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A picture of a East Indian Butterfly Plant

East Indian Butterfly Plant

Phalaenopsis amabilis

Phalaenopsis amabilis 13-01-2010 15-36-23 by Paul Hermans (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Partial Shade
Moderate care
Moderate watering


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








1 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of East Indian Butterfly Plant

Phalaenopsis amabilis white flower
A close up of a Phalaenopsis amabilis white flower
A photo of East Indian Butterfly Plant

East Indian Butterfly Plant Overview

Phalaenopsis amabilis is an epiphytic orchid species in the family Orchidaceae. It is also known as East Indian butterfly plant and it produces 3-5 oval, fleshy leaves up to 50cm long. Long-lasting flowers are strongly scented and pure white in colour. They can measure up to 10cm wide and have yellow-red patterning on the inner petal surfaces (flower throat). These are produced on branched raceme structures which can grow to 1m high.

Common problems with East Indian Butterfly Plant

Root rot is a common problem with over watering. Allow roots to dry between waterings. Slugs and snails can also sit between leaf nodes, remove promptly.

How to harvest East Indian Butterfly Plant

When the blooms are finished, cut the spike down to the level of the leaves and the plant will bloom with larger flowers and a strong stem within a year.

How to propagate East Indian Butterfly Plant


Small plantlets (keiki) appear from the nodes on the flower stems. Detach the plantlets when they have developed several good roots, and pot them up in orchid compost. Water sparingly at first.

Special features of East Indian Butterfly Plant

Indoor plant

Should be cultivated inside, a windowsill with dappled sunlight works best.

Attractive flowers

Pot plant

These plants are epiphytic, so if not attached to a branch of a tree, they should be grown in pots. A proprietary orchid compost (like bark) is recommended.