Meet the splendid moth orchid

The Phalaenopsis orchid is a slender plant with shining leaves, whose flowers emerge charmingly from the top of long stems. Also known as the moth orchid, this may be the prettiest species in your plant collection.

Colours and shapes

Phalaenopsis’ nickname of moth orchid is derived from the shape of its flowers that resembles fluttering, elegant moths. The plant is popular with fans of pastels, because it comes in purple, pink, salmon, white and yellow varieties. If you see a bright blue version, know that the colour effect has been created with dye. There are also patterned varieties, which produce petals boasting pretty spots or stripes. You can also spot Phalaenopsis by its fleshy roots, thick, shiny leaves and tall flower stems.


Phalaenopsis isn't just lovely to look at, its symbolism is also charming. It's almost a given that this flower stands for elegance, femininity and attachment.


In the wild, Phalaenopsis orchids grow on trees and rocks in the tropical rainforests in Asia and Australia. It makes this plant an epiphyte, one that lives on other plants but without drawing nutrients from them. In the 18th century Europeans abroad brought Phalaenopsis back home with them, where it was quickly and successfully established as a houseplant.