25 Essential Tips for Moth Orchid Growers
Moth Orchid is a tropical and easy-to-care-for plant sought-after by many plant collectors because of its unique attributes that beautify any indoor garden.
We’ll go through every essential information you’ll need to learn for you to raise your Moth Orchid efficiently. If you want to know where you can find this plant, Phalaenopsis, we’ve listed some purchasing options below.
What Is Moth Orchid?
Moth Orchid is a well-known perennial today because of its showy flowers.
Commonly known as Phal, Phalaenopsis Orchid, and Phal Orchid, this Phalaenopsis genus has over 50 species and hundreds of hybrids available today, including the mini phals.
These orchids have flower stalks that develop from the axils or leaf joints. These stalks frequently include many flower buds, which, with the right care, can bloom for up to a month. On their arching branches, they hold their long-lasting blossoms, which unfold one after the other. More than 20 blooms can be found on a single multi-branching flower spike, and each blossom can survive for weeks.
A unique feature of this fascinating plant is the curled medusa hair-looking roots that sit near the top of the potting medium. Most Phals are epiphytes, which means they stick themselves to the nearest tree trunks. They use these orchid roots to search for moisture and nutrients to thrive within their environment. This makes them non-parasitic epiphytic orchids.
When Moth Orchid is grown indoors, it can be kept near an east or west-facing window. When grown outdoors, it should be in hardiness zones 10-12 to survive.
Origin And Family
The Phal is a member of the Orchidaceae family. This variety of Phalaenopsis comes from the forests of Southeast Asia and Australia. As an indoor plant, it has done well in most households when it has a lot of access to humidity.
This tropical plant was identified in 1825 by German-Dutch botanist and entomologist Dr. Karl Ludwig Blume. It yields significant flowers that are largely yellow, pink, purple, or white with speckled patterns 2-3 times a year.
Where To Buy
To find Moth Orchid for sale, you can start checking nurseries or gardening centers, but online options are remarkably cheaper. Etsy is a platform that we suggest when it comes to acquiring houseplants! They generally include a large variety of plants cultivated and sold by fellow enthusiasts who are glad to answer your plant care queries.
In terms of pricing, Phals are fairly affordable on average, costing between $30 to $60 depending on the cultivar.
Moth Orchid Plant Size
The Moth Orchid, as a houseplant, reaches a height of 6-12 inches and a width of up to 12 inches. It typically grows slowly, and you may place it near an east or west-facing window for optimum plant development.
Moth Orchid Care Needs
Like any other houseplant, your Moth Orchid will thrive when adequately cared for. With its showy flowers, this plant adores humidity and appreciates relatively dry soil throughout the year.
For most cultivators, you’ll want to water your Phalaenopsis when its exposed roots turn silvery white, or at least once a week. Allow enough time for the water to flow through the pot’s drainage hole. In terms of lighting, this stunning plant needs bright indirect light to thrive.
Read our thorough care guide below for more specific advice!
This Phalaenopsis Orchid is generally easy-to-care-for. Good draining soil and amount of light are the most vital considerations for this beauty.
Phal Orchid’s growth rate is typically slow. As it matures indoors, it can reach about 6-12 inches.
Phalaenopsis plants, in general, favor a well-draining pot. A medium-sized plastic, terracotta, or clay planter is ideal for your Phal.
One of the main killers of indoor plants is the lack of drainage, which causes root rot. Ensure that your pot has bottom holes to allow excess water to drain through.
This Phalaenopsis typically needs to be repotted every 2 years, or you see its roots growing out of the pot. When this happens, carefully remove the plant from its plastic, terracotta, or clay pot but be careful not to damage the main root ball. I recommend repotting in a new pot similar to or close to the size of the plant’s root system and in the same growing medium it’s used to. Removing brown, unhealthy-looking, or dead roots while repotting is a good idea. Additionally, ensure that its aerial roots are not buried as you repot this beautiful plant.
Moth Orchid grows well when grown in orchid potting soil. If you want to make your potting mix, start by adding peat, sphagnum moss, perlite, fir bark, redwood bark chips, charcoal, or coconut husk chips instead of purchasing a medium. This plant likes its soil to stay relatively dry.
Additionally, efficient drainage is critical to avoid fungal diseases, root rot, and other issues.
These are some soil options we recommend:
pH Needs For Moth Orchid
Your Phal Orchid likes acidic soil, meaning you should keep the pH level at 5.5 and 6.0. If the acidity concerns you, purchase a simple pH testing tool to examine your soil.
Sulfur or aluminum sulfate can be added to control high pH levels in your soil. Use wood ash, baking soda, or calcitic or dolomitic lime to raise the pH.
When watering Phal, you’ll want to keep your soil relatively dry. To gauge moisture, pierce a finger into the pot, or invest in a soil moisture meter device. You’ll know it’s time to water your Phalaenopsis when its exposed roots turn silvery white.
Being a “monopodial” orchid, Phalaenopsis develops from a single stem. This plant has a lesser tolerance for dryness because it lacks the enormous water-storing pseudobulbs present in sympodial (or branching) orchids.
To keep a healthy orchid, give your Phal plenty of time for absorption by running warm water over the plant, bark, and aerial roots three or four times for around 10 minutes. Before returning it to its window, ensure it has adequately drained.
The roots should change from silver to pale green after they have received enough water.
Overwatering is one of the most common killers of indoor plants. When in doubt, remember that it’s safer to underwater than overwater the Phal. Also, ensure you have fast-draining soil and a good drainage system.
Moth Orchid Light
Moth Orchid wants to be in bright indirect light for more than 10 hours daily, like in their natural habitat. Keep in mind that Phal is from the forests of Southeast Asia and Australia. In most instances, placing this plant near an east or west-facing window works fine.
When its leaves get a pink or red tinge and turn yellow, you’ll know your Moth Orchid is getting too much light. Conversely, this tropical plant needs more light if it starts getting dark green leaves.
Avoid putting your Moth Orchid in direct sunlight, as this could severely damage or even kill it. However, during the winter months, you can place this plant in a south-facing window where it can get some direct light. Rotate it from time to time to distribute enough light and keep a consistent growth.
Fertilizer For Moth Orchid
Here’s a common mistake by several indoor growers, they forget to fertilize. They think that water and bright indirect light are good sources of nourishment. But the reality is that the soil’s nutrients are just as vital in your plant’s overall health.
Feed your plant every other week during the summer months. A liquid orchid fertilizer will work best for your Phalaenopsis Orchid. If you’re using a stronger fertilizer, you may need to dilute it first.
Stop fertilizing in fall, winter, and spring. Too much fertilizer will cause this plant to produce excessive foliage but no bloom.
Propagating Moth Orchid
If your Moth Orchid has grown too tall, you may prune back the stem and set the cuttings aside for propagation! We’ve included step-by-step instructions for several propagation techniques below.
Phal Orchid can be propagated through a process called division. While this method is used for vegetables with distinct bulbs, tubers, stolons, rhizomes, and suckers, it can also be utilized for houseplants with stems that grow in clumps.
1. Dig up. Remove the plant from the pot. Do not forget to use gardening gloves when handling plants and soil.
2. Separate. You should find where the roots and stems spontaneously separated. Gently pull them apart with your fingers. Cut the roots where the sections connect.
3. Repot. Place each section in new pots filled with the same soil they’re used to.
Humidity And Aeration
Moth Orchid is a stunning perennial that prefers high humidity levels – often between 50%-80%.
If you see the edges on your plant’s leaves turning brown, consider the following options for increasing humidity:
• Gather your houseplants close to each other to create a humidity bubble.
• Invest in a humidifier.
• Place your pots in a tray of pebbles and water. This will create a vapor around your plant.
• Mist your plant, but don’t do it too frequently, or you might invite fungal diseases.
Your Phal Orchid will prosper in warm temperatures, so keep the temperature between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Like most Phalaenopsis plants, this tropical houseplant will appreciate consistent temperatures throughout the year. Avoid using hot or cold water when watering your plant. Keep it away from heat sources (such as furnaces and vents) and cold (such as open windows during the winter).
If you can supply the best conditions for your plant and keep it at its happiest, you might be able to see significant yellow, pink, purple, or white with speckled patterned flowers.
Phalaenopsis orchids won’t poison children and pets. According to the ASPCA, ingesting it will not hurt dogs or cats, and there are no toxic components in the plant.
|Toxic To Pets?||Care Specifics|
|Botanical Name||Moth Orchid|
|Common Name||Phal, Phalaenopsis Orchid, Phal Orchid|
|Origin||Southeast Asia and Australia|
|Recommended Home Placement||near an east or west-facing window|
|Light||bright indirect light|
|Soil||orchid potting soil|
|When To Water||Water When it’s exposed roots turn silvery white, or at least once a week.|
|When To Fertilize||every other week during growing season|
|Preferred pH||5.5 and 6.0|
|Toxic To Pets?||No|
|Common Pests & Diseases||spider mites, brown tips, fungus gnuts, white flied, scale insects, yellow leabes, root rot, mealy bugs, drooping leaves|
Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems
In most situations, the Moth Orchid is a disease-resistant and pest-resistant plant. However, there are certain typical concerns that might impair it. We’ll go over some of the most frequent issues and remedies for protecting your Moth Orchid below.
Unfortunately, spider mites are a widespread problem, particularly for plant collectors with a Phal Orchid. You will know your plant has spider mites if there are brown or yellow patches on its leaves, silky webbing in between branches, and leaves that take a long time to unfurl.
To fight a spider mite infestation, bring your infected plant to the sink, the tub, or outdoors and thoroughly wash all the leaves with a strong spray of water. Repeated application of neem oil, horticultural oil, and insecticidal soap can also help you get rid of spider mites.
If you want a non-chemical approach, ladybugs, lacewings, and minute pirate bugs can help control your spider mite population.
If you see sudden wilting, yellowing, or poor growth in your Phal, these could be symptoms of a fungus gnat infestation.
You’ll spot these gnats buzzing about your plants. Adult gnats are grayish-black in color with see-through wings, thin bodies, and long antennae. They are attracted to moist soil with a high organic matter content.
The emergence of fungus gnats will be more common if you overwater your Phal. Instead of watering at least once a week, delay your watering 3 days further to let the soil dry out. This should eliminate some of the larvae at the top of the soil.
We attached yellow sticky cards nearby when we came across these gnats in our hydroponics systems. These traps are effective in catching adults. Pour 1 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide and 4 cups of water onto the soil to destroy the larvae.
Whiteflies are gnat-like pests that feed on the sap of your houseplants. Having them on your Phal can be a big inconvenience. They deposit eggs which will hatch into larvae that eat the undersides of your plant’s leaves.
You can get rid of Whiteflies using a general pesticide. You may either buy it online or make one using the recipe below:
• To create your base, mix these ingredients: 5 drops of dish soap (make sure it doesn’t have any bleach in it!) + 1 cup of vegetable or olive oil
• For every cup of water, add 1.5 tsp of the prepared mixture
• Shake the solution well and then transfer it to a spray bottle.
• Spray all surfaces of the infected plant, especially on the underside of leaves.
Phalaenopsis amabilis, commonly known as the moon orchid or moth orchid in India pic.twitter.com/qTlS9FeNz3— Nicholas Martins (@Nichola29194541) September 14, 2022
Scales are insects that get sustenance from plant sap, and they can be identified from other bugs since the adult scale will latch onto one portion of the plant and remain there. They are called armored scales and may seem like brownish chunks on the stems or petioles of a plant.
To prevent scales, you can combine a teaspoon of neem oil and 500 mL of water and spray it all over your plant’s leaves to stop scales from latching onto your Moth Orchid.
Releasing ladybugs or lacewings near your infected plant and letting these beneficial bugs take care of the problem for you is another option!
Mealybugs may infest your Phal Orchid. If you notice these little parasites with their white fluff, act immediately. A cotton swab with rubbing alcohol will kill mealies on contact, turning them brown or orange in color. As a preventive measure, spray your plant with diluted Neem oil.
Brown Leaf Tips
The browning tips on the leaves of your Phal can be caused by a lot of factors. Lack of humidity, prolonged exposure to intense light, salt and chemical buildup from treated tap water, and fertilizer burn are all possible causes.
Drooping leaves on your Moth Orchid indicate that your plant needs to be watered. Usually, your plant will perk back up once it’s watered. Increasing the humidity in the area might also help.
Be careful! Droopy and curling leaves could initially occur on pest-infested plants and then eventually develop other indications like spots, stunted growth, and a total decline in health. Make sure to examine the underside of leaves if you suspect any issues with pests.
Sometimes, you may find yellow leaves on your Phalaenopsis Orchid, which can signify trouble. Some main reasons for this problem include moisture stress, improper lighting, nutrient imbalance, inconsistent temperatures, insect infestations, bacterial or viral infections, and many others.
To narrow down the problem, you will need to consider any recent weather changes or how you care for your plant.
Root rot is a prevalent killer of the Phal Orchid. Some indoor gardeners sometimes overwater their plants or lack proper drainage for their plants. These are the two most common sources of root rot.
Root rot is difficult to treat. Thus, prevention is the best option. If you don’t have a soil meter, get accustomed to touching your soil and feeling for moisture. Skip the watering for now if the top few inches do not feel dry!
Use pots that are high in porosity, like clay, unglazed ceramic, and concrete. These pots discharge excess moisture from the sides. Provide your plant with well-aerated soil to allow its roots to breathe and grow freely.
Similar Plants To The Moth Orchid
Love the Moth Orchid? There are many orchids that are fun to grow indoors. We highly recommend our beginner guide to Vanda Orchids.
The Moth Orchid is an excellent choice for plant enthusiasts due to its showy flowers.
If you’re thinking about getting a new plant to add to your collection or if you’re just getting started as an indoor gardener, use the tips you’ve learned from us to start growing Moth Orchid today!
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