Phalaenopsis: Houseplant of the Month for September
The contrast between the slender stem and the heavy comb with flowers makes Phalaenopsis a fairytale creation in many beautiful colours.
Blooming Corps de Ballet
Radiant white, vivid yellow, but also lemon and pale orange. Pink from powder to hot. Purple from lilac to fuchsia. And also with spots, stripes, freckles and raffish edges if required. In multiple colours, because the possibilities are endless with Phalaenopsis’ flowers. This green ballerina produces an opulent comb of flowers on an elegant tall stem. They can continue to bloom for up to three months, and all that time you hardly need to think about it: this orchid is ‘easy care’.
Whether you have a single stem of flowers flirting with you or create your own mini Shangri-La in a bowl with several plants together, a Phalaenopsis always makes an impression. It’s the ultimate flowering houseplant for creating glamour and style. And by playing with different colours it can help to make the mood serene or energetic, whether your taste is modern minimalist or colourful exotic.
- Phalaenopsis likes a light spot. From mid-October the plant can even tolerate direct sunlight.
- Immerse the pot in water for half an hour once every 10 days, leave to drain and the job’s done!
- Bathtime can take place weekly in summer.
- Adding plant or special orchid food to the water once every three weeks helps all the buds open.
- Finished flowering? Count upwards from the bottom to the second node (thickening) on the stem and cut the stem just above it. Carry on immersing as before, and the plant may re-flower after six months.
What’s with the blue plants?
Blue Phalaenopsis do not occur in the wild. The blue flowers are created by a grower’s trick whereby a white orchid is injected with a harmless colouring agent (alongside blue there is also red, black and green) which colours the petals. In the next flowering the plant will be increasingly light until the added colour has disappeared completely.
Jungle Queen Trivia Top 5
- The name Phalaenopsis derives from the Greek word ‘phalaina’ which means ‘moth’ and refers to the shape of the flower – hence the common name ‘moth orchid’.
- The orchid was brought to Western Europe by explorers in around 1700 from the tropical rainforests of Asia, New Guinea and Australia.
- It was one of the first tropical flowers to appear in the flower collections in Victorian orangeries.
- There are more than 60 different species and thousands of hybrids.
- In the symbolism of flowers, Phalaenopsis indicates charm, refinement and beauty.
Upside down? Not a problem.
Phalaenopsis collect moisture and nutrients with its distinctive aerial roots. A pot is always an option, but it’s not a necessity. This orchid can also be displayed upside down, from a hook on the wall or laid on a bowl. Or in an attractive glass vase in which the roots are displayed nicely. Wrapped in moss, bare and naked – Phalaenopsis doesn’t mind, as long as the roots have a soak or a misting from time to time. If you do opt for a pot, soft and bright colours or a gold or silver lustre give this orchid’s glamour levels a big boost.
For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk
Published on: 23 August 2018