Vanda / Ascocenda
A full size Phalaenopsis can very possibly be in bloom for
6 to 8 months out of the year; producing two or more complete spikes per year.
When the last flower has wilted, the spike can be cut back to about an inch
above the fourth node, counting from the base. (A node is the bump on the
spike.) Usually, a lateral shoot will form from one of these remaining nodes
within several months.
Temperature - A minimum night
temperature of 62° to 65° F is optimum. Temperatures as low as 58° F will not
harm the plant and would be helpful to initiate spiking, but should not be
continued for more than a few weeks as the plants are more prone to fungus at
these temperatures. Day temperatures should range between 75° to 85° F.
Humidity and Ventilation - A
relative humidity of 50% to 60% is ideal. Good air movement is essential if your
humidity is extremely high. In greenhouses fans should be used, but in the home
it is not as critical.
Light - Phalaenopsis prefer moderate
levels of light, with NO direct sun. They do best in an east or west window that
gets very early of late sun but without direct sun the rest of the day. They can
also be grown in a south facing window if shaded or kept back from the window.
They also do well under artificial light, or a north facing window that is open
to the sky and gets very bright light.
Watering and Feeding - Always water
orchids in the morning so that the plants are dry before sunset. How often to
water depends upon the potting media used, the type of pot (clay or plastic),
and the size of the pot. Strive for a damp media, not soaking, and never allow
the plant to become bone-dry. When you water, water well, then let the plant
become just moist before watering it well again. For Phalaenopsis in bark mixes
feed with Peters 30-10-10 every two weeks in the summer, every three
weeks - spring and fall, and once a month in the winter.
Pests - Mealy bugs, slugs and snails
are probably the worst pests of Phalaenopsis. Slugs and snails can be controlled
with products containing Metaldehyde, such as Deadline. Diatomaceous
Earth is quite effective against slugs and beer in a shallow bowl is
a good trap for them. Mealy bug and other pests can be controlled with insecticides
like Malathion or X-clude. REMEMBER, these products are
intended to kill and should be used in the open air outside your home. A
light horticultural oil, like Year Round, (not a dormant oil) which
smothers bugs and their eggs is quite effective against most pests and fairly
safe. Also effective against mealy bug, aphids and other pests is Insecticidal
Soap, which is not a poison. Use any of these products with caution and
in accordance with the manufacturers label.