How to Care For Your Phaleanopsis Orchid

Phaleanopsis are an epiphytic orchid which means their natural habit is growing on branches in a tree or on rock ledges etc. Their roots don’t grow in soil like other plants but are aerial roots and gather moisture from the surrounding atmosphere. This is why in the nurseries they are mostly grown in clear plastic pots, so that the roots are still exposed to light.

They are native to rainforest areas of South East Asia right through from the Himalaya’s to Cape York.


Watering is the most common way that people manage to kill their Phaleanopsis orchid. Never actually poor water on the mixture that its growing in like you would other indoor plants. Instead, invest in a spray bottle from the supermarket and every 2 or so days, spray the leaves and aerial roots of the plant. As a rule of thumb, I usually spray approx 125mls (half a cup) of water on each plant every couple of days….give or take.

Remember, their natural habitat is attached to a branch of a tree and gaining its moisture from the humid air in the rainforest, so the spray bottle imitates this. When you see that the grey/whitish aerial roots turn green, you know that the orchid has had enough water.


Feeding your orchid is important, if fed correctly you will be enjoying large healthy plants but also masses upon masses of flowers for up to 9 months of the year!

Orchids have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria. I use on my orchids a weak solution of Fish emulsion, (as this is easy because it comes in liquid form) because fish emulsion is organic it has a high level of bacteria as opposed to chemically based fertilisers which have none. Once a week I mix a weak solution of the Fish Emulsion in the spray bottle and spray the plant and its roots as normal.

Unfortunately, fish emulsion does smell a bit, so its probably best to take the plant outside when your doing this. If you don’t like the idea if fish emulsion and would prefer a chemically based fertiliser then use a weak solution of Aquasol, its high potassium level will encourage strong continuous flowering. I personally alternate between the two, so one week I give the plant fish emulsion, the next week I feed them with Aquasol. Just make sure you mix them at least half the strength recommended on the pack.


The orchids need a bright position, but away from direct sunlight. On a window sill is great, as long as the direct sun never shines through the window and onto the plant. The orchids wont tolerate a dark stuffy room……….if that’s you then perhaps outside in a protected position such as a porch or under a tree.

The best position is in the bathroom, the orchids LOVE it, its all the steam and humidity that a bathroom has that they love……. and they just look so elegant sitting on a vanity.


If you follow my directions with the feeding and watering, you could possibly have flowers on your Orchid for up to 9 months of the year! Each set of flowers can last a few months. After one set of flowers have finshed, dont go cutting the stem off at the base. Prune the stem back to the first node under the finished set of flowers and before long you should notice another flower stem emerging from that node. Quiet often it will start to develop long before the other flowers are finished.