You might have seen the Mile Marker boards that parents create for their children – they highlight things like the height, weight, likes, and dislikes of their child at various stages of life. We at Nick’s Garden Center think Plant Parents should have something like this for their Plant Babies as well! Our Plant Parent Chalkboard Photos and blogs will provide you with an overview of what each plant needs in order to “grow up” happy and healthy!
Orchids may be the most showy and eye-catching plant in the houseplant world. It’s also the plant that inspires the most trepidation in collectors. While orchids can be finicky and don’t follow all of the normal rules, they’re not terribly difficult to cafe for once you know the rules it does follow. A member of the Orchidaceae, Moth Orchid (“Phalaenopsis”), can grow to be up to 3 feet tall. Moth Orchid’s leave grow in a fan shape that stays low and stretches out away from the base of the plant. You’ll also see roots and shoots creeping out near the base of the plant. You’ll find many color variations among various Moth Orchid plants, usually in shades of pink, yellow, purple, and white. The petals are rounded and arranged in a somewhat face-shaped fashion. Moth Orchid blooms, which can number up to 20 blooms on a single stem, can last for months at a time in the right conditions!
Moth Orchid is both pet-safe and air cleaning! Moth Orchid prefers bright, indirect sunlight like most houseplants. If your Moth Orchid is well cared for and not flowering, it probably needs more sunlight. Unlike most houseplants, it does not want any water kept in its substrate – which should be made of bark or sphagnum moss. To water Moth Orchid, place it under running water in a sink or under a running shower. Allow room temperature water – nighter hot nor cold – to run over the plant and through the substrate. Let around a gallon run through the substrate. You can also give the plant a nice long drink in a pot and drain all remaining water out after it sits for 15 minutes or so. Moth Orchid prefers a humid atmosphere, so it will benefit from a humidifier, resting the pot on a tray of pebbles filled with water, or a daily spritz. After watering, always tip the plant to let the water run off of the flowers and out of the base of the leaves. Water Moth Orchid again when the substrate is dry (some growers suggest they’ve had the best success with waiting until the exposed roots take on a silvery appearance).
Moth Orchids will actually do best when there is a temperature change of at least 15 degrees between night and day. Keeping a Moth Orchid close to a window can help achieve this change as the sun from the window (and lack thereof) heats and cools the space immediately occupied by the plant. Once all of the blooms from a single spike (Moth Orchid is a monopodial orchid, meaning the flowers grow from one single spike) have bloomed, trim that spike to just above a node (it’s what you might call a “knuckle” on the flowering spike) to encourage a new flowering stem to grow. While Moth Orchid may be a little more difficult than some houseplants, it’s by no means the most difficult to grow. For this reason, we’re calling it an intermediate level plant, and sending our readers a big “You got this!”.
Happy Plant Parenting!