Here's more information from a distichum owner from another forum who had been growing this plant for 4-5 years. I couldn't copy the pictures, but I will say that the plant was gorgeous looking. He says it's not a good idea to disturb the roots, and something else I got from this is that if your culture seems to be fine, and the plant is not doing much, it might be because it is adapting to its new environment- and building up hormones, or something.
Thought you might like to see my distichum, which was purchased in 2003 or 2004. At the time, it had three growths, so that should give you an idea of the speed with which it grows.
I'm posting two photos, to give you an idea of what to expect if it's happy. I tried to get the exposure right, too, such that you can see the difference between the new growth and older growth from previous seasons. Each growth has added between eight and twelve leaves so far this season, which is the most vigorous since I've had it. I assume that most of this is due to its larger overall mass (LOL!!), but may also be due to the air chiller I added earlier this year which keeps temps about 10F less than previously during hot weather, and also adds some humidity.
During the summer I'm 75-80F at night, and 86-94F along my "cool wall" during the day -- which is where my angraecoids hang. Winter nighttime lows have been in the high 30s, but usually are mid 40s to 50. Seasonal growth cultivation is best for all angraecoids, which means a drier (but still humid) winter, and wet (but well-drained) growing season. Winter daily high temperatures are the most variable for me, because it's extremely difficult to control temps when it's cool outside and I have things buttoned-up without the exhaust running, then later the sun comes out and it gets like an oven inside.
One thing I'd like to add about seasonal growth is light hours. Changing light hours gives a plant certain signals, and without these changes in both time and intensity, it will alter how the plant responds. This makes indoor cultivation different, and perhaps not as optimal as outdoors.
The plant has added five new basal growths this year. In the top photo, you can see four of these in the lower left portion of the way the plant is presented. In the lower right of that photo, you can see that an older growth has divided and is producing three new growths from the tip -- instead of one. (I haven't kept track of the growths, but I suspect that this particular growth is one of the original growths. It didn't do much since I purchased it, but probably was building up hormones in the tip which reached "critical mass" this year.) In the second, front-view photo, you can see the number of newer leaves that have been added this season. For size reference, the cork mount is 4" wide by 8" tall.
I dislike using rules of thumb such as "phal light", although it's a good general guide. I've grown phals in partial sun, and I'm not sure that would be a good idea with this little guy. I agree with MrB that it can take a bit more light than what one would assume with "phal light" -- keeping in mind that that is a variable measure. I believe I may be erring on the shadier side of things, and could probably go brighter, because I have never gotten what I would describe as a really good flush of blooms.
The fact that I haven't yet gotten a good flush of blooms may also be due to the fact that this particular plant was a cutting from a larger specimen, then rooted in a small pot. I could accurately describe the first two years as "sulking". As with most angraecoids (there are a few exceptions), they dislike intensely having roots disturbed, or otherwise having their growth disrupted violently. Perhaps now that this plant is growing well is a portent of good things to come. I sure hope so!
One other thing about this species is that it has relatively few roots. Don't disturb them! You'll inevitably set it back.
On the "pro" side of the argument about less light, most of the light this plant receives is from the right side pictured as you view the plant from the front. Now, if it's growing to the left because that's simply how the plant is oriented, or if it's reflecting an effort to escape brighter light...is an unknown at this time. The other, existing growths are not exhibiting any preference either way, so that would seem to indicate that it is not seeking shadier conditions.
Hope this helps! It's a great little mini, attractive both in and out of bloom.