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Care Instructions for a Phalaenopsis Orchid

These care instructions are written specifically for our phalaenopsis orchids.  Other growers may have different care requirements for their orchids based on how they have grown their plants.  But if you have a Brennan’s Orchids phal, these rules will help you keep it happy and robust.

Rule No. 1:  Let the long fiber moss potting mix dry between waterings.  Pinch the top of the mix.  When the top of the mix is completely dry between your fingers, take the pot to the sink and water the pot with tepid water until the water is pouring out the drainage holes.  Let the plant drain thoroughly.  Do not let water stand in the crevices of the leaves.  This could cause crown rot, which is almost always fatal.

Rule No. 2:  Give the plant the proper light.  Morning or soft late afternoon light is best.  That means an East, West, or shaded South-facing window.  Avoid direct sun during the harsh “skin cancer” hours.

Rule No. 3:  Regular meals all year long, please.  Your orchid does not go dormant.  When not full of buds and blooms, your orchid is growing roots and leaves so it will have the energy to put out more blooms the next cycle.  Feed your plant every other watering with a balanced (20-20-20) plant fertilizer mixed at ½ the usual strength or a balanced orchid fertilizer.

Rule No. 4:  Your plant is potted in New Zealand long fiber sphagnum moss.  Repot your plants every two years; increasing the pot size just enough to fit the new air root growth into the pot, not more than a one-inch jump in pot size at a time.  Repotting usually occurs in late spring or right after all the blossoms are spent and gone.  Moisten the mix prior to use.  Pot the plant so that the mix is firm but still airy.

Rule No. 5:   This is more of a guideline than a rule.  Look at your stem.  It has nodes like an asparagus spear.  When your plant finishes its total bloom cycle, the general wisdom is to cut the stem about halfway down, making sure you cut above a node.  If the plant has energy left, this often motivates it to put out a branch and keep blooming.  Growing a whole new stem takes about nine months, but growing a branch takes only three months.  Sterilize your cutting tool before using it, please.