Phalaenopsis Orchids – 6 Reasons Why the Moth Orchid Is Everyone’s Favorite Orchid

Moth OrchidsBecause orchids have a reputation for being hard to grow, everyone always wants to know what the easiest orchid for beginners is, and the answer is nearly always the same: phalaenopsis orchids.

These plants, also known as “moth orchids” for the delicate wing-like shape of their leaves, are popular with beginners (and veterans, too!) because of the relative ease with which they can be grown.

No matter your skill level, here are six reasons why you should have a phalaenopsis orchid orchid in your collection:

One Stem = Focused Care – While some orchids have multiple stems, each of which can contain several flower spikes, the phalaenopsis orchid is monopodial. Which simply means that it always has just one main stem.

While beginners might want to go for the orchid with the “most” flowers, the one stem on a moth orchid is easier to care for. This means it can still grow several colorful flowers, while giving it a delicate yet robust appearance. And that, for many, is what the orchid is all about in the first place, right?

Manageable Sunlight – While some orchids can have touchy light requirements such as direct sunlight or even exposure to moonlight, the phalaenopsis orchid is pretty “middle of the road” as far as this goes.

Abundant but indirect sunlight is key, so mostly any location that has at least a little shade for part of the day is great. (These plants also do well indoors for this very reason.)

Manageable Temperature Needs – The relaxed attitude the moth orchid has towards light also extends to its temperature needs. While some orchids can’t handle even slight variations in cold or heat, the phalaenopsis orchid does well in temps ranging from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (so room temperature is fine). It won’t be in much danger unless temperatures go outside the 60-90 degrees F range.

Standard Humidity Needs – Some orchids thrive in tropical climates, and others grow best in drier areas. Again, the phalaenopsis orchid is fantastic because it is tolerant of greater variations in humidity than most other orchids. As long as humidity is around 50%, you’ll be fine. No matter where you live, this can easily be achieved with a basic humidifier.

Water and Walk Away – Unlike some orchids that demand constant attention to the level of hydration, phalaenopsis orchids are more forgiving. This isn’t to say that proper watering isn’t important; the moth orchid needs a careful balance of water as much as any other plant.

The key is that this particular genera does well with minimal care – you can generally water them about once a week and they’ll be fine.

Constant Blooming – The moth orchid contains no pseudobulbs, which means that once the plant enters the blooming stage, all its energy is pretty much directed towards the flowers.

With the proper care, you can keep this orchid in a state of constant blooming for a long, nearly indefinite period of time. Since re-blooming is one of the more difficult aspects of growing orchids, this is a great reason to give phalaenopsis orchids a try.

From their resistance to beginner mistakes to their colorful and fragrant blooms, phalaenopsis orchids are a favorite that you’re certain to love.

And to learn even more phalaenopsis orchid tips, and take your orchid growing to the next level, download your copy of the all new Amazon #1 best seller: “Phalaenopsis Orchid Care: The Ultimate Pocket Guide to Moth Orchids

Your Comments

56 Comments so far

  1. Nancy says:

    My alltime favorite flower of all time. I love everything about orchids and can’t imagine a more beautiful plant that is reltively easy to manage. You just need understand how they grow and you’ll be fine.

  2. Kathy Richins says:

    I love the moth orchid. In fact I have 6 of them all over the house and they really bring a peaceful feeling to our home and are always a conservation starter. Thanks your for highlighting them.

  3. Eilish McGowan says:

    I got one of these from a thai restaurant last night, not dead yet so we are going well.

  4. meera says:

    WE love Phals, but like to know more re -initiating flowering tips. We find our Phals suffer after the flowering. Is there any remedy for this?
    Many thanks

    Meera

    • Mary Ann says:

      Hi Meera,

      Thanks for your comment. You’ve inspired us to do a post about this. Flowering takes a lot of energy, so it’s not uncommon that they struggle a little afterwards. Keep caring for it like you usually do, but if it looks like it needs to be repotted, after it’s done blooming would be a good time.

  5. prasad G says:

    Phalaenopsis is my favourite plant, they flower longer and more constantly. As told in the messages, over rain and sun are their ajor enemies. Thanks for the deep knowledge provided by this site and news letters….

  6. Lisha says:

    Hello. I just saved two at dillons..( i work there and seen them in the back room by the sink) They were going to throw them away. They still had good blooms but the leaves had brownish spots on them. I’ve been on the computer all day today trying to figure out how to save them. These were the only two that looked like they would make it.. They look like the pictures i’ve seen of PHALAENOPSIS ORCHIDS but one’s pink and the other is white. They came in the tiniest pots ever. They can fit in the palm of my hand. Any ideas on what i can do? Do they need new pots? Thank you for this website. 🙂

    • Mary Ann says:

      Hi Lisha,

      Thanks for your comment. Good for you! 🙂 Here’s a message board talking about brown spots: http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/orchids/msg0908453826447.html

      Here’s a post we did about orchid illnesses: http://www.orchidcarezone.com/how-to-know-when-your-orchid-is-sick/

      If the roots look overly crowded and seem as if they are growing from the stem of the plant and are reaching the lowest level of leaves, or if they have occupied the entire upper surface of the soil and are hanging out from the brim of the pot, then you should repot them. You can also tell if the plant looks top heavy and falls over easily. 🙂

      • Suzann says:

        I have two of these orchids that I purchased about four months ago. One bloomed a beautiful purple, the other was a light yellow with some orange stripes. I have enjoyed them so much. They are both flowerless now. They are in the original 3″ diameter plastic cup. There are many roots and the leaves are still a beautiful green. I didn’t know if I repotted if they would bloom again? I am a friendly gardener and don’t want to just throw them away if they will bloom again. Thanks for any and all responses. Happy Gardening to you all, too.

  7. JAM says:

    Oh man, I should have done my research before I repotted my orchid this last weekend.

    I need to get home right now and get it out of the pot!

    please don’t die on me. . .

  8. Smithers says:

    I re potted my one and only moth orchid last month whilst it was still in flower, since then the blooms have fallen off and left with bare stem. Just noticed tiny bud like appendages at each flower stalk. Is this normal ?

    • Mary Ann says:

      Hi Helen, Thanks for your comment. If you repot when your plant is actually blooming, it is normal for the flowers to drop faster than normal, sometimes almost immediately. – Mary Ann

  9. Kathy says:

    Hi There, just found your site. I just got a Phalaenopsis, (first ever) from a friend. I live in Venice, Fl. Is it ok to have it outside on my Lanai, in the shade for summer? And how susceptible is it to insects, disease, and can I put it with other plants?? Thank You 🙂

    • Mary Ann says:

      Thanks for your comment, Kathy! 🙂 Actually we just released an inexpensive book ALL about phalaenopsis care on Amazon.com. You can find it right here:

  10. obsessed says:

    i am obsessed with orchids

  11. Amy says:

    I have just received this beautiful flower as a present I have had it a week and watered it once through sitting it in a sink of water for ten mins and left it to go damp for half hr was this right? I haven’t fed it yet was going to pick up some drip feeders are they correct ? Never have much luck with orchids never know when and where to cut them any help would be great Thanx

  12. Tamerin says:

    I have a Phalaenopsis and wanted to know why one needs to repot? Is it due to the plant outgrowing the pot thus Im needing to get a bigger pot or is it so that I can cut off the old/dying roots and put it back into the same pot?

    • Mary Ann says:

      Yes and yes. If you notice the plant is too big for its pot, then that is a good reason to repot to a bigger one. If you notice the roots are struggling, that is also a good time to get rid of the bad roots and repot with fresh medium. – Mary Ann

  13. sara says:

    i have overwatered my moth orchid. Its doing ok…sitting on my porch(ft Myers).
    but it should “not” be repotted because of the overwatering….right?
    sara

    • Mary Ann says:

      Right… You probably want to wait for it to recover before you disrupt it again. Unless it is going to die if you don’t repot it, then give it a little time. – Mary Ann

  14. Isabel says:

    My partner just got me my first orchid today, to make me smile. And I have fallen in love with it, thank you for this article, now I know to care for the orchid.

  15. catherine says:

    ithink i have this type of orchid- it was doing very well with beautiful flowers but now they have all wilted leaving three large unopened buds at the top. i tried watering it to see if they would recover but didnt so i have removed them and hope that the buds will open. im worried i didnt water it enough as i think i read to do so only sparingly so now have soaked it and put it in a sunnier position as it was next to an exterior door and i think maybe draughts have affected it> looking a bit sad now with flowers gone but hoping it will recover>

    • Mary Ann says:

      It sounds like you are on top of it. Keep doing what you are doing, and let us know what happens please. 🙂 There are a lot of factors that affect watering, so if you feel that your orchid needs more water, then do that. Basically do what works for you and your orchid to keep it healthy and alive. Again – please let us know how it’s going. – Mary Ann

  16. stephane says:

    I’ve always wanted an orchid but didn’t want to spend the money because I’ve heard you really need to know a lot about them and how to care for them and was afraid it might die on me.
    For my birthday Sat. one of my sons sent me a beautiful Phalaenopsis (I think) and I’m still smiling! It is the most beautiful gift he has ever given me and it turly touched my heart.
    There is one main long stem (over 2 feet and another coming off of the one @ a feet from the top. This one has two small ball like buds on it.
    I was gone for the weekend and returned last night Monday) and it appears to have several blooms that are drooping.
    I’ve yet to read up on these plants and don’t know if it is the location, dining table, or needs water.
    Before I do it any damage, do you have any recommendation?
    Thanks!
    Stephanie

    • Mary Ann says:

      It’s possible that this is the end of blooming for these plants, and it’s time to repot it. You should check out our posts about repotting to see if it sounds like that’s right for your plant. It should do well in a windowsill with fairly bright light. You should water it when it dries out, usually about once a week. Test the potting soil to see if it’s dried out. Let us know how it’s going. Thanks and happy growing! – Mary Ann

  17. Carrie says:

    I’ve made several attempts with Phals but can’t get the hang of it. They seem to drop their flowers, the leaves get wrinkled, and the roots rot. Am I over watering or is this the result of buying plants from Walmart and Home Depot?

    • Mary Ann says:

      Honestly it could be either one. But over-watering is the number one cause of premature death in orchids. 🙂 Maybe adjust your watering schedule, and then see if anything changes. Sometimes this is a trial and error process. – Mary Ann

  18. John says:

    Love this thread ty. So I have one phal and I’m not an overly skilled gardener. After it bloomed in the fall the main root dried up but the leaves and roots (they are extending out of the pot now – grayish) seem to be thriving. I clipped the dried out stem. I see some new growth that looks like a possible new stem. When it grows enough to reach the support pole do I just clip it to the pole? What about the grays roots? How can i propagate this cool “tolerant” plant.? Thank you so much.

    • Mary Ann says:

      Yes – clip it when it gets there. 🙂 Healthy wet roots are green. Healthy dry roots are a whitish silvery color. Unhealthy roots are mushy and brown or look like a twig. If any of your roots are unhealthy, then remove the potting material to make sure you can find all of the unhealthy roots. Then get rid of those with a sterile tool and repot with fresh medium. Phalaenopsis orchids produce keikis. Read more about how to propagate them here:

  19. amber says:

    I have had my orchids for 3-4 years and suddenly 2 of my more mature plants has lost all of its leaves and the stem has dried/gone woody 🙁 Is that it for them :(((( ???

    • Mary Ann says:

      What kind of orchids are they – the ones in question? It might just be that that spike isn’t going to bloom anymore, but your plant could sprout a new spike that will bloom again. Especially since it’s an older plant. It might just be time for a new spike. – Mary Ann

  20. gayle says:

    My daughter had a moth orchid ( I have taken possession of it now) and she re potted it dirt and a huge pot..it was like this for about 6 months 🙁 I have removed all the soil from the roots and rinsed under water, cut off mushy roots and damaged leafs and treated the wound with peroxide and then cinnamon – replanted in orchid bark, watered with diluted orchid food and put it in a quiet low light spot their are some healthy leaves still but I notice the underside is a purplish black tinge..am I doing the right treatment. Thankyou..great site by the way. 🙂

  21. Julia B says:

    I was given a moth orchid last April – it had 2 stems with beautiful blooms which lasted through August. They then fell off……After discussions with a keen orchid-growing friend, I cut off the stems just above a bud…..since then, the stems appear to be dieing back from the tips, two leaves have yellowed and fallen off. I have been watering the plant but not feeding (I was feeding with a drip feeder while the flowers were blooming). There are 5 dried/twig-like roots sticking out at the top of the pot. I can see thicker green roots among the bark. Help ????? PS I am a first-timer….

    • Mary Ann says:

      It’s possible the plant is just at the end of its blooming cycle and will sprout new growth soon. We did a post about Phalaenopsis reblooming that should help you. Check to see if you are fulfilling all of those needs. Also we have a guide for phalaenopsis orchids that covers everything you need to know. Thanks! – Mary Ann

  22. Carol says:

    Hi Mary Ann, have several types of orchids and have just purchase four beautiful phalaenopsis. Really enjoy receiving your e mails but as l explained to you l am very wary about purchasing anything over internet as l was caught in a scam but would like to find another way to purchase you information. Regards Carol

    • Mary Ann says:

      Hi Carol,
      We understand that it’s hard to trust online companies, even when they have guarantees in place. We have several guides on Amazon right now, which may be a better fit for you. Here’s the one on phalaenopsis orchid care. Thanks! – Mary Ann

  23. Karen Dennis says:

    I love Phal’s too. I must have 10. I started into orchids in 2014. My first was a gift on Mothers Day 5-22-2014. I became an addict at that point. I now have about 20 total. NONE are in bloom. Very bummed about that. I hope the reason is that they are too young.

  24. Gloria Reeder says:

    I started my new hobby with one Phal about a year ago. Has bloomed twice,big and beautiful. Now have eight and enjoy them. But a friend surprised me with four more different kind of orchids,one is a lady slipper with a big bud, the other three are all different. They have big fat bulbs or pods with leaves and tall spikes with very small buds and blossoms on them, but no tags.? All have long leaves and new ones coming out. Never have seen the pods before. Any suggestions ? About care or names of these? Help ! Gloria

  25. Carol says:

    Hi , Mery Ann
    . Looking forward to your kindle books. Already have the phalaenopsis one and check it when I need to find if they are growing as they should.Regards Carol

  26. Alan Coulton says:

    Your advice has been terrific.I have managed to kil 4 Pphallies, so if your suggestions are as brilliant as those in thè past I will be ecstatic. Yours Alan In Nowra Australia

  27. Stella Gutièrrez says:

    thanks Mary Ann for your articles. I am new whith orchids and have 4 phalenopsis, as a new orchid care I think I over watered them and one is in trouble whith leaves an roots. is inersing the right way to water them

    thank you,


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