CARING FOR PHALAENOPSIS ORCHIDS
For beginners or even orchid enthusiasts who have been growing orchids for years, it is essential to provide attentive care towards the exotic orchid plants to guarantee healthy growth and development. To ensure that the orchid plant blossoms beautifully, it is fundamental to consider several aspects which include of the sunlight, watering, humidity, ventilation, potting materials and fertilisers.
- Direct sunlight may put the orchids at risk for sunburn, whereas insufficient sunlight may stop the plants from growing.
- The sunlight intensity should be approximately 70% under netting condition or under a shaded area given that the orchid is able to receive sunlight throughout the day.
- The colour of the leaves can reflect the amount of sunlight that the plant is receiving :
- Bright green and harder leaves indicate a healthy level of sunlight.
- Yellowish-green or red leaves indicate that the plant has too much sunlight exposure.
- Darkened and soft leaves indicate that orchid is not receiving enough sunlight.
- Orchids should not be watered under the sunlight as the water inside the leaves may heat up and harm the plant.
- The plant should be watered early in the morning and exposed to rain water as this can prevent the risk of fungal infections
- During the blooming cycle, the flowers should be kept dry at all times.
- The frequency of watering depends on the condition of the weather, pot and medium used.
- Soft and yellowish leaves indicate excess water; while dried-up and yellowish leaves indicate inadequate amount of water.
Humidity & Ventilation
- Orchids thrive best in high humidity environment.
- A growing environment with good air ventilation can prevent the growth of fungal infections.
- If the orchid is growing in a dry environment, dampening the surrounding of the growing space can improve the humidity.
Potting Material & Fertilisers
- The potting material must provide substantial air space and effective drainage that retains moisture when the plants are watered.
- The sphaghum moss is the perfect medium to grow Phalaenopsis as it can retain water and fertiliser for longer periods.
- Excess water should be removed by squeezing out the moisture from the Sphaghum moss.
- Water should not be trapped in the pot as it can cause the roots to rot.
- Two types of fertilisers which can be applied to all orchids are
- Slow release organic pallets;
- Liquid soluble based (Applied on the leaves and to the roots)
- It is more effective to apply diluted liquid fertilisers several times on a weekly basis.
- Fertilising is preferably done during daytime and after watering the plants.
RESTING AND REBLOOMING ORCHIDS
Generally, Phalaenopsis orchid has the longest-lasting blooms that last up to 2-3 months. It will then enter resting period to rejuvenate energy for another round of beautiful blooms. In orchid’s resting period, it will be left with only bare stalks and green leaves until it re-blooms and spikes again in approximately of 6 months. To give your orchids a second life, small investment in time and effort are required to ensure that your orchids bloom beautifully again.
- Give the plant a fresh start by trimming off the unhealthy leaves and roots with a sanitary razor blade, clippers or sharp scissors.
- Signs of unhealthy leaves and roots: Yellow, brown, dull or limp.
- Trim approximately 1/2 inch of the entire flower stalk from the base of the plant to allow the plant to rejuvenate and develop stronger stems.
- Remove the old media before repotting.
- If the root condition is good, repotting into a larger pot will facilitate orchid’s growth.
- If the root condition is unhealthy, repotting it into a smaller pot to enable it to reestablish its roots.
- Add in new and fresh media by gently pressing it into the pot.
- Media like sphagnum moss is more preferable as the air space would not suffocate the roots.
Watering and Fertilising
- Start watering the plants when the medium turns dry.
- Frequency of watering varies depending on the placement condition.
- Water when the media dries out under hot weather
- Do not water too frequent during raining season
- Recommended frequency of watering:
- Every 10-14 day for medium and large Phalaenopsis orchids.
- Every 7-10 day for mini Phalaenopsis should be watered
- Do not water during the weeks of using fertiliser.
- Only fertilise orchids when the flowers have fallen off
- Fertilise it with 20-20-20 fertiliser that is diluted to half strength, once a month.
Light and Temperature
- Place orchids under shades.
- Orchid will get sunburnt under direct, and hot sunlight.
- Provide cool nights for orchids to trigger flowering.
- A temperature gap of 8-10 °C from the temperature in daytime may trigger the re-blooming of orchids.
- Orchids normally re-bloom and spike again approximately in 6 months.
- A new stalk will emerge from the nodes along the stalk and orchids will bloom again on the old spikes.
- Place the pant under bright and indirect sunlight. Allow the spike to grow taller for a few more months and patiently wait for new flowers to blossom.
- Once the stalk starts growing, support it with a stake and loosely tie it in place.
- After a few months, if a new flower stalk does not grow, move the plant to a different area with sufficient sunlight and suitable temperatures.