Plant of the Month by Martin Fish
Phalaenopsis, or moth orchids as they are also known, are one of our most popular houseplants and it’s not uncommon for a plant to flower for several months at a time.
Plants are available all year round and to grow well they like a warm room and a light position. A windowsill is fine in winter, but in summer, avoid strong, direct light to prevent the leaves and flowers from scorching.
Correct watering is essential to keep your plant healthy. Most plants are grown in transparent pots so you can see the roots and when they take on a silvery sheen it’s time to water. Stand the plant in the sink and allow water to run through the pot, let it drain and then pop it back into the potholder. Never allow the roots to sit in water as they will quickly rot. Expect to water every 7-10 days and once a month; give a half strength houseplant feed.
Eventually when the flowers fade and drop, cut the main flowering stem down by around half to a swollen node and wait for a side shoot to develop and a second flush of flowers.
Martin Fish is a gardening columnist, broadcaster, speaker, RHS judge and all-round horticulture expert. He writes for publications including Garden Answers, Kitchen Garden and Which? Gardening.
We have worked with Martin closely over a number of years and each month he will be choosing a favourite Plant of the Month for us, with tips and advice for planting and growing in the garden.