Phalaenopsis are also known as “moth orchids.” (1) Their exotic petals feature bright jewel-like colors and are easy to grow for a beginner. In most of the USA, these plants must normally be grown indoors since they cannot tolerate the sun, rain, and other climatic changes that are common here.
Their flowers spring from leaf joints called axils. Once they bloom, the flowers remain full and bright for a month or more. The spikes of these leaves will often produce up to 20 flowers.
To grow them properly indoors, you should try to mimic the conditions in the tropical climate where they originate. Direct sunlight will scorch them. Artificial lighting with fluorescent tubes (40-70 watts) is ideal, and the flowers should be positioned one foot under the lights.
The Phalaenopsis needs warmth, and it grows best at temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, although some have grown well at home temperatures as low as 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The amount of humidity these plants need is proportionate to the temperature at which they are grown. The high temperature and humidity will cause a need for consistent airflow in the plant’s area – to prevent the development of rot or fungus. Many who grow these flowers use a ceiling fan or desk fan.
These flowers should be grown once a week, but it is important to observe their roots. When the roots turn white, the plants need to be watered. To water it, you will pour warm water over the entire plant. Do this three or four times, for ten minutes, and allow the plant to absorb the water. The flowers will need diluted orchid fertilizer every three to four weeks.
As noted above, it is not ideal to try growing these outdoors in most parts of the USA. However, once nighttime outdoor temperatures are consistently above 55 degrees, they can be placed in a part of the garden that receives limited direct sunlight. To transfer them, you will need to place a special soil called “orchid mix” in their transfer pots. (2)
(1) “How to Grow and Care for Phalaenopsis Orchids Indoors,” posted on thespruce.com
(2) “Phalaenopsis Orchids – Tips for Growing These Gorgeous Plants,” posted on nola.com