Orchid phalaenopsis-2560X1790

Orchid Phalaenopsis: Troubleshooting

Orchid Phalaenopsis: Troubleshooting

The Phalaenopsis Orchid, sometimes referred to as Phals, Moth Orchids, or Butterfly Orchids, is one of the most magnificent cut flowers you can display. Their resemblance to a butterfly in flight makes them one of the most distinct and beautiful flowers anywhere. Available year-round in a multitude of colors, many varieties have intricate patterns and unusual color combinations making them a superb focal point for any and all occasions.  Phalaenopsis may appear delicate but don't be fooled. Phals boast a remarkably long vase life when a few simple care and handling guidelines are followed.

Problems & Solutions


Ethylene Sensitivity


Phalaenopsis Orchids are extremely ethylene sensitive which might result in flower abscission (or drop) when exposed. Ethylene damage appears as translucent or dried patches on petals and sepals or darkening of the lip and column. To minimize the risk of the negative effects due to ethylene exposure, Phalaenopsis can benefit from an ethylene action-inhibitor product such as EthylBloc™* during storage and transportation or from an STS treatment at farm level such as FloraLife® EthylGuard*.


Disease Sensitivity


Botrytis (small circular pinkish or brown spots), and Anthracnose (small round black spots on petals) or flower blight can occur on petals. Good sanitation and humidity management helps control the development of Botrytis. Do not over pack boxes, always allow good airflow and avoid temperature fluctuations during shipping to prevent condensation from forming inside the packaging.


Mechanical Damage


Susceptible to mechanical damage due to improper packing. Extra care should be taken to cushion blooms, and blooms should not rest or touch each other to avoid damage.

Need to Know: Orchid Phalaenopsis Helpful Hints

Properly Dosing and Mixing Flower Food: The Benefits

  • Helps blooms fully develop and open.
  • Helps Phal Orchids stay hydrated and avoid wilting.
  • Results in longer vase life and better color development.

Keep them Fresh!

  • It is recommended to treat with an ethylene action-inhibitor product such as EthylBloc™* during storage and transportation or FloraLife® EthylGuard* at farm level then hydrate with FloraLife® Express Clear 100.
  • Recommended flower food solution for storage/transport: FloraLife® Express Clear ULTRA 200.
  • Recommended flower food solution for end consumers: FloraLife® Express Universal 300, FloraLife® Universal 300* or FloraLife Crystal Clear®* packets.
  • Cooler / storage temperature should be 55-65°F, 13-18°C.
  • Phalaenopsis Orchids should ship dry pack with a water tube containing flower food solution for storage and transport. Line your boxes with FloraLife® Transport Paper sheets prior to shipping from farms.


  • Average vase life for Phalaenopsis Orchids is 3-6 weeks if protected from ethylene damage.
  • Opening speed is extremely slow, flowers begin blooming at the bottom of the spike working their way up to the top. Opening speed will increase with warmer ambient temperature.
  • Phalaenopsis Orchids can be mixed with other flowers without any negative effects.
  • Phals should be purchased when at least two flowers per spike are open, or fully open if the bloom is purchased individually. Look for perky flowers that are free of discoloration, spotting and brown tips. Chilling injury can occur at temperatures below 7C (45F), symptoms are like ethylene injury. Check the flowers for any damage when you receive them. The flowers are supplied in tubes filled with solution. You can store them in these tubes. However, check the water level regularly and top off if low. We strongly recommend using FloraLife® Express Clear ULTRA 200 as the storage solution in your water tubes.
  • Phals can be used for cut-flower arrangements. Blooms can be used for corsage work. They will generally do well in light levels bright enough to comfortably read a newspaper but more light (up to filtered full sunlight) help cut Phals last their longest. When displaying long stems of Phal orchids, it’s important to support them in a tall, slender vase. If not, they will have trouble getting water to the flowers, shortening vase life. Can be used in foam but the vase life is shorter than in vases. Use OASIS® secure foam to support heavy, thick stems. Check foam often to be sure stems stay hydrated. Use FloraLife® Finishing Touch or FloraLife® Crowning Glory® spray to keep blooms fresh and hydrated.


  • Follow the FIFO (First in First Out) guidelines for inventory rotation. For best end consumer vase life experience, Phalaenopsis Orchids should be stored no longer than 1 week.


Want to learn more? Visit FloraLife.com or contact your local representation for an in-person consultation!

*Product availability depends upon geographical region. Check here for more information.