Phalaenopsis 

(fal-ii-nop' siss)

Common name: Moth Orchid

Family: Orchidaceae, Orchid

Height x width: 12-36" x 12-18"

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: 3-6 broad (3-5" across) obovate to oval, upright or pendent, leathery, dark green or mottled leaves 6-18" long; arising from short, upright, stem-like rhizomes; monopodial growth

Flowers: simple or branched racemes on 1-2' spikes arising from leaf bases; 3 outer sepals and 3 inner petals, one being variously lobed and incurved and colored, 3-5" across; overall appearance is "moth-like"; lasts 3-4 months

Light: bright to moderate

Temperature: average to warm

Watering: moderate

Fertility: moderate

Humidity: humid

Soil: epiphytic

Pests and Problems: bacterial soft rot, crown rots, petal blight, mosaic viruses, scale insects

Growth habit, uses: flowering indoor plant, cut flower

Other interest: native to tropical Asia, northern Australia and the South Pacific; flower appears like moths in order to attract them for mating, which results in cross pollination; has no pseudobulbs as temperatures in its native habitat fluctuate very little; from the Greek phalaina meaning moth, and opsis meaning appearance, refering to the flower shape

Other culture: cut back flower stems partly, never completely, after bloom to encourage more flowering; keep foliage dry in winter when not in active growth; generally easy to grow and flower

Propagation: rooting of cuttings or offshoots, adventitious plantlets formed on flower spikes of some species

Species:

Of the about 50 species, the following are perhaps most often encountered.
 
Species foliage flowers
amabilis broadly oval, 6-20" white, yellow lip margins, red throat markings, 2-4"
cornu-cervi oblong-ovate, 10" yellowish with red-brown, waxy, fragrant, 2"
equestris oblong-ovate, 8" rose, purplish lips streaked red, 1"
lueddemanniana oblong-ovate, 12" white, reddish bands, pink lips, fragrant, 2"
schilleriana elliptic, spots, 18" rose, white or yellow lips spotted red, 2"
stuartiana oval, mottled, 14" white, yellow marks, brown spots, 3"
violacea oblong, 8-10" purple, yellow, white, reddish lips, fragrant, waxy, 3"
     


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

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