Phalaenopsis amabilis (Moth Orchid)

Scientific Name

Phalaenopsis amabilis (L.) Blume

Common Names

Moon Orchid, Moth Orchid, The Lovely Phalaenopsis


Cymbidium amabile, Epidendrum amabile, Phalaenopsis amabilis subsp. amabilis, Phalaenopsis aphrodite var. gloriosa, Phalaenopsis elisabethae, Phalaenopsis gloriosa, Phalaenopsis grandiflora, Phalaenopsis rimestadiana, Synadena amabilis

Scientific Classification

Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Genus: Phalaenopsis
Subgenus: Phalaenopsis


Color: White
Bloom Time: Spring to summer


Phalaenopsis amabilis is the national flower of Indonesia. It has a short stem. The shiny green leaves are up to 20 inches (50 cm) long and up to 4 inches (10 cm) wide and vary from oblong to elliptic at the base and obtuse minutely at the tip or apex. The flowers are showy white and membranous. The lip (the unpared petals of an orchid) is three-lobed, and the callus is a variety of yellow and red depending on the individual plant. It blooms from spring to summer with several flowers up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter and more.

Phalaenopsis amabilis - Moth Orchid

How to Grow and Care

Phalaenopsis are generally very rewarding plants. They are not demanding and, in the right conditions, they will reward the grower with months of showy blooms. It is vitally important. However, that water never is allowed to rest in the growing tip of the plant. This will cause the new leaves to rot, and the plant will die. Thus, they should only be watered in the morning. As with all Orchids, the higher the humidity and temperature, the greater the need for turbulent airflow to prevent rot, fungus, and diseases. Successful growth means finding the right balance between humidity, temperature, light, and airflow.

Phalaenopsis can be grown in most Orchid potting media, including chunks of pine bark, clay aggregate pellets, charcoal, perlite, sphagnum moss, and styrofoam. They can also be grown in hanging baskets or mounted on slabs in a greenhouse-type environment. As with all Epiphytic Orchids, they should be planted in free-draining containers. Repot Phalaenopsis in spring after the bloom is done. Adult Phalaenopsis can often go for two years or more before they need to be repotted. See more at How to Grow and Care for Phalaenopsis Orchids.


It is native of northern Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and New Britain,  occurring at elevations up to 600 meters in rainforests on trunks and branches overhanging rivers.


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