Orchids - Growing Phalaenopsis
Often called the “Moth Orchid” (due to their shape only), the Phalaenopsis is gorgeous and easy to maintain.
While they do prefer bright light, take care not to expose them to direct sunlight for more than a few minutes, since this will damage the leaves. Many Phalaenopsis belong to the epiphytes species, meaning they cling to trees, which also gives them natural shade. Wherever you grow them, at home or in the office, put them in an east or west facing window; if you must place them facing south, provide them with adequate shading.
Daytime temperatures of 85F/29C are excellent, and can even be a little cooler, within a 5 degree range. At night, a 15-20 degree dip is acceptable, but if your night time temps drop to 45-55F (7C-13C), it is better for the plants to dwell in a greenhouse or inside your home.
As with many orchids, they enjoy high humidity, between 60-70%. If your own environment does not match that, use an automatic mister or a watering tray, in order to keep the air around the flowers moist, without disturbing you.
Phalaenopsis orchids, unlike others, prefer a great deal of water, although their roots should not be kept wet 24/7. But you should not allow the roots to dry out between watering sessions either. The best method is to place pebbles under the pot in the tray, and water once per week. This will ensure the plant has adequate moisture without drowning it.
For feeding, use a high nitrogen fertilizer and dilute 1 teaspoon in 1 gallon of water, then feed the orchids once a month. This solution will last you for several weeks.
A great growing medium is wood bark chips in a medium-grade, but remember this only supplies support, not essential nutrients. Repot every other year so the roots have room; since they tend to grow up as opposed to out, likely you will not require a larger pot.
After three months, once the flowers fall off, cut the stem back halfway. Although it may take a year, the blooms will grow back, and often they will even bloom twice annually.