Alan Titchmarsh shares ‘trick’ to growing a moth orchid – how often to water houseplant

Alan Titchmarsh shares tips for looking after moth orchids

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Sharing advice in a 2016 BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine YouTube video, Alan explained how to care for a moth orchid. He said: “There’s one group of flowering plants which until recently terrified the pants off people because they thought they must be difficult to grow – the orchids.

“Then a few years ago came the moth orchid, phalaenopsis.

“Well, to be absolutely honest, it’s been around for a long time, but the brain has got to work on it and managed to create a race of plants which were brilliant as houseplants for people who weren’t particularly good at growing things.”

Moth orchids can last up to several months if cared for properly.

Alan added: “The trick is looking after them. Mainly not overwatering them, because if you look right down at the bottom you’ll see most of them come in a transparent pot.

“That’s because these roots are coated in something which is called phellogen. 

“It absorbs atmospheric moisture but it also quite enjoys being exposed to light, so this transparent pot will allow the light to get through.”

Orchids also like growing in chipped bark, because it mimics their environment.

Overwatering the bark can cause the orchids to rot and even die.

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The expert recommended watering moth orchids around once a week maximum, letting it drain through the plant each time.

The indoor plant should also never be left sitting in a puddle of water.

During the winter months, they may need to be watered even less than once a week.

Owners should use tepid water, preferably rainwater to water their houseplant with.

Once the flowers fade, Alan recommended leaving it until it had no flowers and just leaves at the bottom of the plant.

He said: “The temptation now is to take your secateurs and think the flowers have gone…don’t do you dare.”

Alan explained that moth orchids can flower several times.

The expert added: “If you look down the stem you will see scales every so often, and they’re actually surrounding buds and if you cut back to where the stem has died a little, not going any further than that, then other stems can grow from these buds.”

Orchids can bloom at any time of the year, even during the winter months.

However, they must be kept above 16 degrees celsius and be placed in a bright light location, but not direct sunshine.

They should also be kept away from radiators during the winter months as well as away from draughts.

Moth orchids dislike fluctuating temperatures and it can seriously damage them.

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