What is the proper care for a moth orchid?
Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis spp.) are one of the easiest orchids to grow indoors. Moth orchids grow best in bright, indirect light. Direct sun may actually harm the foliage. Ideal sites are east- and north-facing windows. Plants in a south window will need to be shaded with a sheer curtain. Phalaenopsis orchids will not grow or flower well in poorly lit areas. Fluorescent lighting can be used to supplement natural lighting in poorly lit areas. Place the fluorescent fixture 6 to 8 inches above the plants. Keep the lights on for 12 to 16 hours each day.
Moth orchids like a bark medium that is kept evenly moist. Plants should be watered well and then allowed to dry slightly between waterings. Water moth orchids more frequently when plants are actively growing and during bloom. Plants are susceptible to root rots and death when watered too frequently.
Moth orchids prefer daytime temperatures of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool nighttime temperatures of 55 to 60 degree Fahrenheit in fall help initiate flower development. Avoid exposing plants to temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Phalaenopsis orchids require a relative humidity of 40 to 60 percent. Unfortunately, the humidity levels in most homes during the winter months are well below this range. Humidity levels indoors can be increased with a room humidifier or by placing the plant on a tray or saucer filled with pebbles and water. They bottom of the pot should be kept above the water line. The evaporation of water from the tray will increase the relative humidity in the vicinity of the plant.