Butterfly orchid - this is how the care of the Phalaenopsis succeeds

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Butterfly orchid - this is how the care of the Phalaenopsis succeeds: this

The butterfly orchid bears the botanical name Phalaenopsis and seduces with its exotic flowers in the shape of a butterfly. With good care and the right site conditions, the plant will bloom for many months. Since orchids are used to a warm climate, only a room with plenty of sun is possible. Butterfly orchids can be cultivated as tender individual plants as well as in a splendid ensemble.

Location & temperature

Due to its origin from tropical countries, the butterfly orchid can only be cultivated as a houseplant. In terms of temperature and humidity, the phalaenopsis has certain requirements that must be met in order for the orchid to thrive. As a rule, the plant gets along well with normal living room temperatures. In addition, the room should be aired regularly, otherwise it can come to the rot of the roots. However, if the temperature differences are very large, ie more than 10° C, then the plant should temporarily move to a sheltered location during aeration.
  • Needs bright location, but no blazing midday sun
  • Ideal is sunny window sill, with east or west orientation
  • Thrives well in temperate greenhouse or conservatory
  • Needs fresh air, but does not tolerate drafts
  • Temperature values ​​must not fall below 16° C all year round
  • In summer, temperatures up to 30° C are bearable, at night a little below 20° C
  • During the winter at least 20° C during the day, not cooler than 16° C at night
  • Perfect humidity is 50%
  • Spray regularly with steam
Tip: If the butterfly orchid gets a shadow through decorative nets or other plants at lunchtime, it can also thrive on the south window.

plant substrate

Orchidaceae phalaenopsis - butterfly orchids

Orchids are potted plants whose roots do not connect firmly to the ground, but only sit there. The substrate should therefore close only very loosely around the roots, giving the plant good support and, in addition, the possibility of extracting sufficient moisture from it. Orchids absorb the fluid with their roots like a sponge. Anyone who starts orchid breeding should first obtain the finished plant substrate from specialist retailers. Experienced orchid breeders can mix together the right substrate for themselves. The right substrate prevents root rot and does not enrich it too much with the salts from the fertilizer.
  • Needs a particularly coarse and stable substrate
  • Good is humus and other nutrients
  • Is dependent on adequate ventilation of the roots
  • Ideal is the following mixture: peat moss and moss, rotten leaves, chopped fern roots, cork meal and conifers of coniferous trees
  • Optimum pH is between 5 and 5.5, ie slightly acidic
  • Sensitive to too much lime in the soil

Pouring & fertilizing

The Phalaenopsis prefers a humid climate. However, in most homes, the radiators are mostly mounted under the windowsill, as under the ideal location for the plant. For this reason, it is in the cold season exposed to the much too dry heating air. In general, it can be stated that the warmer and lighter the plants are, the more water is needed. In butterfly orchids, the plant substrate must not be left dry for too long. Although the plants tolerate a short-term dryness, this phase is not helpful for the development of healthy flowers and many leaves.
  • Water weekly in summer, every two weeks in winter
  • Alternatively, a dip is possible
  • Water only when the substrate is already dry
  • Avoid waterlogging, leads to root rot
  • Ideal is soft and lime-free water
  • Irrigation water should never be too cold, but rather lukewarm
  • Lightly spray air roots in the morning with a little water
  • Also proceed with dry heating air
  • Fertilize only in the growth phase
  • Fertilize every four weeks
  • Optimal is orchid fertilizer, weakly concentrated

Flowers, leaves & growth

Orchidaceae phalaenopsis - butterfly orchids

When pruning is less more in terms of the health of the butterfly orchid. The older leaves on the lower side become dry over time and die off by themselves. If already withered flowers are cut off from the shoot, then this section promotes the sprouting of other flower spikes. Also removed are blown stems so that the phalaenopsis can form new stems. The sensitive roots should not be pruned, except when it comes to putrid areas. In this case, the old plant substrate must be disposed of in order to prevent re-infection of healthy root parts.
  • Carefully pick off dead and dried leaves
  • Cut off withered flowers if necessary
  • Carefully cut out rotting root pieces
  • For safety, replace the substrate directly
  • Cut off blooming flower stems
  • Start cutting from the bottom to the second to third knot
  • Only use a sharp cutting tool
  • First disinfect everything thoroughly


In living rooms and heated greenhouses, wintering is not a problem, but temperatures should not fall below 16° C. The butterfly orchids simply remain in their habitual location during the wintertime. If extensive airing is done in the immediate vicinity, then the plants should be relocated to a warm and sheltered location during this period. Some experts advise that the orchids should be kept much colder over the winter, at temperatures between 5° -10° C. This procedure should positively promote the blossoming in the next growing season. However, the casting units must be extremely limited, because otherwise it can come to rotting phenomena at these low temperatures.
  • Do not let the plant dry out
  • Fertilization is not required during this time
  • Take care when airing
  • Extremely dry heating air counteract
  • Keep humidity level evenly
  • Place bowl of water under the pot


Orchidaceae phalaenopsis - butterfly orchids

The butterfly orchids can also be propagated on their own. Phalaenopsis form from the shoot eyes on the pseudobulbs or directly on the pedicel new Kindel. By a regular increase the plants remain healthy and their blooming joy is maintained. In this way, the orchid collection is constantly growing and there is always a nice gift idea at hand.
  • Propagation by sowing or Kindel possible
  • Cut off Kindel and place in new substrate
  • Sowing is difficult and only for specialists
  • New varieties can be grown by sowing

Diseases & pests

Diseases are mainly caused by permanently wet roots in orchids cultivated in Germany. In this way, bacteria and fungi get a perfect breeding ground. If pruning causes large wounds and unclean cuts, bacteria can invade the plant unhindered. If the flower buds fall off more, then this is not always an indication of a disease. These symptoms often show after a conversion or in wrong site conditions. Too little light, not enough water and low humidity permanently weaken the immune system of the plants. In case of a pest infestation use only agents intended for orchids.
  • Check regularly for infestations and diseases
  • Susceptible to scale insects, spider mites and mealybugs
  • Wipe off pests with soapy water and rinse with clear water
  • In case of disease symptoms check the site conditions
  • Does not tolerate persistent smoke in the air
  • Ethylene by fruit ripening is perceived as disturbing
  • Avoid drafts at all costs

Video Board: How to Repot an Orchid: Phalaenopsis.

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