Care of orchid plants

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The Moth Orchid,

aka phalaenopsis (fayl-eh-NOP-siss) plants with long-lasting sprays of lovely mothlike blooms in a broad array of colors are inexpensive and widely available, ready to give weeks of pleasure in your home or office. Simply provide modest light and consistant moisture, and they will delight you with their relative ease of culture.
The main flowering season is late winter into spring, though commerical growers today can make flowering phalaenopsis available year round.

Sufficient light is important for healthy growth and flower production.
Provide bright light, no direct sun. In the home, and East, West or shaded South window. In a greenhouse, about 30% full sun. Under lights, four 40 watt flourescent tubes and two 40 watt incandescent bulbs directly over plants. Foliage should be naturally semierect, and of a medium olive-green. Dark green, limp foliage indicates too little light.

Mature phalaenopsis need a 15 to 20 degrees F difference between light and day.

Provide nights of 60 to 65 degrees F; Days of 70 to 85 degrees F. Seedlings need temperatures five to ten degrees higher than mature plants.

Mature plants should seldom dry out completely between waterings.

Phalaenopsis need 60 to 70 percent humidity. To increase humidity in the home, place on trays of moistened pebbles or mist plant daily with distilled water from an atomizer bottle.

Fertilizer Should be provided on a regular basis because most potting media have none. We recommend Peters brand water-soluble food for orchids 10-10-10 or 12-12-12. It can be found at Home Depot, Ace or Tru Value hardware and at most garden centers. Sorry, Floratech does not sell pots and plant food. NEVER fertilize an orchid that is in bloom.

Should be done every 12-24 months before the substrate breaks down too far. This is best done in the late spring after the main flowering season, using a well-drained but water retentive mix such as sphagnum moss or coconut bark. Select the new pot size by the root mass, and not by the top size.

51 Beach St. New York, NY 10013

Probable Cause
Leaves turn yellow.
Too much sunlight or water. Natural if only old leaves are involved.
Give plant more shade; withhold water for a couple weeks.
Leaves turn yellow and drop.
Natural with many deciduous plant types.

In evergreen orchids, a sign of collapse.

Withhold water and move plant to a cool place to encourage bud formation.

Look for disease control.

Leaves have black or brown areas.
Too much sun; Spots that increase in size may indicate disease.
Provide plant with more shade; Look for disease control.
Leaves are limp; Growth at base of plant is soft.
Waterlogged potting mixture.
Withhold water for a couple weeks; Give plant dry potting mixture.
No sign of new growth.
Time is not right in plant's growth cycle for new growth.
Keeping potting mixture evenly moist; Do not force plant with extra feeding or watering.
Plant refuses to flower.
Proper growth cycle and day length are not being observed.
Determine times of year for plant's natural growth and rest periods; Keep plant in darkness at night.

Gradually move plant to a brighter place.

Buds drop.
Temperatures fluctuate too greatly.

Ethylene pollution from smog or fruit.

Move plant to location with more even temperatures.

Check pilot light and environment.

Leaves have white or brown spots.
Water is too hard or high in iron content.
Flush out minerals with deoinized water; use bottled water, distilled water or rainwater for routine irrigation.
Leaf tips are blackened.
Too much fertilizer.

Intense direct sun.

Water has high salt content.

Cut back on fertilizer.

Move plant into area with indirect light.

Leach out salt with deionized water; Use bottled water, distilled water or rainwater.

Pseudobulbs and leaves shrivel; Growth slows, and roots are rotted.
Reduce water. Repot if potting mix is mouldy or decomposing.
Roots are fine but pseudobulbs and leaves shrivel, and growth slows.
Underwatering or lack of air humidity. Natural condition with many orchid species.
Water thoroughly several times; increase humidity and water frequency.