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.
- 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.
- 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.