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Moth Orchid is a genus of orchids belonging to the orchid family, Orchidaceae.

Image of Moth Orchid plant at Google

Moth Orchid is a genus of orchids belonging to the orchid family, Orchidaceae. Phalaenopsis is abbreviated Phal in the horticultural trade. This genus of orchids comprises of about 60 species. This genus is known for many of its artificial hybrids.

The generic name means “Phalaen[a]-like” which resembles moths in flight and hence these orchids are also known as Moth Orchids.

They are native throughout Southeast Asia from the Himalayan Mountains to the islands of Polillo, Palawan and Zamboanga del Norte in the island of Mindanao in the Philippines and northern Australia.

The species can be classified into two groups:
– One with a long, branched inflorescence (up to 1 m long) and large, almost round flowers with rose or white tints.
– The other with short stems and less rounded waxy flowers with more pronounced colors.

Some species are:
– Phalaenopsis amabilis (Moon Orchid; East Malaysia to Papuasia)
– Phalaenopsis amabilis subsp. amabilis (East Malaysia to Papuasia).
– Phalaenopsis amabilis subsp. amabilis forma Grandiflora (the Philippines – Palawan island).
– Phalaenopsis amabilis subsp. moluccana (Northeastern Borneo to the Moluccas).
– Phalaenopsis amabilis subsp. rosenstromii (New Guinea to Queensland).
– Phalaenopsis amboinensis (Sulawesi to the Moluccas).
– Phalaenopsis amboinensis var. amboinensis (the Moluccas).
– Phalaenopsis amboinensis var. flavida (Sulawesi)
– Phalaenopsis aphrodite (Southeastern Taiwan to the Philippines).
– Phalaenopsis aphrodite subsp. aphrodite (the Philippines).
– Phalaenopsis aphrodite subsp. formosana (Southeastern Taiwan).
– Phalaenopsis appendiculata (Malaya to northeastern Borneo).
– Phalaenopsis bastianii (the Philippines – Luzon).
– Phalaenopsis bellina (Borneo).
– Phalaenopsis borneensis (Borneo).
– Phalaenopsis braceana (Eastern Himalayas to China – Yunnan).
– Phalaenopsis buyssoniana (Indochina).

Growing/Caring conditions for Moth Orchid
– Select a location which receives natural sunlight.
– Care should be taken that the location is not too hot.
– Indirect light is preferred in summer.
– Plant the orchid in the location.
– Water the orchid well.
– Care should be taken, not to overwater the orchid.
– Keep the orchid moist.
– Plant blooms in the fall to spring.
– Repotting annually is better for some orchids.
– Plant the orchid in a potting mix of mulch for tropical plants.
– Fertilize the orchid with plant food that is specific for orchids.
– Control the way roots get their oxygen because it is an important factor when they grow.
– This plant needs rich and fertile soil.
– This plant needs well draining soil.
– Add tree fern fibers (for small plants), several pieces of coarse fir bark, or sphagnum moss for draining.
– Dead growth and branches should be removed.

The following fungal and bacterial infections are known to attack the plant.
– Leaf spot is caused by Colletotrichum and Gleosporium
– Leaf blight – caused by Pythium
– Collar blocth – caused by Penicilium thomii
– Collar rot – caused by Sclerotium
– Orchid wilt – caused by Sclerotium rolfsli

To avoid the above, fungicides like Captan, Dithane, Agrosan and Ceresan are very effective.
– More than 32 diseases are known to occur on orchids with the most common are Cymbidium mosaic virus.
– All infected plants should be isolated to prevent spreading of the disease for avoiding.
– The most commonly reported insects pests on orchids are thrips, aphids, spidermite, soft scale, mealy bugs, orchid weevil, snail and slugs.
– They feed on tender young shoot, suck the sap and damage the young bud and shoot and also act as the carrier of different diseases.
– These can be controlled by effective insecticides like Parathion, Malathion, BHC, Aldrin, Dieldrin, etc. Metaldehyde has proved to be very effective in killing slugs and snails.

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