Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Phalaeonopsis Orchid

These tropical beauties are very popular these days, with good reason. Their butterfly-like flowers are sensational!  And the stunning blooms should last for at least a month. The blooms in the top picture are over 4 months old and are just beginning to fade! With diligent care, they hold up well.

Many varieties  are available on the market, most of them are white, sometimes with rose or purple. The new hybrids have brought us some other variations like the bright purple one seen here. You can find them almost anywhere you can buy plants.

The white blooms pictured above are from my own orchid plants. I've owned one of these plants for a long time and it has happily bloomed every  year, usually beginning near winter's end. The vibrant purple blooming phalaeonopsis belongs to a neighbor of mine. It was a gift to her and after awhile was declining in health. I told her the best secret that I have found to successfully growing orchids: when watering your orchid, make sure you put the pot in a sink, water it thoroughly and let it drain well. Gently spray the leaves, while you're at it.

The phalaeonopsis is an epiphytic orchid, meaning they grow in trees not from the ground. They naturally grow in exotic places such as the Philippines, Indonesia, and New Guinea.  

Care Instructions-- 
  • For the Phalaeonopsis and most orchids--Bright indirect light or an hour or two of direct sun. They thrive in a north facing window or with a little morning sun. They can be placed in lower light for awhile, but should be returned to higher light eventually.  
  • Give them water when dry about 1/2" below the soil surface.  Water thoroughly in a sink so that the water is evenly distributed. Let the excess water drain away in the sink for a few minutes before returning the plant to its decorative pot or saucer. That way it won't sit in water.
  • The leaves like a cleaning and appreciate the moisture, too.  If your home is fairly dry, a daily mist of water would be very welcome as they do need some humidity. 
  • Fertilize regularly and it should bloom once a year, usually beginning during winter, for at least a month, often longer.  

***View short videos from my 90's TV series here:   The Indoor Garden TV show


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