Phalaenopsis pulchra is still flowering today!
This Phalaenopsis pulchra flower opened on the 8th September 2020, which as I write to you today was fifty-two days ago. Phalaenopsis orchids can produce incredibly long lasting flowers; although Phalaenopsis hybrids tend to flower for much longer than wild species plants. A number of the Phalaenopsis hybrids I’ve grown are particularly floriferous, sending out masses of long lasting flowers and blooming continually for longer than a year at a time, without appearing to flag or tire at all.
Although wild Phalaenopsis species don’t have the same stamina as cultivated hybrids, (so species orchids tend to have shorter bloom times) certain Phalaenopsis species enjoy longer blooming periods than others. I find that Phalaenopsis finleyi plants produce small flowers with a fleeting presence, that tend to fade and disappear a mere two to five days after opening.
Whilst, more floriferous orchid species, like Phalaenopsis equestris ‘Aparri’, send out masses of flowers and happily bloom continually, for months at a time.
Phalaenopsis pulchra plants produce absolutely gorgeous, glossy flowers. These inflorescences are quite resilient; the flower’s solid form and waxy finish enable these blooms to last longer than more fragile papery orchid blooms, which often have a tendency to absorb water as they age, rather than repelling moisture; as these Phalaenopsis pulchra blooms tend to do.
My Phalaenopsis pulchra blooms are misted with rain water a number of times a day, (every day) inside my Tall Orchidarium. If you want your orchid’s flowers to last the maximum distance, try to ensure that the blooms don’t get wet when you mist your plants. However, keeping orchid flowers free of water is something of an impossible challenge if your plants are automatically misted by an automated misting unit, where it’s not as easy to issue any precise control over the water spray. The plants are all misted in their entirety inside my Tall Orchidarium.
I often hear Phalaenopsis pulchra described as a fragrant orchid species, so I was tremendously excited at the prospect of discovering this orchid species’ scent for myself.
However, over the past fifty-two days, I’ve examined this Phalaenopsis pulchra plant countless times, in both the daytime and at night, on unseasonably warm days, as well as in moments when the temperatures have dropped. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to detect the merest hint of any perfume from this orchid’s bloom, whenever I’ve examined the plant. It’s disappointing, but I will continue to examine any future blooms my plant produces and I’ll report back with my findings.
Phalaenopsis pulchra is an epiphytic orchid; a plant that grows on top of another plant. This is not a parasitic plant; Phalaenopsis pulchra doesn’t take any nutrients or sustenance from its host plant. Phalaenopsis pulchra simply uses a larger host plant to raise the plant up to a better position, where Phalaenopsis pulchra can enjoy greater air circulation and improved growing conditions.
In the wild, in its native environment, Phalaenopsis pulchra grows amongst a range of other plants, on the Eastern slopes of mountains, in the Philippines.
In their ideal environment (in the wild), Phalaenopsis pulchra plants enjoy being watered by very pure rainwater and the plants receive very few nutrients. The very low quantities of nutrients these wild plants receive are produced by fallen leaves or any decaying plant debris that has been washed or blown in amongst the arms of the tree, along with any detritus that has collected in the net of the orchid’s roots.
Using too concentrated a fertiliser will harm your orchid. To provide the optimum amount of fertiliser for my orchids, I use Orchid Focus Grow as a feed for my orchids that are in growth and Orchid Focus Bloom, as a fertiliser for my plants that are in bud or flower. I don’t want to give my plants a dose of fertiliser that’s too potent for the plant, so I follow the instructions on the pack. I dilute my fertiliser with rainwater.
I only use fertiliser on plants that are in active growth, if a plant is dormant or resting it will only receive rainwater. My orchids are fertilised every week for three weeks in a row, and then on the fourth week, my plants are given pure rainwater without any fertiliser added; this is to help prevent a build up of fertiliser on the plants.
This photograph shows just how tall this Phalaenopsis pulchra specimen’s longest growth has got – by the 1st October 2020 this spike of growth had reached 44cm (just under 18″) tall! I am sure that this shoot will turn into a keiki – a new baby Phalaenopsis pulchra plant. The tip of this Phalaenopsis pulchra specimen’s tallest shoot has now reached the top of the my Tall Orchidarium; it’s now being forced to grow horizontally, being restricted by the top pane of glass – this terrarium’s ceiling.
It may look as if I have polished this Phalaenopsis pulchra flower, but I can assure you I haven’t touched this glossy bloom.
This Phalaenopsis pulchra specimen currently is in the process of producing five new shoots, two of which I am now absolutely certain will become keikis – new baby Phalaenopsis pulchra plants.
Here’s a closer look at the emergence of new leaves and the very first beginnings of a new Phalaenopsis pulchra keiki being produced by this plant’s tallest stem.
This is the tiniest amount of new growth, but it is very exciting to see; I love a free plant! In time, this shoot will develop its own leaves and roots, when it will become a brand new baby Phalaenopsis pulchra plant!
As you can see, this Phalaenopsis pulchra‘s flower is still looking good, in these photographs I took on the 16th October 2020 (38 days after this flower opened).
This Phalaenopsis pulchra plant (like almost all of the orchids inside my Tall Orchidarium) is mounted on its own individual piece of cork bark. I have hooked this orchid’s mount onto the cork back drop behind, using a metal hook.
I was so excited to see these two new keikis. However, when I looked inside my Tall Orchidarium on a recent Saturday (16th October 2020) evening, I discovered that this Phalaenopsis pulchra specimen had fallen from its position high up in the tank and this orchid was now sprawled about on its side, resting on the moss with its limbs pushed uncomfortably up against the glass and on the other plants, at the base of this enclosure.
This plant had landed in such a way that tore apart the smaller keiki and gave a mighty good clonk (which I hope hasn’t caused too much damage) to the taller of these two keikis. It’s quite a miracle that the towering keiki survived this fall in one piece, as the plant fell quite a distance! Hopefully, this tall keiki will still go on to produce a new plant and at least the main plant is OK. Accidents happen and I have so much to be thankful for with this Phalaenopsis pulchra plant.
This Phalaenopsis pulchra specimen has produced what at a cursory glance look to be five flowering stems. Two of these stems were in the process of producing new keikis, (one of which has now snapped). The plant’s first flower is currently still in bloom, while the two younger new growths remain much smaller in size. I hope that the smallest of these stems will go on to produce a bloom, but if both growths produce keikis I shall also be very happy indeed.
Here’s an up to date picture, showing how two of this Phalaenopsis pulchra specimen’s new growths look now, following the plant’s accident. As you can see, the shorter stem was torn in the plant’s fall, when it was ripped off near the base; the slightly taller growth next door also sustained a hefty clout in the same accident, but this growth has hopefully survived unscathed.
This Phalaenopsis pulchra specimen has been in the wars lately, but this plant is still looking good. I still cannot believe this this orchid’s longest stem is still in tact; I am the clumsiest person I have ever met, so this is quite a miracle! I hope that this plant’s good fortune will continue, and fate will allow a lovely new keiki to develop successfully.
I’ve noticed recently that this Phalaenopsis pulchra specimen’s leaves aren’t as green as I would like them to be. Naturally, my Phalaenopsis pulchra plant has been using a lot of energy producing all these new growths (five in total) and flowering over the past seven and a half weeks, but the plant may also have some spider mites feasting on the orchid’s sap and weakening the plant.
I use SB Plant Invigorator to control spider mites, aphids, scale insect, and mealy bugs, but sometimes, when life gets busy or interrupted, the plants growing inside at least one of my terrariums will unintentionally miss an application of SB.
This week, no matter what happens, I will ensure that all of my orchids are treated to a spray of SB Plant Invigorator.
I spotted this lovely new root, as I was examining this orchid earlier this week. I am so relieved that this gorgeous new root wasn’t damaged when this plant took a tumble a couple of weeks ago.
Now that this Phalaenopsis pulchra specimen’s flower is waning as it nears the end of its life, the bloom appears less vibrant and the flower’s fragility is more evident. This flower has lost its poise and polished appearance and now appears a little twisted, siting somewhat shyly rather than standing proudly, as it did in its younger days,
In January 2018 (two years and nine months ago), my friend, Gary Firth kindly gave me this Phalaenopsis pulchra plant, for my National Collection of Miniature Phalaenopsis Species. Thank you, Gary, I am so grateful to have been able to include this stunning orchid in the National Collection.
Other articles that may interest you………
For articles on setting up terrariums, orchidariums, and bottle gardens, please click here.
To see how my Tall Orchidarium was set up, please click here.
For more articles about terrariums, please click here.
For information on houseplants, please click here.
To see my planting list of orchids, ferns and other plants that thrive in terrariums, please click here.