Phalaenopsis orchids are epiphytic, which means that their roots are capable of photosynthesis, and therefore can be exposed to light without any harm to the plant. They grow naturally in tropical climates, above ground on tree bark. For indoor growing, a location by a window but not in direct sunlight would be best.
The orchid was given to me in a small clear plastic pot which did not have the weight to support the top-heavy plant. I got a tall clear glass vase, polished pebbles and medium bark.
Repot in the morning, so the orchid has enough daylight hours to recuperate. Here’s a photo before repotting:
Pebbles at the bottom, above it the bark and the plant. Remember to remove all old bark from the previous pot. Cut off rotten roots and put cinnamon powder on the cut to disinfect. Department store orchids are usually not handled with as much care as those purchased from a reputable nursery, so assume there will be rotten roots and be prepared to take care of them before repotting.
Some people get the new bark wet first before putting it in the pot with the orchid. They skip watering until the bark dries up (usually a week). Some people water after repotting. Rain water is best. Chlorinated water isn’t advised. I used spring water.
I poured just enough water to level under the bark. Roots must never soak in water. The water at pebbles’ level will provide humidity to make up for the dry indoor heat in winter-proof homes.
There is no need to fertilize while the plant is flowering. Wait until all bark is dry before watering again.
I hope my orchid keeps blooming in 2010!