Archive for the ‘Orchids’ Category

Cattleya bicolor

Common name: Bicoloured Cattleya

Family: Orchidaceae

Synonymous: Cattleya bicolor var. caerulea
Cattleya bicolor subsp. minasgaerensis
Cattleya bicolor var. lewisii
Cattleya bicolor var. mearuresiana
Cattleya bicolor var. olocheilos
Cattleya bicolor var. splendida
Cattleya bicolor var. wrigleyana
Cattleya dupontii
Cattleya grossii
Cattleya measuresiana
Cattleya tetraploidea
Epidendrum bicolor
Epidendrum iridee

Cattleya bicolor

Cattleya bicolor

Distribution and habitat: Cattleya bicolor is native to Brazil where is occurring in different habitats. Typical, it is a species of epiphytic habit, but can also be found in earthly form growing on leaf litter and fallen pieces of wood of trees in forests, usually near rivers or swamps. In some regions can also be found growing on rocks. Also, it is found in savannah areas always between 500 to 1200m (1600-3900 feet) above sea level. When it is growing in savannah areas, does not tolerate direct sunlight, always growing in places where is protected from direct sun light and have good ventilation.
Some orchid growers are classifying Cattleya bicolor in different subspecies according to the state where they are found, but in fact it is the same species regardless of their morphological characteristics.

Description: Cattleya bicolor can grow to be a large robust plant and the larger the plant, the more flowers will be produced per spike. The slender stems are from 45 to 75cm (18 to 30 inch) high, jointed and covered with whitish membranaceous sheaths, bearing two leaves about 15cm (6 inch) long. The inflorescence is nearly erect, with 2 to 5 or more flowers. Flowers range from 8 to 10cm (3-4 inch) across. The sepals and petals are fleshy, with a distinct midnerve, greenish brown to olive-brown spotted with purple, the petals somewhat wavy, the lateral sepals bowed inward. The lip is wedge-shaped, without side lobes, curved downward with a central longitudinal depression or line, crimson-purple, occasionally with white margins. This species is unique in lacking the lateral lobes of the lip, a character usually inherited by its hybrid progeny, limiting its value in breeding. Variable in coloring, particularly with respect to the lip, this species blooms during spring and into midsummer, occasionally blooming twice, in spring and again in fall.

Houseplant care: Cattleya bicolor can be grown in a pot or basket and also mounted. It is a very demanding plant with respect to moisture and aeration of its roots, making its cultivation a little more complicated then other houseplants.

Light: Cattleya bicolor need bright light without direct sunlight.

Temperature: Warmth is essential. The minimum tolerant for Cattleya bicolor is in between 12 to 15°C (54-59°F). Protect this plants from sudden changes in temperature. For adequate humidity stand plants on shallow trays of moist pebbles throughout the growing season and mist-spray them daily whenever the temperature rises above 21°C (70°F).

Watering: During the active growth period water plentifully, but allow the potting mixture to dry out almost completely between waterings. During the six-week rest period that Cattleya bicolor take after flowering, water the plants just enough to prevent shriveling of the pseudobulbs.
Mounted plants will need daily watering during the warmer months. The roots prefer a wet-dry cycle, so should be allowed to dry quickly between waterings. Plants seem intolerant of continually wet conditions around the roots – hence the need for excellent drainage. Good air circulation is important at all times as well as high humidity during the warmer months. In winter plants need a drier rest with reduced watering. Occasional applications of water or misting of the roots in the mornings of sunny days will ensure that the pseudobulbs do not shrivel excessively.

Feeding: Give a foliar feed with every third or fourth watering during the active growth period.

Potting and repotting: Cattleya bicolor are best grown in pine bark mixture. At the end of the rest period move the plants into pots 5cm (2 inch) larger if leading growth has reached the rim of the current pots. Repotting should be only necessary every 2 or 3years. Place the old part of each plant against the rim of the new pot so that there is room to forward growth and gently firm down the fresh potting mixture around the rhizome and roots. Water the potting mixture plentifully. Then move the repotted specimen into medium light for a week or two before exposing it to bright light. After the maximum convenient pot size has been reached, divide the plant as suggested on propagation section.
They grow well in clay pots or baskets of wood because they need good roots aeration. Also this species can be grown mounted on a piece of wood or a tree branch.

Gardening: Cattleya bicolor is one of the easiest and most popular orchids to grow. These orchids are suited to intermediate conditions – 21 to 27°C (70-80°F) during day time and 13 to 18°C (55-65°F) during night. In areas where these temperatures are met more or less, these orchids can be left in place all year. In these areas, with some protection from excessive sun, wind and rain, the orchid plants can be successfully cultivated on the patio or as a part of the landscape. Where frost or temperatures fall below the recommended ones, the plants can be brought into the home to be grown on windowsills, under lights or on an unheated patio where the coldest temperatures are avoided.
Cattleya bicolor are usually grown in clay pots or baskets of wood. Alternatively these plants can be grown epiphytic mounted on trees branches.

Position: In their natural habitat, Cattleya bicolor grow and flower best in strong dappled sunlight. The most common cause of failure to flower is insufficient sunlight. Foliage should be a medium olive green. If light is sufficient the leaves will be weak and floppy and very green. If the foliage is more on the yellow side and quite hard, the plants are receiving possibly too much light.

Tree mounted epiphyte: Choose a tree that allow adequate light. Quercus species (oaks), Citrus species, Callistemon viminalis or Callistemon citrinus (bottlebrush), species from Arecaceae family (palm trees), Brassaia actinophylla (schefflera) and the less-common Crescentia alata (calabash) are prime candidates. Species of Ficus genus often casts too much shade. Rough bark is an asset, though not essential for success.
Begin to attach Cattleya bicolor orchids to trees when root activity on the orchids starts (usually the regular potting time). Set the plant directly on the trunk or limb; do not apply a pad of sphagnum moss, osmunda or other medium. Doing so may keep the surface too wet and induce rot. The roots have the ability to cling to the host. Use cotton string that will eventually decompose and not harm the environment. It fades in a few weeks, blending in with its surroundings, and the plant will have rooted in place when the fibers deteriorate one year later. Plastic ties and monofilament are alternatives. Hot-glue guns are another choice; place a dab of glue on the rhizome or pseudobulb and hold against the tree for a few seconds. Position the orchid so the flowers can be enjoyed from a patio, walkway or inside the home. Match aesthetics with cultural needs.
Provide adequate care, especially during the first few months. Mist with a hose or run a sprinkler line up into the tree. Established plants are almost carefree, although periodic applications of water and fertilizer are beneficial. When it is necessary to prune trees on which orchids grow, take care not to injure them. Once established, orchids last for many years.

Irrigation: In nature, the roots of Cattleya bicolor are exposed to a rapid cycle of wetting and drying from daily tropical storms. Cultivated orchids in pots must duplicate this wet-dry cycle. In general mature plants will need watering no more than once per week whereas smaller and younger plants in smaller pots will need watering more frequently, depending on the daily temperature.

Fertilisation: Cattleya bicolor are moderate feeders. In their natural habitat they are accustomed to a constantly available mild nutrient solution. This can be achieved with a dressing of organic fertiliser four times per year supplemented with a weak solution of liquid fertiliser every second week during their active growing period.

Propagation: To divide a Cattleya bicolor wait until forward growth has started to institute new roots and when the roots are 5-10mm (0.2-0.4 inch) long, divide and repot in fresh potting mixture. The section taken should have no less than 4 bulb sections each with a forward growth or eye. Place pots in medium light for about four weeks, then treat as mature plants. After potting stake the plant if necessary to hold the plant firm in the pot.

Problems: Cattleya bicolor orchid should be kept fairly dry in winter or flowering is impaired.

Cattleya bicolor plants are susceptible to spider mites, so it is important to provide ample humidity with air movement.
Treatment: Spray the infested orchids with a suitable insecticide and raise the humidity by standing the pot on a saucer of moist pebbles.

Scale insects and mealy bugs sometimes attack these plants, lurking in particular under the dried-up leaves on pseudobulbs and at the base of old flower stalks after these have been cut back.
Treatment: Physically removing the scales and then controlling the immature stages with chemical sprays may help lightly infested plants. Use an adequate pesticide to combat the insects infestation.

Slugs and snails like them so watch out.
Treatment: These pests are controlled using an appropriate molluscicide, both pellet and liquid forms or by hand pick at regular inspections.

Caterpillars sometimes chew the plant leaves.
Treatment: Apply a suitable pesticide to the foliage following the prescriptions on the label.

Aphids are occasionally a pest on Campanula isophylla plants.
Treatment: A heavy stream of water may be used to wash aphids off of young foliage. Also it can be used the soap sprays. Alternatively use a suitable insecticidal sprays to control these insects.

The plant failure to flower.
Treatment: Most common cause of failing to bring the plants in flower is the level of light. Artificial light work well to supplement the light quality and to increase the time to light exposure. Give to these plants no more than 16 hours a day to avoid stressing them.

Uses and display: The ornamental value of Cattleya bicolor lies especially in its fragrance. This orchid can be grown mounted on a piece of wood or on a branch tree or can be grown in clay pots or baskets of wood. Display these orchids at eye level, where its flowers can be seen up close. They suit tropical, oriental and bush garden designs.


Foliage – green
Features – flowers, fragrance
Shape – upright
Height: 1m (3 feet)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 13°C max 16°C (55-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10-11

Cattleya bicolorCattleya bicolorCattleya bicolorCattleya bicolor

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Calanthe triplicata

Common name: Christmas Orchid

Family: Orchidaceae

Synonymous: Orchis triplicata (Basionym)
Alismorkis angraeciflora
Alismorkis diploxiphion
Alismorkis furcata
Alismorkis gracillima
Alismorkis veratrifolia
Amblyglottis veratrifolia
Bletia quadrifida
Calanthe angraeciflora
Calanthe australasica
Calanthe bracteosa
Calanthe brevicolumna
Calanthe catilligera
Calanthe celebica
Calanthe comosa
Calanthe diploxiphion
Calanthe furcata
Calanthe furcata f. albolineata
Calanthe furcata f. albomarginata
Calanthe furcata f. brevicolumna
Calanthe gracillima
Calanthe matsumurana
Calanthe veratrifolia var. stenochila

Calanthe triplicata

Calanthe triplicata

Distribution and habitat: Calanthe triplicata is a species of terrestrial orchid native to Oceania, Asia and the islands of eastern Africa. This orchid is found growing in humus rich soils of rainforest shaded floors, near creeks, at elevations of 500 to 1500m (1640-4921 feet). These perennials reach heights of 40 to 100cm (16-39 inch).
The name ‘Calanthe’ is derivated from the Greek ‘kalos’ meaning beautiful and ‘anthos’ meaning flowers.

Description: Calanthe triplicata is an attractive evergreen, large orchid. The leaves are deep green, strongly ribbed and grow up to 50cm (20 inch) long and 15cm (6 inch) wide. Each orchid have a number of 4 to 10 leaves per shoot arising from a fleshy conical pseudobulb. It retains its leaves for several years. The nodding, spurred flowers that grow in one or two flower speaks on long, erect steams. The racemes are bearing cluster of 18 to 40 large white flowers about 5cm (2 inch) across with yellow or orange calli. The petals and sepals are narrow and equal in size, while the lip is several lobed. The characteristic features of Calanthe is the union of the column with the lip. The flowers will last 3-4 weeks. They are turning blue-black when damaged and with age.  The fruit is a capsule 3-4cm (1-1.5 inch) long.
Calanthe triplicata orchid blooms from fall through winter with multiple successively opening flowers.
The list of Calanthe triplicata synonymous can be longer.

Houseplant care: Calanthe triplicata is an orchids whose cultivation conditions are very easy to follow as this orchid is not sensitive to overwatering as other orchid species. In addition, its deep green leaves are decorative when the orchid is not in bloom.
A weekly sponging of leaves is advisable for Calanthe triplicata orchids grown indoors. Remove the spent flowers and leaves as they form.

Light: Provide Calanthe triplicata with bright filtered light at all times.

Temperature: Normal room temperature should be suitable throughout the year. Ideal temperature range for the active growth period is 15-27°C (59-81°F) and for the rest period 10-21°C (50-70°F). It is an intermediate orchid grower. Ensure that a high level of humidity is retained. To do this stand the pots on trays of moist pebbles and mist-spray these orchids daily.
Good ventilation is strongly recommended to avoid rot due to high moisture levels required by these orchids, but drafts should be avoided. Do not place them near vents.

Watering: In general the rule is plentiful watering for these types of evergreen orchids, especially during the summer months. During the rest period, after flowering is finished, give them only enough water to keep the potting mixture from drying out completely.

Feeding: Calanthe triplicata orchids need regular and generous feeding, thriving on a rich compost and application of liquid fertiliser about once every two weeks during the growing season.

Potting and repotting: The potting mixture for Calanthe triplicata orchids should be a rich one, preferably incorporating peat moss and treated hardwood sawdust with some blood and bone added (about one heaped dessertspoon to a 15cm (6 inch) pot). These orchids do not need repotting every year, once every thee years will suffice. When potting Calanthe triplicata, the pseudobulbs must be half buried into the potting media.
Grow Calanthe triplicata orchids in pretty big pots 15cm (6 inch) pot) with a fairly wide base or, eventually, provide weight and stability as they grow quite tall.

Gardening: Calanthe triplicata orchids need shelter from excessive hot sun and protection from frost. They grow well as a pot plant.

Position: Calanthe triplicata will withstand direct sun but prefers shade. Place it where will receive filtered sunlight only until mid-morning, remaining in full shade for the rest of the day.

Soil: In the wild, this evergreen orchid grows best in light well – drained soils and is often found where there is an accumulation of leaf litter. Calanthe triplicata thrives in well drained but moist soils rich in organic matter and well mulched. It is best in pots planted in orchid compost.

Irrigation: Calanthe triplicata is native to climates with heavy rainfall almost all year round. Therefor these orchids species will require regular watering. As they are evergreen species, they do not really have a rest period and should be watered throughout the year as long as the temperatures are not falling below 15°C (59°F). This orchid can become deciduous; if water is reduced in the autumn and the plant is kept cool the leaves may drop. It will resprout in the spring. If the temperature is a bit warmer and it retains the leaves, keep it slightly moist through the winter.

Fertiliser: Feed active growing Calanthe triplicata orchids with liquid fertiliser every two weeks. Overfertilising will produce soft, lush growth at the expense of flowers.

Propagation: Propagation of Calanthe triplicata orchids is by division. Divide and repot pseudobulbs in the spring after flowering. To do this separate the older pseudobulbs from the main plant, place them in a slightly moist potting mixture and wait for the new shoots to appear from the base of the pseudobulbs.

Calanthe plants are susceptible to spider mites, so it is important to provide ample humidity with air movement.
Treatment: Spray the infested orchids with a suitable insecticide and raise the humidity by standing the pot on a saucer of moist pebbles.

Scale insects and mealy bugs sometimes attack these plants, lurking in particular under the dried-up leaves on pseudobulbs and at the base of old flower stalks after these have been cut back.
Treatment: Physically removing the scales and then controlling the immature stages with chemical sprays may help lightly infested plants. Use an adequate pesticide to combat the insects infestation.

Slugs and snails like them so watch out.
Treatment: These pests are controlled using an appropriate molluscicide, both pellet and liquid forms, or by hand pick at regular inspections.

Note: Calanthe triplicata common name is Christmas Orchid because it is flowering during the Christmas in its southern hemisphere.  So, basically they flower during the summer months. The rest period for this orchid is winter period triggered by cold weather and short daylight. If the orchids are kept in warm environment, they are evergreen orchids so watering should be not be retained.

Availability: Calanthe triplicata are very popular hobby orchid in Asia and North America.

Uses and display: Grown mainly in pots, Calanthe triplicata can also work well in sheltered, shady rock gardens – as much for its foliage as for its flowers. This orchid suits tropical, cottage and bush design gardens. It can be grown in pot or hanging basket as accent or border plant. It thrives in shadehouse conditions – so pop it on the floor. Also this orchid is suited to growing outdoors in pots or as a landscape plant in tropical and sub-tropical climates. In landscape, it needs to be plant it in semi-shaded moist situation such as under a tree.


Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – upright
Height: 40-100cm (16-39 inch)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bight filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 7oC max 21oC (45-70oF)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16oC max 27oC (61-81oF)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10-12

Calanthe triplicata Calanthe triplicata

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Brassia verrucosa

Common name: The Warty Brassia

Family: Orchidaceae

Synonymous: Brassia verrucosa subsp. gireoudiana
Brassia aristata
Brassia brachiata
Brassia coryandra
Brassia cowanii
Brassia longiloba
Brassia odontoglossoides
Oncidium brachiatum
Oncidium verrucosum

Brassia verrucosa

Brassia verrucosa

Distribution and habitat: Brassia verrucosa is an epiphytic orchid native to Mexico, Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua), Venezuela, and Brazil. This large species is a warm to cool growing epiphyte of open humid, evergreen to semi-deciduous cloud forests on tree trunks and larger branches from altitudes of 900 to 2400m (3000-7900 feet).

Description: Brassia verrucosa are epiphytic orchids with unusually shaped flowers. It has upright, flattened, egg-shaped, medium green pseudobulbs about 8cm (3 inch) tall and 7cm (3 inch) wide. Each pseudobulb carries two leaves about 38cm (15 inch) long and 5cm (2 inch) wide. The flower stem which can be 30-90cm (12-36 inch) long, bears up to 16 fragrant blooms in spring and early summer. Each flowers grows up to 12-15cm (5-6 inch) long and 10cm (4 inch) across. Some forms, with flowers 20-25cm (8-10 inch) long and 10-12cm (4-5 inch) across, are sometimes thought to be a separate species and are given the name Brassia brachiata. The sepals and petals are pale green spotted with dark green, red or brownish purple, mainly near the base. The roughly diamond-shaped lip is white with dark green, wart like spots.
As the flowers open consecutively along the stem over a period of days, by the time the last are opening, the petals and sepals of the early flowers are a deeper color. The younger of the flowers are scented, but again there is a deterioration to an odor as they age. The flowers will stay on the plant for about 3 weeks.

Houseplant care: Brassia verrucosa is an easy to grow orchid. It likes to remain undisturbed for a few years and its habit of going to sleep for some months respected. When the flowers open they last better if removed to slightly cooler conditions.
Remove the dry, papery sheath from the base of pseudobulbs to prevent buildup of moisture and remove hiding places for pets.

Light: Give Brassia verrucosa bright filtered light all year long. Never expose these orchids to direct sunlight.

Temperature: Brassia verrucosa is a warm to cool growing orchid. Ideally, the year long range of temperature should be 15-23°C (59-73°F) during the day and 10-15°C (50-59°F) at night. When the temperature rises above 23°C (73°F) for more than two or three days at a time, stand containers on trays of moist pebbles or suspended water filled saucers below plants in hanging baskets or growing epiphytically on supports. In addition, mist-spray the foliage daily.
Also, good air circulation is essential: the air flow should be moist and gentle – no orchids like draughts.

Watering: Water actively growing Brassia verrucosa moderately, giving enough to thoroughly moisten the potting mixture at each watering, but let approximately two-thirds of the mixture dry out before watering again. After flowering has ceased, encourage these plants to rest for a short time (about three weeks).
During this rest period give only enough water to keep the mixture from completely drying out or the pseudobulbs from shriveling.
While these orchids enjoy high humidity and moist potting mix, they will not tolerate wet feet. Never allow the root zone to sit in water.

Feeding: Give all actively growing orchids a foliar feed at half strength with every third or fourth watering. Feeding in important for healthy growth and flowering.
Like most orchids, the roots of Brassia verrucosa are sensitive to fertilizer salt buildup, so at all times, use fertiliser at half strength, and when watering, flush the pot thoroughly.

Potting and repotting: Any of the potting mixtures recommended for orchids will be suited. Brassia verrucosa can be grown epiphytically on a simple wooden support.
Move Brassia verrucosa plants into container two sizes larger whenever more room for new pseudobulbs is required – about once every two or three years. The best time for repotting these orchids is in spring. To reduce any root damage, soak the container where is grown the orchids for ten minutes in warm water to make roots more pliable and easier to remove from the pot.

Gardening: Brassia verrucosa likes a fairly open, free-draining medium and intermediate to warm temperatures during the growing season. In the colder months it will grow in the intermediate to cool range. They appreciate plenty of air movement.

Position: Provide them with good light but shaded from sun. Their native habitat usually offers longer light day (equal day and night length) and more brighter then they can get outside of this habitat. Orchids grown outside of these regions will need supplemental light during spring and fall to give optimal conditions. The colour of the leaves is a good indicator to show if the orchid gets enough light. They should be mid green in optimum light.

Soil: Brassia verrucosa is an epiphytic plant and grows in trees and anchors itself to the bark. Additionally, this orchid can be grown in a pot or an orchid basket filled with recommended orchid potting mixture.

Watering:  Water regularly, particularly through the growing period. Although some recommend giving them a dryer winter rest period, others grow them evenly moist all year round. In either case they should not be kept constantly wet, particularly in colder weather. These orchids come from areas high humidity for most of the year, so keep them well misted with good ventilation and evenly moist and change the watering practices at any stress signs shown by plants.

Fertiliser: A balanced fertiliser will work best for Brassia verrucosa. Feed them a weak weekly liquid fertilising by following the instructions on the fertiliser package except make the solution at quarter strength.
In case of overfretilising, flush the pot thoroughly.

Propagation: Divide plants with sufficient pseudobulbs in the spring. Cut the rhizome into two or more segments, making sure that each section carries at least two pseudobulbs.Plant each segment in a 7-10cm (3-4 inch) container or attach it to a support and water the plant very sparingly until the new growth appears. Thereafter, treat the growing plant as a mature Brassia verrucosa.

Problem: The colour of the leaves of Brassia verrucosa orchids is a good indicator to the health of the plant:  mid green indicates good health, dark green indicates the plant is growing in too little light, which may affect its flowering potential and yellow leaves indicates too much light.

Ants are not harming direct the orchids, but they have the potential to bring pest infestation as they carry many types of sap sucking insects: aphids, mealy bugs and scale insects. Also, the sweet honeydew sucking sap insects secret encourage sooty mold – a type of fungi –  to adhere and to grow on the plants, making them very unsightly.
Treatment: Ants can be controlled with ant baits and traps. Household water-based insecticide sprays can also be used, but do not spray directly into the plants. In case of severe infestations, where ants have built nests amongst the orchid, it may be necessary to spray with stronger insecticides.

Scale insects and mealy bugs sometimes attacks these plants, hiding in particular under the dried-up leaves on pseudobulbs and at the base of old flower stalks after these have been cut back.
Treatment: Physically removing the scales and then controlling the immature stages with chemical sprays may help lightly infested plants. Use an adequate pesticide to combat the insects infestation.

Thrips suck the sap of flowers and inflorescences, resulting in failure of bud development, non-opening of flowers, distorted flowers with brown patches and colour breaks. Inflorescence attacked by thrips shows a typical distorted inflorescence development.
Treatment: Although thrips are susceptible to insecticides, their control is difficult as they are capable of flight and they may hide inside the buds and other floral structures and out of the reach of the insecticides. Hence, multiple sprayings may be needed with severe infestation.

Beetles eat the soft tissues of orchids such as the tender shoots and new shoots. Weevils attack is normally seen as holes in plants as they bore into the soft tissue to lay eggs after which the grubs will continue to eat and enlarge the stem cavity.
Treatment: Insecticides are capable of controlling these insects, but if they are inside the cavities of the plants, they will not be killed. To fully exterminate them, systemic insecticide are needed.

Snails and slugs will occasionally crawl over and feed on buds, blossoms, leaves and tender stems, resulting in damages that may lead to a secondary infection.
Treatment: Use a snail and slugs pesticide to prevent and control them.

The most common types of fungi capable of infecting orchids are the fungal crown rot caused by Phytophthora; damping-off disease by Pythium; black spot by Alternaria, Helminthosporium and Anthracnose; leaf tip disease by Gloeosporium. Orchid flowers can be affected in the form of flower blight by Botrytis; flower spots by Curvularia. Symtoms usually appear during the wet season when it rains frequently and the days are cloudy.
When an orchid plant starts to show signs of wilting, it will be due to root rot caused by Fusarium. This is very serious because the fungus will stop the water from being conducted up to the leaves and the plant will shrivel and die within days.
Treatment: Fungal diseases can be effectively controlled using recommended range of fungicide either systemic and non-systemic. Ensure proper air circulation. This will help the orchid to heal if there is a fungal or pest infestation that must be treated.

Uses and display: Brassia verrucosa is an attractive orchid with showy flowers, which will make a wanted  addition to any orchid collection. It can be grown in a pot or basket or grown epiphytically on a wooden support. Display these orchids at eye level, where its flowers can be seen up close. They suit tropical, oriental and bush garden designs.


Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – bushy
Height: 30-90cm (12-36 inch)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 24°C (50-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 10°C max 24°C (50-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 9a-11

Brassia verrucosa Brassia verrucosa Brassia verrucosa

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Vanda cristata

Common names: The Comb Vanda, The Comb Trudelia

Family: Orchidaceae

Synonymous: Aerides cristata
Aerides cristatum
Luisia striata
Trudelia cristata
Vanda striata

Vanda cristata

Vanda cristata

Distribution and habitat: Vanda cristata is a medium sized, monopodial (it grows from a single, upright stem) epiphytic species native to altitudes between 1200-2300m (4000-7500 feet) in the Himalayas (Garhwal to Bhutan), Tibet and Assam (Khasia) humid forests. These plants grow on moss covered trees in an area with bright light and a distinct dry season in the winter.

Description: Unlike most of the other epiphytic orchids, Vanda cristata have a single stem up to 60cm (24 inch) tall rising from a tuft of roots and do not have pseudobulbs.  Thick, fleshy aerial roots are often produced on the stem and these may hang down the outside of the container in which the indoor Vanda cristata are planted.

The pale green leathery leaves which are strap shaped, grow all along the stem. The stem carry nearly opposite, arching, deeply channeled leaves 13-18cm (5-7 inch) long and 1-2cm (0.4-0.8 inch) wide, with slightly toothed, bunt tips. Flower stalks 10-15cm (4-6 inch) long appearing from the leaf axils in spring and summer bear up to seven waxy flowers about 5cm (2 inch) across. These flowers stalks can appear from between every third leaf or so. Each stalk produces several fragrant flowers which last for several weeks up to two months. Sepals and petals are yellowish green to creamy yellow. The short, oblong green-and-yellow lip has deep purple red lines near the base and is three-lobed.

Houseplant care: Vanda cristata may bloom 2 or 3 times a year, as long as their needs are met. They can bloom any time of the year, with the heaviest flowering in spring and summer. Bright light and cool nights will spark blooming.

Vanda cristata is challenging to grow and flower.

Light: Give Vanda cristata bright filtered light at all times. It needs ample light year-round to make it grow and bloom. Supplement the daylight with artificial illumination in winter if possible. Place orchids about 20cm (8 inch) beneath the light for 14-16 hours a day, allowing several hours of darkness at night.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are ideal throughout the year, 21-29°C (70-85°F). A night temperature about 10°C (18°F) lower than the daytime level is desirable to trigger flower buds, however.

To ensure adequate humidity (50-80% relative humidity) it is a good idea to stand pots on trays of moist pebbles and mist-spray the plants daily. High humidity and good air circulation are essential. Vanda cristata likes free-flowing air as in its native tree-dwelling habitat. Place it where it will get plenty of air circulation. Fans are fine, but keep these orchid away from heat or air conditioning vents.

Watering: Water plentifully at all times, never allowing the potting mixture to dry out. Do not let pots stand in water, however.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser at half strength to these orchids with every other watering. Apply the fertiliser all year round.

Potting and repotting: Use any of the recommended mixture for epiphytic orchids. Such a potting mixture can be made from two parts of osmunda fibre or shredded bark to one part of sphagnum moss to which can be added a light sprinkling of course bonemeal for its long term nutritive value. If the potting mixture includes fibrous material, use only big chunks of fibre. This is necessary for good drainage as are plenty of clay-pot fragments and pieces of charcoal in the mixture. Vanda cristata are best grown in pots with a length of tree fern stem or strait tree branch set into the mixture to provide a support for aerial roots. Place the plant in the middle of the container and make sure that the base of the stem is not buried in the mixture. Move Vanda cristata into slightly larger pots every spring. This orchid prefer clay pots to plastic because clay breathes, allowing air to get to the orchid’s roots. When maximum pot size has been reached, cut up these plants for propagation.

Propagation: The purpose of propagating Vanda cristata is mainly to reduce the size of an overlarge specimen. To do this, cut the stem at any desirable point above which there are plenty of aerial roots. Soak the cutting for two hours to make the aerial roots pliable before planting in a small pot of standard potting mixture. Place the cut base of the stem about 5cm (2 inch) deep in the mixture and try to bury some of the aerial roots as well. If any such root breaks, cut it cleanly above the break and insert the cut end in the mixture. Support the cutting by staking it.
During the first six weeks water only sparingly (allowing the potting mixture to dry out almost completely between waterings) and do not feed.

Problems: Problems with Vanda cristata orchids are usually related to insufficient light and humidity or improper watering.

Limp or yellow leaves are often a symptom of overwatering. Remember Vanda cristata is epiphytic nature: its roots are bathed in humidity and washed with rainwater, hanging in the open air. Aim to keep roots moist at all times, but not soggy which leads to root rot.

Brown spots on foliage can be scorch marks from direct sunlight or, more likely, leaf spot disease.

Uses: Vanda cristata it is ideal species for growing indoors. It is best grown in a wood slat basket. The shelf life of cut flowers of Vanda cristata last for 15-60 days.

Vanda cristata orchids have been widely hybridised often with orchids of different genera.


Foliage – green
Features – flowers, fragrance
Shape – upright
Height: 60cm (24 inch)

Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10b – 11

Vanda cristata - flowersVanda cristata - flower budsVanda cristata

Flowering Plants, Indoor Plants, Orchids , , , , , , ,

Coelogyne cristata

Common name: Snow Queen, Angel Orchid, Coel Cristata, Coelogyne Cristata, Crested Coelogyne

Family: Orchidaceae

Synonymous: Cymbidium speciosissimum
Pleione speciosissima

Coelogyne cristata

Coelogyne cristata

Distribution and habitat: Coelogyne cristata is an evergreen epiphytic orchid that comes from cool, moist areas of the eastern Himalayas and Vietnam. It grows on trees and sometimes rocks in cold high altitude  about 1600-2600m (5250-8530 feet) moss-forests where they may experience wet summers and cold winters. Some areas may be quite bright in winter but many areas are covered in fog or cloud and sunlight is much lower. It blooms every spring, before the snow begin to melt.

Description: Coelogyne cristata has a tightly packed cluster of shiny, light green, round or egg-shaped pseudo-bulbs. Each pseudo-bulb is 2-8cm (0.8-3 inch) high and 2-4cm (0.8-1.5 inch) wide. Bulbs that have flowered gradually wrinkle and yellow. The pointed, strap-shaped, usually arching bright green leaves are 15-30cm (6-12 inch) long and 5cm (2 inch) wide. Coelogyne cristata is an unusual Coelogyne in that its 30cm (12 inch) long flower stems rise from the base of the pseudo-bulbs. Each stem carries up to eight roughly bowl-shaped blooms, up to 10cm (4 inch) across. The flower, straw-coloured in bud is entirely white, but five gold yellow lines run down the middle of the broad, three-lobed lip. The fragrant flowers generally appear in winter and early spring and each bloom last several weeks.

Houseplant care: Coelogyne cristata would definitely be the most popular and most widely grown of all the Coelogynes species. Although they are not the easiest orchids to grow indoors, the sheer number of white-and-gold blooms make the prospect of cultivating them quite tempting.

Sticky leaves are normal for this genus. New unfurling leaves are often covered with a sticky sap. It recommended to wash off the sap at some point because it can bind the flower stems that emerge. Take it to the sink to rinse them off, using tepid water.

It only flowers once per year. The bracts (which protect the new baby shoots in nature) stay on the base of shoots and flowers and as the flowers die can look untidy. The same applies to the old flower spikes. Some people prefer to prune them off but this is unnatural.

Light: Give the Coelogyne cristata bright filtered light throughout the year. Do not expose this orchid to direct sunlight.
If it is not available a spot near a window, grow lights work beautifully for these orchids. Use one warm white tube and one cool white tube under a reflector. Place orchids about 20cm (8 inch) beneath the light for 14-16 hours a day. It is also important to give them darkness at night.

Temperature: For Coelogyne cristata temperatures should not exceed 23°C (73°F). Winter ranges of 13-16°C (55-61°F) during the day and 7-10°C (45-50°F) during the night are best, but these orchids can tolerate up to 5°C (9°F) higher than the ideals.
In the summer, it is permissible to leave them outdoors in partial shade. But, if the temperature is too high, they will not bloom.

Humidity: Coelogyne cristata needs moderate to high around 70-85% during the active growth season and around 50-60% during the rest winter period. To maintain this high humidity use a humidity tray or cool room humidifier. Grouping plants also helps to maintain the moisture in the air around them.

Air circulation: Strong air movement is critically important at all times. Place Coelogyne cristata where it will enjoy plenty of air circulation. Fans are fine, but keep it away from heat or air conditioning vents.

Watering: Coelogyne cristata normally needs a winter rest period for 6 weeks to encourage flower buds. During their active growth period water these plants plentifully, keeping the potting mixture thoroughly moist at all times. During the rest period give them only enough to keep the potting mixture from drying out.
When watering Coelogyne cristata do not let water rest on pseudo-bulbs around the new growth from which flower stem arise. To avoid this risk, stand containers in tepid water below the level of the new growth for 10 minute at a time instead of watering from above.
Coelogynes have water-storing pseudo-bulbs, making them more tolerant of dry soil than wet.

Feeding: Apply foliar feed to actively growing Coelogyne cristata at every second or third watering. It should not receive any more liquid nourishment during the rest period.

Potting and repotting: Use any of recommended potting mixture for orchids. Grow these plants in pots or baskets or attach them to a slab of tree fern.
Allow plenty of space in the containers as Coelogyne cristata dislike being moved and they can usually be left undisturbed for at least four years. Repotting can be delayed by removing groups of the oldest pseudo-bulbs (the dying back-bulbs) from time to time. Use a sharp knife to cut through the rhizome and fill the empty space with potting mixture. In this way the removal of old growth makes room for the new. It should not be repotted until the pot is filled with roots. When repotting must be done, do it in spring shortly after flowering season is over.

Propagation: To propagate, cut off a piece of rhizome bearing at least one new pseudo-bulb and one growing point as well as two or three older pseudo-bulbs. Do this just before the beginning of the flowering season. The largest the section of rhizome removed the better, since small pieces take several years to flower. Pot the rhizome section in recommended orchid potting mixture with this growing point toward the centre of the small pot and water it sparingly till new growth appears.

Brown leaf tips can be caused by dry soil, dry air or tap water that contains fluoride, chlorine and salts that accumulate in the potting medium. This build up of soluble salts come from the chemicals in tap water and fertilizers.
Treatment: Use distilled or rainwater and increase humidity if the air is too dry. The excess of salt buildup in the medium which may be remedied by flushing the medium with distilled or rainwater.

These same symptoms may also be caused by root rot resulting from too much water, usually with old, broken-down medium. Root rot is indicated if roots are soft and brown and the root ball will probably fall apart as it is removed from the pot or basket.
Treatment: If this happens, it is obviously past time to repot. Since the plant is already out of the pot, take the opportunity to remove the old medium, clean up and treat the diseased portion of the plant and repot it using new medium and a clean pot.

Coelogyne cristata does not flower.
Treatment: Usually the reason that Coelogyne cristata does not flower is that it is kept too dark. Also this orchid will not flower if it kept in too hot temperatures. Provide adequate growing condition to obtain a proper flowering.

Availability: Coelogyne cristata orchids are available for sale in the winter and spring when most are in bloom.

Uses: This orchid demands to be grown into a specimen size to highlight its beauty.
Also, Coelogyne cristata has high ornamental value as a cut flower lasting for 15 to 60 days.


Foliage – green
Features – flowers, fragrance
Shape – bushy
Height: 15-30cm (6-12 inch)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in rest period – min 7°C max 16°C (45-61°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10-11

Coelogyne cristata - flowersCoelogyne cristata Coelogyne cristata

Cutting Flowers, Flowering Plants, Indoor Plants, Orchids , , , , , ,

Paphiopedilum callosum

Common name: Paph, Lady’s Slippers, Slipper Orchids, Callosum Orchid

Family: Orchidaceae

Synonimous: Cypripedium callosum
Cordula callosa
Cypripedium crossii
Cypripedium schmidtianum
Paphiopedilum crossii

Paphiopedilum callosum

Paphiopedilum callosum

Distribution and habitat: Paphiopedilum callosum are native to Cambodia, Laos, Malaya, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Paphiopedilum callosum species are terrestrial in nature, growing among humus layers under the shaded and moist condition of the tropical forest floor. They are originating in evergreen broad-leafed forests in the lowlands or in cloud forests in the highlands, altitudes from 300 to 2000m (1000-6500 feet). The plants grow in stages. As new growths mature, older growths will slowly die off. A new growth will bloom when it is fully mature, producing a raceme (bloom spike) between the stiff fleshy leaves. Blooms with heavy substance can often last several months.

Description: Paphiopedilum callosum has leaves up to 30cm (12 inch) long and 5cm (2 inch) wide. Leaf colour is dark green mottled with bright green. The 45cm (18 inch) long flower stem carries one or two 8-10cm (3-4 inch) wide flowers. The dorsal sepal and petals are white with purple and green stripes. The petals curl downward and have hairy, black, raised spots along the top edge. The lip of flower is reddish purple. The shinny, waxy, unreal-looking flower can appear at anytime.
The main flowering season in  generally mid-spring. Paphiopedilum callosum send out one flower spike on each new growth, so when flowering is done, new growth have to mature before will flower again. The flowers should generally last for several weeks up to several months in ideal conditions.

Houseplant care: The key to successfully growing Paphiopedilum callosum is to keep them in conditions that resemble their natural culture: indirect light, a bark based growing medium, light fertilisation and appropriate watering (water thoroughly then let it dry out every 5-7 days).

On a young plant that is flowering for the first time, is recommended to let the flower on for short period and then cut it off. It will keep in a vase for a while and the young plant will grow much better without having to support a bloom. If it is intended to put a seed-pod on Paphiopedilum callosum, chose a strong plant which will be able to hold the pod for the required ten months (this time period applies to Paphiopedilum seed pods). It is an enormous strain on any orchid to grow seeds and only a strong plant will survive.

When cut the Paphiopedilum callosum flower and keep it in a vase, cut the stem flower as long as possible and make a 45° angle cut to increase the water absorption surface. Change the vase water daily and keep cutting a centimetre (0.4 inch) or so every day to avoid sealing the cut and allow the flower to take the needed water to stay fresh. Keep the vase in a relatively cool room  (around 21°C – 70°F) to increase the flower lifespan.

Light: Always grow Paphiopedilum callosum in medium light. Never expose them to any direct sunlight. Supplementary fluorescent light provided from late autumn into early spring will help to promote good flowering.

Temperature: Normal room temperature are generally suitable. A cool summer temperature (not exceeding 30°C – 86°F) is beneficial and a winter temperature of not less than 13°C (55°F) is desirable.

For adequate humidity stand the orchids on trays of damp pebbles throughout the year and mist-spray the foliage daily when the temperatures rise above 21°C (70°F). Paphiopedilum callosum do best with 60-70% humidity but when mature will grow and bloom, although more slowly in lower humidity.

Water: Water moderately during periods of active growth, but allow the top few centimetres (0.8 inch) of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again.

During the six weeks after flowering, when Paphiopedilum callosum make little new growth, water them sparingly allowing the potting mixture to dry out almost completely between waterings.

Fertilising: Apply a foliar feed to Paphiopedilum callosum with every third or fourth watering, except during the six-week period of slow growth.

Potting and repotting: Use a potting mixture of equal parts of fibrous loam, peat moss, chopped sphagnum moss and coarse sand or perlite.  Move plants into pots one size larger at the end of the flowering period whenever clumps of leaves completely cover the surface of the potting mixture. Be sure to keep leaf bases level with the top of the mixture; burying them deeper will cause rotting.

After maximum convenient pot size has been reached, propagate Paphiopedilum callosum by division.

Propagation: Divide any Paphiopedilum callosum that has made six or more clumps of leaves. At the end of the flowering season shake away the old potting mixture from the roots, remove any dead roots and carefully cut or pull the rhizome into pieces, making sure each piece has at least two clumps of leaves attached.

Gently disentangle as many of the roots as possible rather than cutting them apart. Plant each piece in an 8cm (3 inch) pot, place it in medium light and mist-spray daily for three weeks. Thereafter, treat it as mature plant.

Paphiopedilum callosum roots are easily damaged and are susceptible to rot if overwatered.

Flowers buds sometimes tend to hang downward. To resemble this fault insert a thin stick in the potting mixture and tie the flower stem to it. If the last tie is made just below the bud, flowers open in an upright position.

Failure to flower is typically due to poor growing conditions, especially inadequate light and or fertilizer.

Diseases that are commonly a problem on orchids include leaf spots, petal blight and different fungi such as black rot.
Treatment: Ensure proper air circulation. This will help the orchid heal if it experience a fungal or pest infestation that must be treated. If the problem persists, use an appropriate fungicide.

Common insect pests include mealybugs, spider mites, scales and thrips. Scales are usually attached to the underside of the leaves, and heavily infested plants should be discarded.
Treatment: Physically removing the scales and then controlling the immature stages with chemical sprays may help lightly infested plants. Use an adequate pesticide to combat the insects infestation.

Snails and slugs can feed on buds, blossoms, leaves and tender stems.
Treatment: Use a snail and slugs pesticide to prevent and control them.

Note: Paphiopedilum are notoriously expensive, in part because they do not clone well from tissue culture. As a result, the vast majority of Paphiopedilum plants are started from seed, which requires years to produce a viable plant. Expect to pay top dollar for even a moderate sized Paphiopedilum.

Paphiopedilum callosum are known as maudiae type of  Paphiopedilum, orchids characterized by attractive tessellated leaves and smaller flowers.

Uses: Paphiopedilum callosum makes a good orchid to be grown in pot being one of the easiest to grow and flower orchids.

They can be uses as cutting flowers. Paphiopedilum callosum flowers will frequently last surprisingly long times in a vase, maintaining its waxy freshness from 4-6 months.


Foliage – coloured
Features – flowers
Shape – upright
Height: 45cm (18 inch)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – medium
Temperature in rest period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 24°C (61-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10 to 11


Paphiopedilum callosum flowerPaphiopedilum callosum in natural habitat

Cutting Flowers, Flowering Plants, Indoor Plants, Orchids , , , , , , , , ,

Miltonia vexillaria

Common name: The Flag-Like Miltoniopsis, Pansy Orchid

Family: Orchidaceae

Synonymous: Miltonia vexillaria var. leopoldii
Miltonia vexillaria var. rubella
Miltonia vexillaria var. stupenda
Odontoglossum vexillarium

Miltonia vexillaria

Miltonia vexillaria

Distribution and habitat: Miltonia vexillaria is a species of epiphytic orchid founded in isolated patches in the central mountain region of Colombia. It grows on the margins of mountain forests.

Description: Miltonia vexillaria has pseudobulbs up to 6cm (2 inch) tall, each bearing at least three strap-shaped leaves 20-30cm (8-12 inch) long. Flowers stalks grow to 50cm (20 inch) tall; several flowers stalks  may be produced at one time from each pseudobulb. The stalks are each topped by three or more notably flattened, fragrant flowers each about 8cm (3 inch) across. Flower colour is pale lilac to rosy red, with the large lip (up to 7cm (2.7 inch) across) darker in colour than the rest of the flower and with a prominent yellow crest.

There can be up to eight flowers per stalk, each flower usually lasting about four weeks. A large plant with many spikes can be in bloom for three months. Their peak flowering season is spring to early summer with a smaller spurt in autumn.

Houseplant care: Miltonias do not have a rest period, growing all year. Still, short winter days will slow them down. That is when watering should be reduced and no fertiliser applied.

A healthy plant kept in right condition will speak for itself. The mature plants should make abundant growths, strong, wide leaves and push two new pseudobulbs from every old one.

Light: Miltonia vexillaria do best in medium light for most of the year. Too much bright light will turn the thin foliage yellow. During the short-day winter months, however, give plants bright light with 2 or 3 hours a day of direct morning or late afternoon sun.

Temperature: Keep the daytime temperature at about 21°C (70°F) and the nighttime temperature at about 18°C (64°F). Do not permit the temperature to rise above 24°C (75°F) or to fall below 17°C (63°F) at any time. High humidity is essential; ideal humidity range is 50 to 90%. It is a good idea to stand plants on trays of moist pebbles and mist-spray daily.

Water: Water moderately, allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the mixture to dry out before watering again. It is best to water early in the day so that the foliage is dry by nightfall.

As winter approaches, keep the plant mixture moist, but not damp. In the winter reduce watering, but do not let the mixture dry out.

Fertilising: Provide high-nitrogen foliar feed with third or fourth watering during the warmer months and every six to eight waterings at all other times.

Potting and repotting: Use any recommended potting mixture for epiphytic orchids – well drain potting mixture such as fine fir bark with perlite. Grow each Miltonia vexillaria in the smallest pot that will allow for further growth of two or three pseudobulbs. Repot only when necessary. The best time for repotting is in summer immediately after flowering.

Propagation: When a plant becomes inconveniently large, divide it in summer by cutting through the rhizome, making sure that each segment retains at least two pseudobulbs. Plant segments in the smallest suitable pots of moist potting mixture. Keep the pots in medium light and do not water apart from daily light mist-spray during the first four weeks. Thereafter, treat each young plant as a mature Miltonia vexillaria.

Miltonia vexillaria can be propagated by seed as well, but this procedure is not recommended for amateur grower. It takes about 9 – 12 months for a seed pod to mature. Then it will take about three months for the seed to germinate in the first flask. After that, it usually takes at least two years in different replated flasks before the baby plants can go into community pots. After 6 to 12 months, they can be potted up separately and then it will still be two to three years before first flowers are expected to appear. So, altogether, it will be at least five years from pollination to the first blooming- that with luck!

Remove dying flowers and leaves without delay. If they come into contact with healthy leaves, these may be blemished.

Black spots on leaves indicate that the temperature has fallen too low.
Treatment: Either raise the temperature or decrease the humidity.

Aphids like to suck the young buds and flowers dry, but they can easily be washed off with plain water.

Recommended varieties:
Miltonia vexillaria ‘Volunteer’ has lavender pink flowers which are veined with deep purple and have a white and yellow blotch on the lip.


Foliage – green
Features – flowers, fragrance
Shape – upright
Height: 45-60cm (18-24 inch)

Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – medium
Temperature in active growth period – min 18°C max 24°C (64-75°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 11



Flowering Plants, Indoor Plants, Orchids , , , , , ,

Phalaenopsis amabilis

Common name: Moth Orchid

Family: Orchidaceae

Synonymous: Epidendrum amabile
Cymbidium amabile
Synadena amabilis
Phalaenopsis grandiflora
Phalaenopsis gloriosa

Phalaenopsis amabilis

Phalaenopsis amabilis

Distribution and habitat: Phalaenopsis amabilis is native to Australia, Indonesia and the surrounding islands. Like other orchids, the Phalaenopsis amabilis is epiphytic, meaning it grows with air roots hanging onto trees instead of in soil. These epiphytes are growing high in trees either in dense forests or sometimes, close to the ocean.

Description: Phalaenopsis amabilis is an single stemmed epiphytes. The thick, upright stem up to 8cm (3 inch) tall carry wide, fleshy, alternate leaves which are limp. The leaves are up to 30cm (12 inch) long and 10cm (4 inch) wide dark green with reddish undersides.

Some aerial roots are produced on the stem among the lower leaves. Similar roots cover the potting mixture.

Arching flower stalk rise from the leaf axils can be 90cm (35 inch) long, with branches 30cm (12 inch) long. The flower stalk carry 20 to 30 flowers, each 10cm (4 inch) across. The pansy-like flowers in an inflorescence resembling a flight of moths are white, but the lip is spotted red with a yellow flush in the throat. Flowering occurs at any time and each flower lasts up to 3 weeks.

Houseplant care: Phalaenopsis amabilis is actually quite easy to grow and adaptable. To extend the flowering period, cut back flower stems after flowers fade to just below the point where the earliest flowers appeared. New blooms will appear on side-shoots growing from this point.

Light: Give Phalaenopsis amabilis bright filtered light throughout the year. During the short-day winter months some supplementary artificial light will encourage flowering.

Temperature: A minimum temperature of 20°C (68°F) throughout the year is essential, along with high humidity. Stand the plants on trays of moist pebbles and mist-spray daily. Proper humidity for this lovely orchid is around 50 to 80 percent.

By maintaining a temperature of 18-20°C (64-68°F) at night and 25°C (77°F) in the daytime for six – eight weeks, inflorescences will develop. In contrast, the inflorescence will not appear when the temperature is 20C (68°F) or more at night. Thus, the flowers are observed mostly in winter.

Watering: Wilting caused by overly dry soil will set back the plant’s growth. Take care not to over-water the orchid, as it can develop root rot if its roots are left standing in water. Water the orchids moderately, allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out between waterings. It is best to water in the morning.

Never permit beads of moisture to rest on Phalaenopsis amabilis leaves. These orchids are susceptible to rot and fungus infections and black spots will appear if the moisture remains on them throughout a single night.

Fertilising: Apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks or a foliar feed with every third or fourth watering.

Potting and repotting: Use osmunda, bark or peat-based mixture. For good drainage put a shallow layer of clay-pot segments in the bottom of the pot. These orchids do well in wooden or wire baskets lined with sphagnum moss. Every two years move plants into slightly larger containers.

After removing a plant from its container, clear the old potting mixture from the roots and cut away any dead roots before repotting the plant.

Plants growing in maximum-size pots should be replanted in fresh mixture once every two years. Immediately after repotting them, move the orchids into a shaded position for about three or four weeks. Repot at any time that plants are not in flower.

Propagation: Phalaenopsis amabilis can produce shoots at the base or in the joints of branches of flower stems after the season’s flowers have died. Leave growths on the plant until their roots are at least 2cm (0.8 inch) or so long. They can then be carefully cut away and planted individually in 8cm (3 inch) pots of recommended potting mixture. Keep each potted cutting in a warm in bright filtered light and water sparingly for the first six weeks. Thereafter, treat it as a mature plant.

Problems: Failure for moth orchids to prosper in an indoor environment is most likely due to overwatering and insufficient light.

Under high humidity and inadequate ventilation leaves are more susceptible to brown rot or bacterial disease, which produces brown watery spots on the leaves. This type of disease often develops on young leaves in early summer (rainy season).
Treatment: An antibacterial agent is the only chemical that can effectively treat this disease.

Anthracnose blackens the leaf apex and blotchy spots are rarely observed.
Treatment: Fungicides are effective for this diseases. Spraying a chemical mixture of bactericide, fungicide and pesticide every one or two months is recommended in the wet season.

Flowers can develop botrytis cinerea in low temperature and high humidity conditions.

Uses: Phalaenopsis amabilis orchids have blooms that last for several months in the proper conditions. The orchid itself is very small but the flowers are relatively big and marvelous. With its beautiful flowers, this plant will surely enhance the beauty of the home and also purify the air inside the house. It said to remove VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and formaldahyde commonly off-gased from paints, solvents and other synthetic materials.

The stems make nice cutflowers for bouquets, or the individual flowers can be used as corsages. The vase life of Phalaenopsis amabilis last for 15-60 days.


Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – upright
Height: 30-45cm (12-18 inch)

Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright filtered
Temperature in active growth period – min 20°C max 21°C (68-70°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10-11

Cutting Flowers, Indoor Plants, Orchids, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , , , , , ,

Dendrobium nobile

Common name: Noble Dendrobium

Family: Orchidaceae

Dendrobium nobile

Dendrobium nobile

Distribution and habitat: Dendrobium is a huge genus of orchids, containing about 1,200 species. The genus occurs in diverse habitats throughout much of south, east and southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Borneo, Australia, New Guinea, Solomon Islands and New Zealand. The name is from the Greek dendron (“tree”) and bios (“life”); it means “one who lives on trees”, or, essentially, “epiphyte”. Dendrobium species are either epiphytic, or occasionally lithophytic. They have adapted to a wide variety of habitats, from the high altitudes in the Himalayan mountains to lowland tropical forests and even to the dry climate of the Australian desert.

Dendrobium nobile orchid is one of the most widespread ornamental members of the family.

Description: Dendrobium nobile is a sympodial orchid which forms pseudobulbs. When the life cycle of the mother plant ends it produces little offsets, continuing the life of the plant. The same cycle is used every year. The stem is erect and during the flowering period it forms blooms on its sides along the whole length of the orchid. This monocot has thin, white roots and leads an epiphytic type of life.

Dendrobium nobile has yellows green pseudobulbs up to 1.2m (4 feet) tall, topped with several narrow leaves up to 10cm (4 inch) long and 2cm wide. The leaves are produced in early autumn. In late spring, a pseudobulb that is about to flower lose its leaves and replace them with a branching flower stalks. Each stalk carries two  to four flowers up to 8cm (3 inch)  across. The petals and sepals have wavy  edges. The lip is large and rounded, with a tubular base. Colour varies from lavender to deep purple, but the lip always has a deep maroon blotch in the centre. There are many varieties, some with fragrant flowers.

Houseplant care: Flowers usually should last for two to three months. When in full bloom, flowers will last longer if the plant is placed in a cool, dry spot away from any draft and out of direct sunlight.

Light: Bright light is essential  at all times, but filtered strong direct sunlight through a translucent blind or curtain.

Temperature:During the active growth period keep this plant within a temperature range of 15-21°C (59-70°F) and mist-spray them daily. During the winter rest period keep the Dendrobium nobile at 15-24°C (59-75°F) during the day and 10-13°C (50-55°F) at night. Dendrobium nobile can be kept outside in the fall to benefit from the cooler temperatures at night and brought inside just before the onset of freezing weather.

Dendrobium nobile do best when there is at least a 10-degree difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures.

Watering: From the time flowers buds start to appear and then throughout the active growth period, water the plants moderately, but let the potting mixture dry out nearly completely before watering again. Do not let drops of water rest on new growth, which will root if permitted to stay wet. During the winter rest period give only enough water to prevent the potting mixture from drying out.

Fertilise: During the active growth period only, apply a foliar feed with every third or forth watering.

Potting and repotting: Use any of the potting mixture recommended for orchids. These Dendrobium nobile do best if grown in small conventional pots with plenty of drainage material added. A plant with up to eight pseudobulbs can often thrive in only a 10cm (4 inch) pot. Move the plant to larger pots only when they are overcrowded. This is best done in spring, just as new growth begins.

Propagation: To divide a large plant, cut the rhizome into segments each with at least four pseudobulbs, one of which should not have flowered. Cut away and discard dead, brown pseudobulbs. Plant each segment in an 8cm pot of standard orchid mixture and water it sparingly until new growth appears. Thereafter, treat the young plant as a mature Dendrobium nobile.

Problems: Dendrobium nobile is prone to attack by red spider mites.
Daily mist-spraying may help ward off attack. Cut away badly infested leaves and adjoining stems and spray the plant with an appropriate pesticide.Repeat the treatment after 3 days and again 10 days later. If mites persist, try a different pesticide.

Whichever medium is used, it must be open enough to maintain some air around the roots. The Dendrobium nobile orchid cannot tolerate wet, soggy composts, which will inevitably damage and rot their wiry roots.

Uses: The Dendrobium nobile is the pot plant for decoration because they are more durable than general cut flowers. Dendrobium nobile hybrids make stunning potted plants. Staked upright they look exactly like a living bouquet, with flowers spaced so closely that it becomes hard to see the plant underneath. It is a pleasant decoration not only for living areas, but for offices as well being an easy to care and flowering for long time.
Used as cut flower, the Dendrobium nobile orchids will last for 15 to 60 days in vase.

Dendrobium filters formaldehyde from the air, being a wanted species of houseplants.


Foliage – green
Features – flowers
Shape – upright
Height: 1.2m (4 feet)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – bright
Temperature in rest period – min 10°C max 18°C (50-64°F)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16°C max 21°C (61-70°F)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 11

Dendrobium nobile Dendrobium nobileDendrobium nobileDendrobium nobile













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