orchids may also fall prey to common houseplant insect pests such as mealy bugs, scale, and spider mites. If your plants have a problem that doesn’t respond to washing or wiping with an alcohol dipped cotton swab, check your local garden center for houseplant pesticides that are labeled for use on orchids. Be sure the plants are not moisture-stressed when you treat them, and keep them out of direct sunlight for two or three days afterwards.