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How to Care for Moth Orchid Plants


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Known botanically as phalaenopsis, moth orchids are exotic-looking, flowering plants native to tropical Asia. Moth orchids earned their odd name due to the shape of their flowers, which resemble a colorful moth with its wings spread. Despite their showy appearance, moth orchids are the easiest orchid cultivar to grow at home. Because moth orchids tend to arrive in nurseries and grocery stores in the spring, they often are given as gifts during Easter. If you recently purchased or were gifted with a moth orchid plant, learning to properly care for the plant will help ensure that you will be able to enjoy it for many years.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

things you’ll need:
  • Planting container
  • Redwood bark chips
  • Perlite
  • Coarse sphagnum peat moss
  • Watering can
  • Spray bottle or cool mist humidifier
  • Orchid or 20-20-20 fertilizer
    1. Plant the potted moth orchid in a container that allows excess water to drain freely from the container. Plant the orchid in a packaged growing medium that has been specially-formulated for orchids or make your own out of equal parts redwood bark chips, perlite and coarse sphagnum peat moss. Plant the moth orchids at the same level they were planted in their nursery container.
    2. Situate the potted moth orchid near an east- or north-facing window where it will receive plenty of bright, indirect sunlight.
    3. Keep the temperature of the room where the moth orchid is kept between 65 and 80 degrees F during the day. Lower the temperature to between 50 and 60 degrees F at night.
    4. Check the moisture of the moth orchid’s growing medium every two to three days. Keep the growing medium moist but well-drained, and allow the surface of the growing medium to dry slightly between watering.
    5. Maintain 50- to 80-percent relative humidity around the orchid. Increase the humidity by misting the plant daily with water from a spray bottle or move a cool mist humidifier into the room.
    6. Fertilize the potted moth orchid every two weeks during its growing season with a half-strength solution of a specially-formulated orchid fertilizer or a 20-20-20 fertilizer blend. Use the fertilizer according to package directions.
    7. Repot the moth orchid every two to three years to ensure that the root system stays healthy. Wait until the summer, after the plant has stopped blooming, to repot. Trim any rotted roots off of the orchid’s root system and repot in fresh growing medium.

Tips & Warnings

  • Deadhead moth orchids by pinching off spent blossoms, as necessary, to encourage it to produce more blooms.

  • Do not allow the moth orchid to become waterlogged or its roots will rot. Always make sure that your growing medium and container allow excess water to drain away from the orchid.

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