How to Care for a Moth Orchid


Moth orchids, from the Phalaenopsis family, are one of the most popular potted plants on the market. They bloom in yellow, pink, purple, white and other colors and have green or purple spongy roots that sometimes grow out of the pot into open air. This type of orchid is a great introductory orchid as it requires little care to thrive. It does, however, have some needs you must attend to in order for it to bloom and survive.

Step 1

Place pebbles on a tray and fill it with water. Put the potted plant on top of the tray. The water will evaporate and increase the humidity for the plant, which it especially needs in winter when homes are dry.

Step 2

Place the moth orchid, tray and all, in bright, indirect light. East- and north-facing windows provide the best environment for the plant. If you place the plant in a south-facing window, protect it from scorching direct light with a sheer curtain.

Step 3

Water the moth orchid deeply during the growing season, avoiding the blooms. Allow the potting medium to dry slightly before watering deeply again. Do not allow the orchid to wilt, but do not over-water either as this can cause root rot.

Step 4

Feed the moth orchid by placing 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of water-soluble fertilizer in your watering can each time you water during the growing season. In the winter months, use 1/4 tsp. maximum every third watering.

Step 5

Re-pot the moth orchid when it begins outgrow its current pot. Tip the plant upside down and let it slide out. Gently shake the plant, allowing the current potting medium to fall off. Clip off any dead roots. Position the plant in a larger pot and pour the orchid potting medium around the roots, allowing it to settle. Use a potting medium including only sphagnum moss, stone, perlite and bark to create the right environment for the roots.

Things You'll Need

  • Tray
  • Pebbles
  • Water
  • Water-soluble fertilizer
  • Clippers
  • Larger pot
  • Orchid potting medium


  • Iowa State University Extension: Moth Orchids
  • Texas A&M Extension: Moth Orchid
  • University of Minnesota Extension: The Moth Orchid Takes Off!
Keywords: moth orchid care, caring for moth orchids, Phalaenopsis maintenance, moth orchid maintenance

About this Author

Sarah Morse recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature. She has been freelancing for three months and got her start writing for an environmental website.