Phalaenopsis amboinensis is a highly valued orchid species due to its beautiful flowers. Native to eastern Indonesia, this orchid is also called the month Sulawesi orchid.
Growers particularly enjoy adding Phal. amboinensis to their collections because these orchids flower in succession, meaning that they have one or two blooms at a time followed by another couple of blooms.
How to Care for Phalaenopsis Amboinensis
Phalaenopsis are considered relatively easy orchids to care for. That being said, you do need to take care to provide the correct light, moisture, and temperature conditions in order for these orchids to thrive.
Phalaenopsis amboinensis needs less light compared to most plants. Place the orchids in a spot where they will receive morning light. While you want to keep this orchid out of direct sunlight, if they do not receive enough light or if the hours of light are too short, this orchid will stop growing.
Temperature & Humidity
This orchid grows naturally in a hot, humid environment. In its natural environment, the temperature ranges from 84 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity of 70 to 90 percent. You don’t have to provide these exact conditions inside, though.
If you live in a warmer climate, you should not have a problem growing Phalaenopsis amboinensis indoors. Keep the temperature at around room temperature, but don’t allow huge drops; don’t let the temperature get below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You may need to use a humidifier to keep your Phalaenopsis amboinensis happy, but you can also use sphagnum moss as the growing medium to help keep moisture around the roots, as this helps mimic natural conditions.
How Much Water Does a Phalaenopsis Orchid Need?
The frequency that Phalaenopsis orchids need to be watered differs depending on several factors, including your climate and the growing medium in which they are planted. The general rule is to water Phalaenopsis planted in bark about every 7 days and to water Phalaenopsis planted in moss every 12 to 14 days.
If you live in a dry environment, you may find that you need to water twice as often. If you top-dress your growing mix with moss or pebbles, this may retain moisture longer and you might not need to water as often.
Do not use regular potting mix for your orchids; it will retain too much water and cause the plant to begin rotting.
Instead, use a bark mix, moss, or a mix created for orchids. You need a mix that holds on to some moisture but also allows the water to drain quickly. Moss holds on to moisture for longer while bark mixes allow for better drainage. Most beginners find that a bark mix is the easiest one to get right while you are first growing orchids.
Like most houseplants, orchids benefit from fertilizer. Phalaenopsis amboinensis, especially, thrive with fertilizer because this allows them to continue blooming in succession.
Use a gentle, balanced fertilizer on orchids. Premium Orchid Food is a great option because it can be used every time you water and the formula is already diluted, meaning that you do not have to worry about applying too much fertilizer and burning your orchid’s roots.
Should I Fertilize My Orchids While They Are Blooming?
You can continue to fertilize your orchids while they are blooming if you are using diluted fertilizer. Orchids do not need as much fertilizer while they are actively growing, so it is okay to fertilize less frequently while orchids are in bloom. Instead of fertilizing once a week, you can switch to fertilizing every two to three weeks during the growing season.
Phalaenopsis Amboinensis Flowers
This orchid has particularly interesting flowers. The flowers have a pale yellow base with vivid red/brown stripes. Phal. amboinensis generally begins flowering in late winter or early spring. The orchid produces one or two flowers at a time and flowers in succession. The flowers are long-lasting, so this is a great choice to add long-term color to your orchid collection.
How Often Does a Phalaenopsis Orchid Flower?
Phalaenopsis amboinensis is a sequential bloomer, meaning that they have one or two flowers blooming at a time in succession. This makes them perfect for orchid lovers who want to always have something blooming.
You do not need to cut off the flower spike on these orchids because they will produce a new stem for the next blooms. While Phal. amboinensis may not have the number of blooms that other orchids produce, it makes up for this by having long-lasting blooms that you can enjoy over and over.
How Do I Care for My Phalaenopsis Orchids After They Bloom?
You may think that you need to cut off flower spikes after they have finished blooming, and while this is true for some types of orchids, it is not necessary for Phal. amboinensis. This orchid will produce new stems for the next batch of blossoms. Cutting off flower spikes does not encourage more blooms in this particular orchid.
Phalaenopsis Amboinensis Fragrance
This orchid has a strong musk fragrance, not as sweet as you might get from other orchids. Some people particularly enjoy this scent while others find it to be unpleasant. If you have strong reactions to certain scents, you might want to smell this one for yourself before bringing it into your home.
How to Repot Phalaenopsis Amboinensis
Phalaenopsis amboinensis should be repotted every two to three years if you are using a growing mix that breaks down over time. Otherwise, the growing medium may retain too much water and begin to cause the roots to rot.
The best time to repot Phalaenopsis is during the spring or fall. Avoid repotting while the plant is in bloom.
Here’s what you’ll need.
- A pot 1 inch wider in diameter than the current pot
- Growing medium
- Sharp scissors or pruners
Step 1: Remove the orchid from its current pot.
Tip the pot on its side, and gently remove the orchid from its current pot. Unless the plant has become root-bound, it should slide out fairly easily.
Step 2: Prepare the orchid for its new pot.
Gently remove any old growing medium from the orchid’s roots. You may need to run water over the roots to get all the pieces out.
Use the scissors or pruners to remove any dead or damaged roots. Cut off any roots that appear dry or shriveled instead of healthy.
Step 3: Place the orchid in the new pot.
Add a couple inches of growing medium to the bottom of the new pot. Carefully place the orchid in the pot, spreading out the roots. The bottom leaf of the orchid should be just above the pot rim. Gently add more growing medium around the roots. Don’t compact the growing medium against the roots, but don’t leave large gaps of air either.
Step 4: Water right away.
For the first watering after repotting, place the pot in a container half full of water. Allow the plant to soak for up to 30 minutes.
Continue watering on a regular schedule after this.
For the first two to three months after repotting, avoid using fertilizer. The roots will be especially delicate. While a light fertilizer is unlikely to harm them, it’s better to wait just to be on the safe side.
Phalaenopsis Amboinensis Propagation
Phalaenopsis orchids are usually propagated by transplanting the keikis that grow on its nodes. Commercial growers propagate using seeds or tissue culture, but those methods require equipment that most orchid admirers are unlikely to have.
A keiki is a naturally occuring plantlet that appears on the nodes of an orchid’s stem. To encourage these plantlets to form, you can use a keiki rooting hormone. Using sterile shears or a knife, cut into a bud at a node. Apply the keiki rooting hormone according to the package instructions.
Once the keiki forms, allow it to grow until the roots are at least 3 inches long. Then separate it from the orchid and place it in its own pot. Mist with water daily until you notice the roots establishing.
Varieties of Phalaenopsis Amboinensis
If you’ve decided that you’re interested in having Phal. amboinensis but aren’t sure which variety to get, here are a few of the most popular varieties.
Phalaenopsis Amboinensis “Nicole”
This Phal. amboinensis is particularly sought after for its colors and fragrant smell. The flowers are a yellow-white with dark-red stripes.
Phalaenopsis Amboinensis x bellina
Sometimes called a Phal. Guadalupe Pineda, this hybrid has multiple flower spikes that continue blooming from the same spikes for years. Like most Phal. amboinensis, this hybrid is very fragrant. The colors on this cross may vary.
Phalaenopsis Amboinensis Flava
While most Phal. amboinensis flowers are a creamy white-yellow with dark-red or brown stripes, this form has bright yellow or golden stripes instead.
Phalaenopsis Amboinensis White
Also known as the Phal. amboinensis common form, this variety has white petals with red patches.
Phalaenopsis are considered easy orchids to care for. The main struggles are keeping the proper temperatures and watering correctly.
Rapid fluctuations in temperature can damage Phalaenopsis amboinensis. Keep them in an area of your house that does not have drastic changes in temperature. While you might think that the best place to keep orchids is next to a window, being too close to a window can drastically reduce the temperature in the winter.
Overwatering and underwatering can also be issues. The signs of overwatering and underwatering look similar, so check the roots to see which one is the problem if you notice an issue. Brown, mushy roots are a sign of overwatering and tell you that you need to water less often. Grey and shriveled roots are a sign of underwatering and tell you that you need to water more often.
Phalaenopsis Amboinensis Care FAQ
FAQ: Why does my Phalaenopsis have yellow leaves?
There are several reasons why a Phalaenopsis might have yellow leaves.
The first is that it is normal for old leaves to yellow and drop off. However, sometimes yellow leaves are a sign that something is wrong.
Too much light can cause leaves to yellow. Try moving your orchid out of direct sunlight.
The wrong temperature can also cause leaves to yellow. Make sure the temperature is not dropping below 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night. During the winter, move your orchids farther away from windows.
Overwatering can cause leaves to turn yellow. Make sure that you only water when the top inch of growing medium has dried out. Check that your growing medium is draining water properly.
Underwatering can also cause leaves to turn yellow. If your orchid seems dehydrated, change your watering schedule to water more frequently.
FAQ: Can I grow Phalaenopsis outside?
Wondering if you can grow your orchids outdoors? If you are in zones 10 to 12, then you can place your Phalaenopsis in a location with warm, humid conditions that is shady but has some sun.
If you live in a different zone that is still warm and humid, you can bring your Phalaenopsis outside when temperatures are between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Constant change is not good for orchids, so unless you can consistently leave your orchids outside for long periods of time, it’s better to keep them inside.
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