Pronounced fal-a-nop-sis. Comes from Greek phalaina meaning a moth and opsis meaning resemblance.
Arching flower stalks bear up to 15 lovely, flat, waxy flower heads which resemble moths or butterflies.
Indonesia and Java
White, pink, purple and yellow
Orchid family, with 50+ species belonging to the genus Phalaenopsis. Many modern cultivars are American or German in origin.
All year round.
Phaelenopsis is one of the easiest orchids to grow. Not only do they flower for at least a month and often longer, but it is not that difficult to get them to reflower.
They enjoy a light spot, but not long-term exposure to bright sunlight. They like cool air. Regular, moderate watering ideally using boiled and cooled water. Feed with orchid fertiliser every 14 days. Cut back the stem when the flowers are withered to just below the point of the lowest flowers and with luck the rising sap will give you still more flower heads.
Phalaenopsis are sensitive to ethylene gas so keep them away from fruit, vegetables and dying flowers. They cope with central heating better than other orchids.
The really important thing it to provide humidity. Bathrooms or kitchens are good but if you want to enjoy them in the sitting room, use a large underplate or dish, fill it with attractive pebbles and keep it topped up with water. The plant itself should be watered only moderately but spray the leaves as often as you like.
Given the right conditions phalaenopsis can flower for months on end.
Effective in removing xylene (chemical emissions from adhesives, computer VDU screens, paints, photocopiers, stains and varnishes) from the atmosphere.
They were among the first tropical orchids in Victorian collections.
Other types of orchidLudisia / jewel orchid
Oncidium / golden shower orchid
Paphiopedilum / slipper orchid, lady slipper orchid
Phalaenopsis / moth orchid
Vuylstekeara / cambria orchid