Most Phalaenopsis or moth orchids are commercially grown and produced in sophisticated greenhouse conditions, where every aspect of the growing environment is controlled. Light, temperature, humidity, water and plant nutrition are all kept at optimum levels during the various growth phases. This is a far cry from the living room in your home where so many of these plants end up and are expected to re-bloom in what amounts to unsatisfactory growing conditions. Here are a few hints and tips to assist with getting more out of your orchids.
- In warm or sub-tropical climates, they grow best in shade outdoors.
- In colder areas keep them indoors. The bathroom is a good environment due to heat and humidity. Sufficient diffused light is important.
- Indoors, the plants are best kept standing on a tray of pebbles, gravel or glass beads that are covered in water. The plant pot must not touch the water, this merely evaporates increasing the humidity level close to the plant.
- Regular feeding with the appropriate orchid fertiliser is important. Make sure that it applied as per instruction. The formulation varies for growing and flowering periods.
- Reduce watering in winter and increase in summer.
- Never let the plants stand in water, as this causes the roots to rot.
- Check for pests and diseases regularly.
- Re-pot into slightly bigger pots every 1 to 2 years using the correct orchid bark mix.
- Cut off spent flower spikes. There is a theory that they should be left on the plants to produce a further flush of blooms but this is ill advised.