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2008 Vivi's Orchid Corner

'Ph-antastic' Phalaenopsis - January 2008, Vol. 13, Issue 1

Phal. Everspring 'King'
Dear Orchid Friends:

Phalaenopsis orchids - those lovely , long lasting inflorescences stimulate the senses. Phalaenopsis capture the fancy of many; and rightly so! Phalaenopsis are sure winners: easy to grow, long lasting flowers and adapt well to most environments.

Light: Phals tolerate a variety of light environments but do best with low to intermediate light. Phalaenopsis are sensitive to intense direct sunlight so carefully place your orchids in a location that optimizes best light. These orchids DO need some light to prompt bud growth and tolerate long periods of high indirect light. Insufficient light contributes to weak plants. Light green leaves may indicate insufficient light levels. Ensure your phalaenopsis have adequate light while the inflorescence is forming to ensure upright strong growth of the flower spike and healthy flowers.

Temperatures & Humidity: Because of their adaptability, Phalaenopsis orchids can grow in varying climates. Optimal temperatures are 60-80°F. Phalaenopsis like slightly cooler nights and this does help to promote healthy buds. These orchids acclimate to their climate.

Phalaenopsis thriving in South Florida are accustomed to warmer temperatures and do quite well. Of course, keep them from the mid day sun. Phals love humidity. Here in South Florida, humidity is a given. In other areas of the country providing humidity is an important factor in growing phals. Place rocks or gravel in a small tray and fill with water, place your Phalaenopsis orchid pot on the wet gravel. Evaporating water produces humidity.

Potting: Although Phalaenopsis like to be evenly moist, they are susceptible to root rot from overwatering. Choose a medium that is suitable to your climate and provides good drainage. If you live in a dry, heated environment, a more dense bark medium may be an appropriate choice. I have had good results with a mixture of bark, perlite and sphagnum moss. Choosing the right mix is a trial and error experience. Be creative and see what works best for you.

Watering: Watering is an important factor to the health of your plant. How easy it is to underwater or overwater. Phals like a more consistent moistness, however, I do let them dry out between waterings. Watering schedules are based on the time of year, temperatures and area of the country. Phalaenopsis do require more water than orchids such as cattleyas and dendrobiums.

Many experts advise not to water at night since Phals are prone to crown rot. Generally, this is a good rule of thumb to follow. Yet, knowing that it rains at night in the rain forests, I do occasionally water my plants in the evening. The primary point is to water appropriately for the medium in which they are planted and take care not to overwater.

Air Movement: Since Phalaenopsis are susceptible to root & crown rot, good air movement is a must. Cross ventilation promotes healthy plants and roots.

Phalaenopsis are beautiful, mystifying and makes a perfect orchid for displays. The myriad of colors, patterns and shapes will delight. Enjoy them! Give a Phal to a friend, loved one. If they are not orchid hobbyists, a Phalaenopsis may be just the ticket to get that special someone started.

To a Healthy New Year!

Until next time,


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