Moth orchids, or Phalaenopsis, are tropical epiphytic plants that are native to forests throughout south-east Asia, where they thrive in warm, moist conditions. These beautiful plants will brighten your day, especially when they flower in winter.
Watch Alan Titchmarsh care for a phalaenopsis in our video guide to looking after orchids.
Phalenopsis are easy to care for – just take your lead from their natural environment by providing moisture in the air (for example by misting them, or keeping them in a humid room such as a kitchen or bathroom). Provide a temperature of 15-24°C, plus good air circulation. They prefer an east or west-facing window and protection from midday sun.
Repot every couple of years, keeping the plant at its existing level in the new pot, and support the flower stems with a cane.
Here are four simple steps to caring for a phalaenopsis.
You Will Need
- Moth orchid
- Clear pot
- Bark mixture or specialist orchid compost
- Specialist orchid feed
Cut just above a healthy joint on the flowering stem to encourage more blooms from a spike that has finished flowering. Reduce the temperature by 5°C for a few weeks to shock barren orchids into flower.
Repot into a clear container – the roots benefit from light. Use a bark mixture or specialist orchid compost. Roots that are growing into the air don’t need burying.
Water about once a week in summer and slightly less in winter. Use tepid water from a boiled kettle and soak from the bottom. Don’t let them stand in water, but never let them dry out completely.
Feed every other week in the growing season and less in winter. Use a specialist orchid feed sprayed on the underside of the leaves and roots. This will help keep your plant in great condition.