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Phaleonopsis beautiful but picky

Phaleonopsis orchid flowers have awe-inspiring and long-lasting flowers that really make them an ideal gift. Look for a plant where not all the buds are open. This means you would have the maximum amount of time to enjoy the blooms. With a little affection, phaleonopsis (moth) orchid blooms can last 6-8 weeks and become a reblooming houseplant.

Water: These orchids are called epiphytic plants, which means they have aerial roots that absorb water from the environment. Sometimes this causes the roots to be susceptible to under- or overwatering. Most people tend to overwater, and that will kill the roots, and ultimately the plant. It would be better for the plant to get a little too dry than to overwater.

I like to water my phaleonopsis in the sink, completely saturating before I place it back in its spot. I cluster plants together and place on saucers with rocks and water and spritz the leaves with a water bottle to increase the humidity but leave the ceiling fan on for good air circulation. Roots should never sit in water but above.

Fertilizer: While growing these phaleonopsis in the greenhouse, we grew benches of phaleonopsis and fertilized with quarter-strength regularly and the flowers were constant with at least two-three flowering stalks per 4-inch pot. At each watering, it is a good practice is to use a diluted solution of balanced fertilizer.

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Light: After flowering, place in a sunny window and then grow outside under shade along with your other houseplants. Light from east, west, and south windows is best but the intense sun will burn the leaves. Generally, 12 to 36 inches from a south window is best.

Temps, reblooming: When trying to get the plant to reflower, pay attention to light, water and fertilizer. Consistently providing enough of all, along with cool nights, may promote re-blooming. Some sources say the key is having a 10- to a 15-degree difference between day and night temperatures; some say it is a night temperature between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Moth orchids need good light and temperatures around 55 to 65 degree at nights and 70 to 80 during the days for 6-8 weeks before a flowering stalk will appear. This orchid, by the south window in my "jungle," experiences lower night temperatures because of its placement near the window but grows under a fluorescent light during the day.