Monday, August 27, 2012

The Beauty of Butterflies

Phaleanopsis orchids are very beautiful. They're also popular, being the best seller at flower shops, drug stores, department stores, and more as quick, relatively cheap ways of buying flowers for someone who wants it to last more than a few days by buying the blooming plant instead of the cut flowers.

It is also one of the hardest orchids for a beginner to grow.

Also called the butterfly orchid, Phalies are native to southeast Asia. Think the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. That's the environment you need to try to recreate...very hot and humid.  Most people need a greenhouse for this.

We usually avoid this variety but have received a few as gifts over the years.  Mostly, after they've bloomed, they're moved to my mother-in-law's house where she has a greenhouse and they can sit there until they bloom again.

We kept one back this time, however. The plant you see on this page was given to us at Christmas time in 2011. The blooms last for weeks and at the end of February, we moved it outside. This year's mild winter meant that the plant didn't freeze so we just let it live there as the weather grew ever warmer.

At the beginning of summer, I was in for a shock as the plant developed new buds and bloomed again. We actually got a phaleanopsis orchid to bloom again out on our plant stand in the back yard.

Since the area it sits in (shade on the north side of the house) gets a daily sprinkling, the plant gets enought water and humidity. Our temperatures over the summer ranged from 90 - 110...perfect for this heat-loving plant. I guess that was just the ticket for this guy.

We've moved it inside to enjoy the blooms but will put it back outside throught the fall. Let it winter in the house and move it back out and see if we can get a repeat performance.

We'll talk about other, easier to grow orchids as we go along here but if you get one of these butterfly orchids, don't toss it out when it's done. Put it in a warm place, water once or twice a week, fertilize every month or so, and see if you can't get it to thrive too.

Copyright 2012 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

  1. Nice job on the rebloom! Contrary to what people believe about SE Asia, they do experience a period of cooler weather. It's actually the temperature drop, into the 50-60's F at night for a few weeks that initiate Phals to spike. Leaving yours outside in cool weather, but not cold enough to frost did the trick. These aren't quite as hard as they make them out to be, room temperature is fine for the rest of the year! They do like it humid but do not need the heat of Thailand etc. to bloom or thrive at all. You should keep more of them around :)