One of the easiest orchids to grow at home, a phalaenopsis brings several months of beautiful blooms year-round.
The quest for re-blooming.
Often tossed out after the first set of flowers are finished, the phalaenopsis orchid is greatly mis-understood. There are a few easy steps to ensure your phalaenopsis re-blooms quickly, with blossoms as beautiful as when you purchased it.
Phalaenopsis orchids grow multiple blooms on the same spike. When the blooms have expired, if the spike turns yellow, allow it to fully dry and cut it just below the dried portion. New growth will come out of each of the small nodes that are raised triangular flaps located along the spike. A healthy phalaenopsis will grow new spikes from each growth node. If the entire spike dries out and dies, typically the case in younger phalaenopsis, remove this stem and your orchid will grow a new one.
Exposure to light.
Phalaenopsis plants require a low amount of sunlight, and prefer an eastward orientation. Simply place your orchid in an east facing window, and watch it prepare a new branch of buds in a short time. South and west facing windows can work if needed, as long as a sheer curtain is available to protect the phalaenopsis from direct light.
To determine if the light level suits your phalaenopsis, you can review it’s leaf colour. A happy phalaenopsis has olive green leaves, where as a darker leaf is an indication of inadequate light, and red tinged leaves indicate too much light.
Once your orchid buds are ready to open, you can re-locate your phalaenopsis to a feature location in your home, away from direct sunlight. Increasing the amount of light will help your orchid re-bloom, so we typically relocate our phalaenopsis to a bright, east-facing space until the bud branch has re-grown and is ready to open.
Phalaenopsis are easy to grow indoors, at consistent, typical room temperatures (15-20 degrees C). They struggle in hot temperatures, and often drop flowers and buds if temperatures fluctuate.
Depending on the growing medium your phalaenopsis comes in, watering can be a bit tricky. All growing mediums should be allowed to become dry to the touch before watering. To add water, place the phalaenopsis in your sink and run 30-45 seconds of room temperature water through the roots and growing medium, allowing it to fully drain before returning it to its window location.
Creating baby orchids from your mature orchid.
Once you have a larger Phalaenopsis with several large leaves at its base, you can propagate baby plants. In order to encourage your orchid to grow a new plant, instead of a flowering spike, Keiki growing paste is needed.
Simply remove one of the growth nodes of the main spike, and apply keiki paste to this area. A new orchid plant, including air roots will slowly grow out of this location. Once the baby phalaenopsis has a few leaves and roots of its own, it can be carefully detached from the host plant, and will grow identical flower spikes to its mother.
Cycling Phalaenopsis plant locations.
One thing we know for sure is that patience in allowing your phalaenopsis to re-bloom or propagate is essential. We typically have two sets of phalaenopsis; one placed in a location we can enjoy active blooms, and the order in a sun-soaked eastern facing space.
Once one phalaenopsis has finished its bloom cycle, and needs a rest, we replace it with its freshly blooming partner, and relocate it to the sun-soaked eastern rejuvenation space. This strategy allows us to continually have bloom phalaenopsis on display while permitting expired bloomers the rest they require to re-bloom.
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