Phalaenopsis orchid in sphagnum moss or in bark?

phalaenopsis orchid roots image

There are 2 types of potting medium for orchids generally used by people: sphagnum moss and bark. Every way of growing the plant, either potting phalaenopsis orchid in sphagnum moss or letting it develop in bark, has its pros and cons. Ideally the potting material possesses the following features:

- provides the roots with proper aeration;
- contains no toxic materials;
- absorbs nutrients easily and releases them slowly;
- doesn’t decompose fast;
- ensures good drainage;

Neither of these substrates for phalaenopsis orchid meets all the requirements. Still, those are materials more suitable for the species than any other potting medium.

Sphagnum moss is a fine material which can boast of its water retention ability. On the other hand this substrate cannot maintain adequate aeration for root respiration. It’s also a challenge to transplant phalaenopsis orchid in sphagnum moss.

Bark can provide the roots with adequate aeration but its ability to hold water is pretty poor. However, the species can grow successfully in bark thanks to its roots with photosynthetic ability. The moisture is absorbed from the air.
Only a little fertilizer is needed to keep the plant healthy.

If you have seen phalaenopsis orchid images where the species is grown in sphagnum moss and if you compare them with the depiction of the plant kept in bark, you will hardly notice any difference. The best choice here is to use the mixture of the mentioned materials.