Understanding the Growth Habits of Phalaenopsis Orchids
If you want your Phalaenopsis orchids to grow healthily and happily, it is essential that you try to understand their growing habits. Knowing how and where these orchids grow will help you provide the optimal growing conditions for them.
Phalaenopsis Orchids are Monopodial Plants
Orchids are either sympodial or monopodial—meaning they either grow horizontally or vertically, respectively. Phalaenopsis orchids are monopodial, and they grow upwards until they reach a certain height. The term “monopodial” means “one foot” in Greek, and it describes the single-stem characteristic of a monopodial plant. The leaves of such a plant grow alternately on the sides of the stem, and the lower ones will fall off first as the plant becomes older. The flower spikes grow from the stem as well, not from the end. A monopodial orchid does not have pseudobulbs for storing water and nutrients, but its succulent leaves and roots have some storage capacity. Its roots have chlorophyll under their coverings for photosynthetic purposes. Since it has insufficient storage, a monopodial orchid does not undergo a dormant period, and it requires consistent care throughout the year.
Phals are Epiphytes
Most orchids that are being cultivated, including Phalaenopsis orchids, are epiphytes. “Epiphyte” is a Greek term meaning “grow on a plant” or “air plant”. An epiphyte grows on a tree or rock, and its roots are exposed to the air instead of buried underground. However, it is not a parasite. It only perches on another plant, but it gets its nutrients and moisture from rain, air, and debris.
Watch our Orchid Care Videos to learn how to provide the best growing conditions for your Phalaenopsis orchid.