Caring for your Phalaenopsis (Moth) Orchid

These popular orchids are sold in many stores. These orchids need a clear pot as they photosynthesise through their roots, but can have a ceramic pot to steady the plant when in flower. Unfortunately they are sold as a “bunch of flowers” rather than a plant, so little care is taken in the welfare of the plant before sale. Some have a small basket under the middle of the plant which was not removed when it was re-potted into a larger pot, and this small basket contains some old sphagnum moss which by the time the plant is sold, is usually rotten and will kill the roots inside the basket. The best thing to do when buying this orchid is to re-pot it as soon as possible. You will need a clear pot, some of Orchid Dens’ alternate mix and a stake if the plant is in flower. Soak the old pot in water to loosen the old moss, remove the pot and rinse off all the moss, if you find the small basket, carefully cut it off the plant. Remove any dead roots as these will not help the plant. Put into the new pot with the mix, and use a stake to support any flower spike. Roots that were “above the mix” before should remain in the air (aerial roots). Water the plant every couple of days in summer, being careful to keep water out of the “crown” which is the centre of the leaves. Moth Orchids should always be kept in moist mix, not soaking wet, so ensure there is good drainage after watering. All orchids need a good quality food to remain healthy, we recommend Orchid Boost fertiliser for these orchids. Once the first flower starts to drop it is best to remove the flower spike down to about 5cm. Early removal of the flower allows the plant to recover and, hopefully, flower again in the future.