In their natural jungle habitat, Phalaenopsis orchids, commonly known as Moth Orchids for their delicate white blossoms, grow on trees as epiphytes, which require host plants. This makes them different from other types of flowering plants and terrestrial orchids that grow in the ground.
It is very important that you use the right potting medium for your Moth Orchids, because it can have a significant effect on the plant's water requirements. Instead of regular soil, they need potting material that mimics a host tree or comes from one. They also need plenty of air circulation in their potting medium, as their roots appreciate a breeze when they grow on tree limbs in the wild.
Some orchid hobbyists enjoy experimenting with different potting materials and mixing their own Moth Orchids medium. Every orchid grower seems to have his own ideas about what makes the perfect potting mix.
Steps for Preparing
1. Choose a course material, such as ground fir tree bark, redwood bark chips or Monterey pine bark chips, that supports orchid roots and allows air movement.
2. Choose a second material that holds more water than tree bark, such as perlite, sphagnum moss, charcoal or coconut husk chips, to ensure orchid roots absorb plenty of water. Combine 2 or 3 of these materials for a more diverse mixture, if you prefer. If using moss, thoroughly soak it in water and gently squeeze it dry before planting.
3. Mix 4 parts tree bark with 1 part water-retaining material to create a potting medium that will allow orchids to attach themselves to it, breathe and absorb water, just as they would on a tree branch in the wild.
You can grow Moth Orchids in sphagnum moss alone. When planting, don't press the moss too tightly around the orchid roots. Leave them room to breathe.
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