Phalaenopsis Orchids - General

Q: I received a Phalaenopsis orchid as a gift. I don't know much about them, or how much light they typically need. Can you help?

A: Growing a Phalaenopsis orchid in your home can be rewarding and fun. It is particularly well suited for the conditions you already find at home. Phalaenopsis hybrids flowers range in size from 2 inches to nearly 5 inches in diameter. Colors range includes white, pinks, lavender and yellow in both solid colors and mixes of stripes and spots. Phalaenopsis flowers offer both exotic form and superb longevity. Individual blooms can last as long as 3 months. Flowers open sequentially at 2-5 day intervals along an arching spike.

In the home, Phalaenopsis orchids enjoy a spot near or in a bright window. You’ll want to avoid direct mid-day sun but early morning or late afternoon sun is great. An east or west facing window is ideal. In darker or cloudy environments a shaded southern window might be best. You can supplement normal light with fluorescent lights placed approximately 1 foot above your orchid. Time your lights to simulate normal day length. If you have a home greenhouse you should consider using a heavy shade cloth (especially during the summer) to limit light levels to 1,000 - 1,500 foot candles.