Question of the Week Number 2: January 23, 2020
“What is the best way to keep a moth orchid growing and blooming? I was given one recently and I want to keep it thriving.”
Moth orchids, botanically Phalaenopsis varieties, are among the easiest of all types of orchids to grow indoors.
• Give yours bright light in an east window.
• Keep its very porous planting mix (probably bark) moist.
• Apply a diluted, complete-and-balanced plant food monthly.
• Protect it from freezing temperatures, but keep it out of hot, direct sunlight in summer.
Once a spike finishes blooming, let it be your guide as to how much of the stem you trim back. If the flowering stem shrivels, you can trim that portion off, but many of us like to leave much of the rest of the stem in place to encourage it to throw off a side shoot with buds.
Others recommend cutting those stems back to within a few inches of the top of the pot to encourage the new flower stems to be more vertical. You’re good either way.
When the plant divides and fills the pot to overflowing, repot it to the next larger pot size.
Just remember that things move in fairly slow motion with all orchids, Phalaenopsis types included. Patience will be your best pal.