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Growing Guide Orchid, Moth (Phalaenopsis)

Moth Orchids (Phalaenopsis) grow best where they receive bright light but no direct sun. An east window is ideal, but they also thrive in south- or west-facing windows that are shaded with sheer curtains or blinds. Plants grow best at a temperature between 70 and 80° F. during the day and between 60-65° at night. They also prefer a high relative humidity, of 50-80%. During winter months, when the indoor air is extremely dry, raise the humidity around your Orchid by running a humidifier, or setting plants in trays filled with pebbles or gravel. Add water to a level just below the tops of the pebbles, and refill frequently to replace water lost through evaporation. (Our Humiditrays perform the same function.) Do NOT mist a Moth Orchid, because misting may cause the growing point, where new leaves are produced, to rot.

Water your Orchid thoroughly (until the excess drains freely from the bottom) when the potting mix feels dry to 1 inch below the surface. Do not allow the pot to sit in a saucer of water, however. The simplest watering technique is to water the plant in a sink and return the plant to the windowsill after the pot has drained.

The plants we ship have already begun to send up a bloom spike and will start blooming in late winter or early spring, producing flowers over several months. (The bloom spikes may be wrapped in cotton to protect them from damage in transit. Carefully remove the cotton on arrival.) As the flower buds expand, we recommend that you support the bloom spike with a green bamboo stake. Tie the spike to the stake with green plastic tape.

Do not remove the flower stem until it is completely dessicated and lifeless; flower stems that appear to have finished producing blooms may send out more flowering shoots months or even years later.

Moth Orchids produce fleshy, wormlike roots that have a tendency to push their way up through the surface of the planting mix. This is perfectly normal. There is no need to cover these roots with potting mix.

We recommend fertilizing twice a month from April to October, with a water soluble Orchid fertilizer (30-10-10) mixed at half strength.

Repot your Orchid every other year or so after it blooms. Remove the plant from the pot and gently shake the old potting mix from the roots. If you find dead roots, cut them off with a sharp knife. Repot in a container no more than 2 inches larger than the previous one, using a coarse potting mix designed especially for Orchids. Hold the stem in the center of the pot and fill the pot with premoistened potting mix, pressing it firmly around the roots with your fingers. The lowest leaf should just touch the surface of the potting mix. Water thoroughly after potting.

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