In the traditional, deeply nostalgic world of gardening, it’s amazing how quickly some things can change. When I was a plant-mad teenager back in the 1990s, the moth orchid, Phalaenopsis, was considered an unbelievably rare new introduction that cost a fortune and was only available in a few colours. Fast forward just a few decades and they are now sold for no more than the price of everyday bedding plants at supermarket checkouts and garage forecourts everywhere. But this immense spike in popularity is not without good reason, so here is my guide to getting the very best out of them.
Hailing from the shaded forest branches of the cool, highlands regions of southeast Asia, moth orchids are in many ways the perfect houseplant, as they are adapted to essentially the exact environmental conditions we humans like the most. In terms of light levels, temperature and humidity, if you are happy to sit and read in a particular spot wearing a T-shirt and jeans, they will love it there too. So, with these factors automatically ticked off by meeting our own needs, there are only three other things to bear in mind when it comes to spoiling these plants: water, fertiliser and pruning.