Phalaenopsis is a large genus of epiphytic plants, that is they grow on other plants but aren’t parasitic. The moth orchid produces superb flower spikes which are extremely long lasting. If the plant is strong it may produce several flower spikes a year and some might even flower continuously. The species can be found ranging from India to New Guinea on the upper branches of trees in forests where there is heat and humidity. Most of those currently in cultivation can be found in the Phillipines and its neighbouring islands.
Growing indoors is easy. Orchid compost, which is essentially bark, can easily be bought at most garden centres. Heat and humidity are essential to the plants health but direct sunlight, especially in summer will scorch the foliage so a bright windowsill where light is filtered or shaded greenhouse are best. Because Phalaenopsis are essentially hot-house orchids, the plant shouldn’t be allowed to dry out especially during the summer when the roots are actively growing. Fresh air and ventilation are important but avoid draughty spots.
Where the potting compost has deteriorated, rather than disturb the actively growing plant, it can topped up as necessary.
Moth orchids should only be re-potted when absolutely necessary, when it is clear the root system has outgrown its pot. When re-potting, the older roots should be pruned back. Rockwool or a proprietary orchid compost (bark based) are the usual potting media. Drainage should be sharp so adding a few crocks to the pot when potting on is a good idea.
During the flowering period, August onwards (length dependent on growing conditions) I water mine once a week, more if necessary.
I’m not a lazy gardener, but I’d have to recommend this orchid as being one of the least troublesome plants I’ve ever had the pleasure of growing.