Caring for phalaenopsis orchids isn’t rocket science, although they aren’t your standard-issue house plants either, and cannot be treated as such. Fear not, my ladies, because the fact that they do not grow in regular soil doesn’t make them impossible to handle. Take a look at these few basic Phal orchid care tips, dare to enjoy them up close, and remember – what may sound too troublesome in theory is actually super easy in practice and even more so once you get to know your plant.
1. Water Accordingly
The first and the most important step in caring for phalaenopsis orchids is determining how often it needs to be watered. Once a week is what most flower shops advise but, trust me, that’s hardly a rule to should stick to, as this plant’s water requirements vary greatly depending on the season, potting medium and the climate in which they are being kept. Inspect the roots before you decide to water your Phal – a deep shade of green indicates that the roots are still fairly moist although you can insert a wooden skewer into the pot as well and base your decision on how wet (or dry) it comes out.
2. Direct Sunlight Should Be Avoided
Phals need a lot of light and will reward you with a lot of beautiful blooms making all of those challenges to find an ideal spot for your plant totally worth it. A lot of light, unfortunately, doesn’t mean direct sunlight as this will make them burn. Check the leaves – their color will tell you everything you need to know. A healthy, happy plant will have nice, firm, medium green leaves – dark green leaves mean that your Phal needs more light, while soft yellow ones or crispy black burns around the edges indicate too much exposure.
3. Water Carefully
Watering Phalaenopsis orchids should prove to be a piece of cake if you remember one simple rule – keep the water away from the crown (the top part of the plant from which new leaves grow). Tilt it slightly if you’re watering it directly from the tap or, for even better results, place the pot into an empty dish then slowly add water until you’ve immersed the most of the pot. Let your orchid sit in there for about 15-20 minutes then let it drain well before returning it into a decorative outer pot.
4. Keep an Eye out for Rot
Orchids are super prone to root rot, not to mention any other type of rot as well! So much, in fact, that I strongly believe even the most experienced orchid owners have to deal with this issue from time to time. The best way to prevent this issue from escalating is to trim off the rotten bits as soon as possible and treat the cut with a mild fungicide (or cinnamon). Repot a new orchid as soon as the blooming cycle ends and thus avoid the risk of root rot due to contaminated potting medium. Also remember to wipe its leaves dry after each watering, raise the pot slightly so it wouldn’t sit in a puddle of water (they really hate this) and do your best not to drown it, of course.
5. Light Breeze is a Welcome Addition
This next Phal orchid care tip might be just what it takes for your beautiful orchid to look even better! You see, as sensitive as it may be to sudden temperature drops, Phal orchid isn’t particularly fond of stagnant air either. It may even cause it to rot and die which is certainly not something any of us orchid lovers are going for, right? Moving a fan a bit closer or taking better care to let a bit of refreshing breeze into your home more often can help a great deal, making your orchid happier, healthier and oh so willing to return the favor by blooming beautifully for you.
6. Keep Your Hands off
Most experienced orchid growers agree that touching your plant won’t hurt it and, while I can’t help but agree that proper handling does not, in fact, cause harm, I do have to note how these delicate flowers and buds are not meant to be touched a lot. My Harlequin Phal has discarded every single bud I’ve made a mistake to touch and I’m sure I’m not the only one who had a misfortune to have that happen. Keep your hands off just to be on the safe side. Getting touchy with your plant will certainly make its beautiful blooms last shorter.
7. Trim when Needed
Blooms require quite a bit of energy leaving very little of it to be used for other important jobs such as growing new leaves and roots. Trim the flower stems once your orchid has finished blooming and let it spend the next couple of months restoring its strength and preparing to bloom for you again. Trimming the flower stems is also a good way to nurse a damaged plant back to health in which case you may want to prepare yourself for loosing this year’s blooms for the sake of your plant growing bigger, healthier roots.
Are there any other good to know Phal orchid care tips? Come on you orchid lovers, let me hear from you! I know you’ve got some interesting tips to share and I’m super anxious to hear them.