Moth Orchids bring a touch of Oriental glamour to any room with their sensuous flowers and smart shiny green leaves.
Orchid - the very name conjures up images of botanical beauty and desirability, and this plant certainly doesn't disappoint. The waxy blooms of Phalaenopsis have an intoxicating beauty, with intricate patterns in the centre and petals that radiate out like wings. Their common name was given by early plant hunters, scouring the jungles of eastern Asia for exotic rarities to bring back to Victorian Britain, upon seeing their flowers shimmering like clouds of moths in flight. This illusion was helped by the fact that in nature, they're epiphytes - meaning they grow on tree branches so the flowers would have been thoroughly airborne! Despite their delicate looks and unusual origins, they're easy to care for and cope well with the conditions found in most homes. They flower for months at a time, amply repaying just the smallest amount of care.
For the price of a bouquet of flowers this plant will give you many months of gorgeous indoor colour.
Please note that the pot in the photograph is for illustrative purposes only and is not supplied with the plant.
Plant Type: Houseplant
Hardiness: H1 Very tender. Indoor plant, suitable for home or conservatory.
Plant Height & Spread (at maturity): H 40cm x W 20cm (Mature age: 1 Year)
Foliage Colour: Green
Flower Colour: Pink
Fragrant Flower: No
Aromatic Foliage: No
RHS Award of Garden Merit: No
RHS Perfect for Pollinators: No
Foliage Type: Evergreen
Soil Drainage: Well Drained
Light Exposure: Part Shade
Season of Interest: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
Flowering (from - to): January - December
Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchids) are forest dwellers in their native habitat, clinging to tree branches in the jungles of south-east Asia. This gives some clues to the conditions they prefer. They enjoy a part-shaded position, needing good light levels but protection from direct sunlight, so an east or west-facing windowsill is ideal. They also prefer conditions that are relatively warm - don't trap them behind curtains on cold winter nights.
As they are epiphytes (plants that grow on other plants but aren't parasitic), they need special compost to thrive - you'll see when your plant arrives that it's growing happily in what looks more like bark chips than compost. It will be happy in this for at least a year or two, but if it outgrows its pot then buy it a specialist orchid compost and pot it into a container that's only slightly larger.
Watering is simple - run your plants under the tap briefly once every week or so in summer, once a month in winter, making sure the water runs into the compost. Leave them to drain fully before returning them to their growing positions. You can use a specialist orchid food once every few weeks during the growing season (normally April to September), at the manufacturer's recommended rates.
No pruning is necessary apart from removing dead leaves. Once flowering has finished, cut the stem just below the lowest flower and you may be rewarded with a repeat blooming.