Sunday, March 30, 2014

First flowering Phal and new plants from Plantae

I don't think that there is any other Phalaenopsis with a scent just as wonderfully overpowering as Phalaenopsis violacea. There is still much confusion between the species P. violacea and P. bellina. They are of course distinct species but the latter is a larger flowered species from Borneo, separated from P. violacea in 1995. Both like it hot and humid which often makes it a bit tricky to grow them down here in the Cape unless you have adequate growing conditions with heating. My P. violacea that I purchased some time ago from Plantae flowered for the first time and it is a stunning intense purple. I was expecting lighter flowers with a tinge of blue as the label given was "P. violacea var. coerulea" but I later discovered that this is just a synonym for P. violacea.
Phalaenopsis violacea
One thing about Plantae (and I am incredibly fussy when it comes to my plants) is that they offer consistently good quality plants at affordable prices and they take exceptional care in their packaging. I have always been very impressed with their plants and I get most of my pants these days from them. I recently got a new shipment from Plantae including a few interesting Bulbophyllum species (B. bicolor, B. grandiflorum and B. lobbii) as well as some Vandas and some other interesting species including Haraella retrocalla and Chilochista yunnanensis. All are doing well and I am excited to see them flower one day in the future.
On the seedling front not much is hapening yet although I am currently raising some Dendrobium speciosum seedlings that are a breeding from my award winning white with a deep golden yellow of Patrick's. The seedlings are growing well and I expect to have a number in the future to trade or to sell.
Dendrobium speciosum


  1. I live in Pretoria East, and have just purchased my first Phalaenopsis, enchanted by the beautiful blooms at my local nursery. I love working in my little townhouse garden, which is planted mainly with indigenous species, but caring for a Phalaenopsis is something completely new to me. I had it in a well protected covered patio area (almost fully enclosed), but I read that they do not like temperatures lower than 12 degrees, and the nights are getting cold now. I have brought it inside, but with the dry highveld winter, I'm not sure where to keep it. I have put it on a gravel tray to increase the humidity, but is that going to be enough?

    1. Hi Jane

      That's how the bug starts :)

      Phallies are quite tough but it is best to keep it inside. A bathroom will do if there is a window it can get enough indirect sunlight from. Ensure that your plant is not potted up in sphagnum moss. If it came potted in this medium rather replace it completely with milled bark chips that you can get from a local nursery. The bark chips should be small (about 1cm or so), not too big. The moss tends to remain too wet in our climate and it will rot the roots. The humidity tray will help to keep humidity higher but you can also put your plant in an empty fish tank if you have one. I use to do this years ago. I had many phallies on a raised tray above water in the fish tank that I kept warm with a normal fish tank heater. I had a fluorescent tube in the lid for lighting. My plants did well in there and the humidity and temperature were always high.