Alphabetical Plant Listing

Phalaenopsis amabilis (Moth Orchid)

Moth Orchid, Lovely Phalaenopsis, Epidendrum amabile, Cymbidium amabile, Synadena amabilis, Phalaenopsis grandiflora, Phalaenopsis grandiflora var. aurea, Phalaenopsis amabilis var. aurea, Phalaenopsis gloriosa


Phalaenopsis amabilis (Moth Orchid) is an evergreen, epiphytic orchid boasting 20-30 fragrant, long-lasting white flowers, up to 4 in. across (10 cm), adorned with a white and yellow lip and red throat. Blooming often takes place over several months during the spring and early summer, and each flower lasts up to 3 weeks. They are borne in long sprays on arching stems rising up to 40 in. (100 cm) above the foliage of 3-5 broadly oval, fleshy, shiny green leaves, up to 20 in. long (50 cm). Native to northern Australia, Indonesia and the surrounding islands, Phalaenopsis amabilis can be found growing high on trees, or on branches of trees at elevations up to 1960 ft. (600 m). Resilient and easy to grow, Phalaenopsis amabilis is cultivated as an ornamental and has been used by breeders to produce many hybrids and cultivars. It is the national flower of Indonesia. An excellent choice for the home or greenhouse.

  • Recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society.
  • Grows up to 24-40 in. tall (60-100 cm).
  • Grow in an open bark-based compost and position with good indirect light. An east or west window would be ideal.
  • Needs a minimum night temperature of 61-66°F (16-19°C) and a daytime temperature of 75-85°F (24-29°C).
  • Night temperatures to 55°F (13°C) are desirable for several weeks in the fall to initiate flower spikes.
  • Fluctuating temperatures can cause bud drop on plants with buds ready to open.
  • Maintain high humidity (50-80%) for most of the year by setting the plant on a tray of gravel, partially filled with water, so that the pot never sits in water.
  • Water regularly throughout the growing season. Reduce watering slightly during the winter. Do not let the roots dry out completely. Avoid letting the plant sit in water. Mist the plant lightly in summer.
  • Water only in the morning, so that the leaves dry by nightfall. This will prevent rot.
  • Feed regularly in the growing season with a proprietary orchid fertilizer but reduce frequency and/or strength of feeding in winter.
  • Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer twice a month if bark-based media is used. Otherwise, a balanced fertilizer is best. When flowering is desired, a high-phosphorus fertilizer can be applied to promote blooming. 
  • Propagate by division. Cuttings or offshoots may be rooted successfully when roots are 1 in. long (2.5 cm).
  • Once the flowers have faded, cut the flowering stalk back to just above the second node (joint) visible beneath the spent flowers. A new flowering side shoot may develop.
  • Phalaenopsis can be repotted at any time of year. The best time to repot is when new roots with green tips emerge at the base of the plant.
  • To repot, remove all the old medium from the roots, snip off any diseased or dead roots, and spread the remaining roots over a handful of medium in the bottom of a new pot. Fill the rest of the pot with medium, working it among the roots, so that the junction of the roots and the stem is at the top of the medium. Gently ensure the compost is pressed down firmly around the perimeter of the pot. Drain the plant thoroughly and do not allow it to sit in water.
  • Generally disease free. Keep an eye out for aphids, glasshouse red spider mite and mealybugs.
  • Native to northern Australia, Indonesia, Papua and New Guinea, the Philippines and New Britain.

Tip for reblooming

  • If a plant is large and healthy but does not produce flowers in a reasonable time, then reduce the temperature by 8°F (5°C) for four weeks, and a flower spike will usually develop.


 

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Requirements

Hardiness 10 – 12
Plant Type Orchids
Plant Family Phalaenopsis- Moth Orchids
Exposure Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early)
Height 2' – 4' (60cm – 120cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Plant of Merit, Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants Australia
Garden Uses Patio and Containers

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Nadya So, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 10 – 12
Plant Type Orchids
Plant Family Phalaenopsis- Moth Orchids
Exposure Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early)
Height 2' – 4' (60cm – 120cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Plant of Merit, Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants Australia
Garden Uses Patio and Containers

Guides with Phalaenopsis- Moth Orchids

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