Potted power

A moth orchid can brighten your room with frequent flowers






Phalaenopsis orchids, more commonly known as ‘moth’ orchids, are native to tropical Asia and are a stunning type of orchid that make a beautiful potted plant. The flowers are long lasting and moth orchids can live for many years, so they’re a worthwhile and very pretty investment. It’s like receiving a bunch of flowers every day for weeks! The long, fragile looking flower spike can make moth orchids appear daunting to care for, however by using a few simple steps they can be an easy and rewarding plant to grow and can even re-flower for you. Moth orchids naturally grow within the canopy of trees, attached to tree trunks. When grown in a pot, they need the same free draining environment so are planted into chunky, well drained orchid mix and often their roots will grow spider-like out and over the edge of the pot, similar to the way they would grow over and around tree trunks in the wild. They love humidity and bright but indirect light. Don’t place moth orchids next to an air conditioner, heater or hot westerly facing window. Every one to two weeks, water the orchid below the foliage, as moisture pooling in the crown or remaining on the leaves can encourage disease. A small watering can with a narrow spout is ideal. Overwatering can lead to the demise of your lovely orchid, so allow it to almost dry out between waterings. During particularly hot and dry weather, the overhanging roots can be misted with water every day. You can sit your potted moth orchid on a saucer that’s filled with pebbles and regularly add water to the saucer. This creates a more humid environment around the plant but doesn’t allow the roots to be permanently sitting in water. To keep moth orchids wellnourished and give them the best chance to re-bloom, they should be fed regularly with an orchid food like Yates Thrive Orchid Liquid Plant Food, which has been specially designed to promote beautiful flowers and healthy green leaves. Any excess diluted fertiliser can be used to feed other flowering plants. Moth orchids are usually sold with their flower spike supported by a small stake. Keep this stake even after the flowers fade, as it can be used again for the next flowering season. Cooler temperatures at night encourage the development of flower spikes so look out for newly developing flower spikes in autumn. Monitor moth orchids for sap sucking insect pests like scale and mealybug, which can deplete plants, cause leaf yellowing and promote the growth of sooty mould fungus. Spraying the foliage with Yates Bug Oil Conqueror Oil Insect Spray Ready to Use or Yates Conqueror Spraying Oil will help keep these insect pests under control. For more information and inspiration visit yates.co.nz