Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid)

Moth orchid
The general rule for care and maintenance are as follows:

  • The ideal temperature is a minimum of 18°C.
  • Avoid direct sunlight. Place facing towards West or East.
  • Water once a week. Before watering, check the moisture of the potting medium with your finger. If it is still wet, watering is not required. Do no spray the foliage.
  • Feed with orchid feed or half strength pot plant feed every third watering, reducing in Spring and Autumn, and stop feeding in Winter.

Propagation or repotting:

  • There is no rush for re-potting. Moth orchids are monopodial orchids, i.e. their growth is upwards with one apical meristem. Re-pot when new growth has reached the rim of the pot.
  • Side shoots can develop at the base of the stem, which can be left to grow.
  • Shoots can also be produced on flower stalk when all the flowers have dropped. This shoot is known as keiki. Keiki can be removed and grown in a separate pot as a new seedling.
  • After repotting, cover the seedlings with a clear plastic bag to retain moisture and do not feed for at least a month. Repot using orchid compost, a mixture of bark, Sphagnum moss and Perlite.


  • To avoid over watering, place pot on tray filled with pebbles instead of drip tray. This will also create a suitable microclimate.
  • In centrally heated rooms, leaves can be wiped with a wet sponge using tepid water. This is only necessary if the leaves and root surface appeared to be dry or shrivelled.
  • After it has finished flowering, cut the flower stalk just below the bottom flower and, this will allow it to flower again on the same stalk.
  • Placing Moth Orchids outside is not recommended as the night temperature can be too low, even during summer.
  • Grow your Moth Orchid next to an African violet. When there is too much light, the leaves of the African violet will turn reddish brown. Move your Moth Orchid immediately into a more shaded area.
  • When grown in a glasshouse, Moth Orchids can also be planted in a hanging pot or a piece of wood. For this, place some Sphagnum moss on a piece of wood (preferably drift-wood) and tie (not too tight) the orchid on the wood until the roots are fully developed and attached to the wood. Hang at a 45° angle facing West or East.
  • One problem with Phalaenopsis is Bud Drop, which is caused by low temperatures and lack of light. Cut back the flower stalk below the bottom flower to encourage a new flower stalk and rectify the conditions.