Phalaenopsis Orchids

Phalaenopsis Orchids

Malaya flower, moth orchid

These elegant flowers look just like moths floating through the air. It is no wonder the Dutch botanist Blume came up with this common name. He found the first specimen in this genus of approximately 50 species in 1825 and called it Phalaenopsis (from Greek: phalaina – nocturnal moth and opsis -appearance). Phalaenopsis orchids are either epiphytic on trees or lithophytic on rocks and steep, mossy banks.

They occur in tropical Asia up to a height of 4,000 m/13,100 ft and are accustomed to shady, humid positions. They have not developed pseudo-bulbs as they originate from regions with fairly constant temperatures. Instead, they form many roots which cling to everything within close proximity and are extremely hard to detach. The leaves of these orchids are fleshy and fairly broad. In plants cared for under optimal conditions, the flowers appear nearly all year round. Although Phalaenopsis flowers appear to be as fragile as priceless bone china, they are not at all hard to care for. In fact, this is considered to be the ideal indoor orchid.

Phalaenopsis Orchids Various species and hybrids, as well as crosses with other genera, are all available in the trade. The robust, starlike forms which first appeared during the 1950s are still extremely popular.


India, South-east Asia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Northern Australia.

Temperature range:


Flowering time:

all year.

Colour of flowers:

white, red, pink, violet, yellow, brown, green, golden, tiger-striped, dotted.


semi-shady during the summer, bright during the winter but never, ever sunny.


warm all year round (20-22°C/68-72°F during the daytime, never below 18°C/64°F during the night); warmer during the summer. During the autumn, keep them cooler for four to six weeks (around 16°C/61°F) to encourage flower formation.


keep moderately moist all year round. The compost should never be allowed to dry out completely but should always be slightly dry before the next watering.

Use only soft, lukewarm water. Never water the heart of the plant as this brings the danger of decay. Spray the leaves often. Make sure humidity is high particularly for Phalaenopsis species, although the hybrids have adapted to drier indoor conditions.


every fortnight during the plant’s growth phase.


every two years during the spring. Do not damage the sensitive roots.


See Essential Orchid Information – Repotting Orchids


from daughter plants which occasionally form on the flower stalks.

Pests, diseases:

fungal diseases from overwatering; scale insects if the position is too dry; falling buds in a position that is too dark; at risk from slugs and snails in a greenhouse.

Special features:

Phalaenopsis requires plenty of air around its roots. This means that you must definitely avoid waterlogging around the roots. Choose a very coarse, air- and water-permeable compost when repotting. Possibly choose baskets instead of pots.

My tip:

Phalaenopsis may form two or three lots of flowers on the same shoots if the flower stalk is cut off above the third or fourth knot in the stalk before flowering is quite over.


Phalaenopsis species


P. lueddemanniana, P. sanderiana, P. schilleriana, P. stuartiana.


P. lueddemanniana, P. violacea.


P. amabilis.


P. amboiensis which flowers from spring to autumn.


Phalaenopsis hybrids

Flowering all year round:

“Bernstein”, “Bolero”, “Bronze Maiden” (scented), “Canary”, “Eisvogel”, “Elsa Muenz”, “Golden Sands”, “Goldfliegen, “Grace Palm”, “Haller Spatz”, “Hello Dolly”, “How Lucky”, “Julia Reuter Darling”, “Lemförder”, Lemförder Violet”, “Lipperose”, “Mambo”, “Mildred’s Baby”, “Morgenrote”, “Niedersachsen”, “Rose Satin”, “Schneeglanz”, “Schone von Celle”, “Unnarose”, “Zauberrose”, “Zauberrot”


Phalaenopsis-Doritis crosses


Doritaenopsis “Fuchsia Princess”, Doritaenopsis “Malibu Queen”, Doritaenopsis “Mem. Clarence Schubert”

09. December 2010 by admin
Categories: House Plants, Orchids, Orchids, Plants | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Phalaenopsis Orchids


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