PHAIUS

FAMILY: Orchidaceae

TYPE
  • Flowers
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Partial Shade
WATER
  • Regular Water

Plant Details

These orchids owe their popu- larity to their attractive foliage, striking flowers, and ease of cultivation. Large, broad, rich green leaves somewhat resemble those of cast-iron plant (Aspidistra); they are marked with prominent parallel veins. Erect flower spikes to 3 feet tall arise from the bases of large, thick pseudobulbs. In the Coastal and Tropical South, Phaius species are perennials; elsewhere, they're quite easy to grow as houseplants.

phaius flavus

  • From India, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
  • Leaves to 2 feet long are attractively marked with yellow blotches and spots.
  • In spring, blossom spikes carry many fragrant, 3 inches-wide flowers in sulphur yellow with a reddish brown band on the lip.
  • Punctata has yellow-spotted foliage.

nun's orchid

phaius tankervilleae

  • Native to China, India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, and Australia.
  • May well be the easiest of all orchids to grow.
  • Handsome, oblong to oval and pointed leaves 23 feet long.
  • Fragrant, 2- to 3 inches-wide blooms appear from late winter into spring; they are dusty rose inside and creamy white outside, with a rosy purple lip.

Although they'll take full sun for short periods, these orchids prefer light shade. Those grown indoors will bloom just fine if placed next to a bright window (they will, however, need protection from hot, direct sun). Give them fertile, well-drained soil that contains plenty of organic matter. From winter through the end of summer, keep the soil evenly moist (use room- temperature water); then let it go slightly dry for three to four weeks in fall. From spring through summer, feed every other week with water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer diluted to half-strength. Be careful with the leaves, which break easily. Plants are easy to divide. Scale can be a serious pest, especially on indoor plants; control it by spraying with horticultural oil.

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