Name: Phalaenopsis aka the moth orchid
Type of Plant: An orchid: one of the most widely available and easy to grow.
Why I Love This Plant: First of all, I can’t believe that in the past 20 years I haven’t featured this group of orchids on this blog or on my radio show. I’m SO long overdue and late to the party. Secondly, I love this plant because it is widely available and easy, plus the flowers are very, very long lasting. If you buy a Phalaenopsis that is mostly buds, not blooms, you’ll enjoy the flowering for several months. And if you keep it happy afterwards, you’ll also get the pleasure of seeing more flowers that last for months.
A Word to the Wise: Know that how you water these plants totally depends on what they are planted in when you buy them. Most are grown and shipped in plastic pots with either sphagnum moss or a combination of that and orchid bark. That growing medium makes it easy to ship the plants from the tropical areas where they are raised to the stores where they are sold. But that media needs a light hand with the watering, which is why many of these plants come with instructions to water with only a few ice cubes ccon the top of the growing medium. If yours came with such growing suggestions, by all means follow that routine. There is no harm to watering with melting ice cubes.
But if your plant needs repotting, or isn’t doing well in the original plastic pot, or if you see brown roots that indicate rot, do transplant into a slightly larger clay pot and use orchid bark mix not sphagnum moss or soil.
Fertilize your orchid regularly, either with a synthetic orchid fertilizer, or a general, time-release fertilizer that has a higher level of nitrogen.