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Phalaenopsis orchid: care

Phalaenopsis orchid: care

There is a great variety of these plants, but the Phalaenopsis are one of the most popular and widespread orchids in gardening and decoration. Named for their resemblance to butterfly wings, these beautiful flowers originate primarily from Australia and the Philippines, as well as some other areas of Asia and Africa.

In this EcologíaVerde article we are going to see what are the main characteristics and phalaenopsis orchid care or butterfly orchid, so if you want to have one in your home, keep reading these lines.

Characteristics of the Phalaenopsis orchid

To butterfly orchid it is also called alevilla orchid and mouth orchid. Like other orchids, they are epiphytic plants, which means that instead of anchoring themselves to the ground with their roots, they use other trees or plants as hosts to cling to.

Another particularity of these plants is that they are capable of carrying out photosynthesis with their roots, which are strong and green, usually aerial. Its leaves are large and are born from very close to the roots. In them the central nerve can be distinguished very clearly, and they are of a very vivid green color.

Its flowers come out of a kind of long sticks that the plant produces and that it is usually necessary to support so that they do not fall. They have petals of very different colors, and even with speckled patterns, very striking and beautiful.

Phalaenopsis orchid: care - Characteristics of the Phalaenopsis orchid

Phalaenopsis orchid: basic care

In this practical guide you will see what are the Phalaenopsis orchid basic carefrom its irrigation, substrate and fertilizer to its location, necessary light and adequate temperature:

How to water the Phalaenopsis orchid

Like all orchids, this plant does not tolerate excess humidity or waterlogging, both in the leaves and in the roots. Therefore, they should always be watered in the morning and, if possible, By immersion. This is by submerging the pot in water for a few minutes and allowing the plant to absorb the necessary water, then extracting it and letting the drainage holes remove the excess water.

However, it is important not to water Phalaenopsis with tap water. Usually these waters are very hard and have too high a mineral content, so it is necessary to use light mineral water or treat the water to demineralize it.

In addition, it is highly recommended to spray some water around the leaves and aerial roots several times a day. This tropical plant needs fairly high ambient humidity, so its natural conditions can be better emulated.

Here you can learn much more about when and how to water orchids.

Light and location of the butterfly orchid

Phalaenopsis does not tolerate direct sun exposure well, but will not grow well in shady environments either. Look for a very bright room, but where the sun’s rays do not fall directly on your plant. Using a curtain that lets in some natural light can also be a very good option.

Ideal temperature for Phalaenopsis

As a tropical plant that it is, it does not tolerate intense cold or very high temperatures with dryness. The ideal temperature range for the butterfly orchid is between 23ºC and 24ºC, but with sufficient environmental humidity it can withstand temperatures of up to 30ºC. As far as the cold is concerned, do not let the temperature drop below 13 ºC under any circumstances.

Substrate and fertilizer

Orchids need very light special substrates that provide good drainage, otherwise irrigation can make the soil too wet and end up damaging the plants with its excess moisture. In addition, these plants may have times when they also need specific fertilizers, which are applied more regularly before the plant begins to flower and are usually used vaporized or sprayed on the substrate.

In these other gardening guides we explain in more detail How to make substrate for orchids and How to make compost for orchids.

Phalaenopsis orchid: care - Phalaenopsis orchid: basic care

When and how to transplant a Phalaenopsis orchid

It is quite common for this plant to be kept in containers or transparent pots, so that its thick green roots can also carry out photosynthesis and thus help flowering. This also helps us to know the state of health of the plant and to assess whether it needs water or not, because when they turn whitish they are drying out and need watering until they are green again.

Bearing this in mind, the butterfly orchid only needs to be transplanted when it has grown too large for its container, or when it has been attacked by a fungus or bacteria that needs to be eradicated from the substrate.

At the time of transplant a Phalaenopsis orchid keep in mind that it should always be done during the period of vegetative rest, in the cold months, and it is necessary to use specific substrate for orchids. In addition, in the weeks immediately after the transplant it is advisable to avoid fertilization and measure the risks very well to avoid excesses, as well as keep it protected from very intense lights.

In this other EcologíaVerde article we explain in more detail when and how to transplant an orchid. In addition, below you can see two videos from our YouTube channel on the care of this plant and on the most common mistakes when caring for orchids.

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