How to care for a moth orchid (Phalaenopsis)

How to care for a moth orchid (Phalaenopsis)

Discover four tips for caring for your moth orchid to keep it looking good.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is at its best in January

Plant is at its best in February

Plant is at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is not at its best in June

Plant is not at its best in July

Plant is not at its best in August

Plant is not at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

To do
To do

Do To do in January

Do To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do To do in June

Do To do in July

Do To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do To do in December

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.

These beautiful plants will brighten your day, especially when they flower in winter.
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You Will Need

  • Moth orchid
  • Secateurs
  • Clear pot
  • Bark mixture or specialist orchid compost
  • Water
  • Specialist orchid feed

Step 1

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.

Cutting back to a new bud
Cutting back to a new bud

Step 2

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.

Repotting into a clear container
Repotting into a clear container

Step 3

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.

Watering a moth orchid
Watering a moth orchid

Step 4

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.

Feeding a moth orchid
Feeding a moth orchid
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