Sunday, March 05, 2006

Growing Phalaenopsis: Challenging but Rewarding

Growing Phalaenopsis: Challenging but Rewarding

Written by Chat Alejandro
Thursday, 04 August 2005
The butterfly orchids or Phalaenopsis as it is known scientifically is one of the most beautiful genera in the orchid family. Its shape and color combination make them look like row or cluster of butterflies on a slender arching stem.
In spite of this fascinating beauty not may people take an interest in collecting and culturing the butterfly orchid. This is due to the fact that the Phalaenopsis plant is so soft bodied and succulent that a slight wound would easily allow fungal or bacterial infection to the plant and eventually kill it. The Phalaenopsis is not a sturdy as its relatives like the Dendrobium, the semi-terete Vandas or the Epidendrum or the Spathoglottis. But there are a many number of orchid enthusiasts who are unfazed by the difficulties who accept the challenge with foresight and determination.
Cora Purification and her daughter Ana Ruth, do not only collect and grow Phalaenopsis, they also breed them. Cora’s late son, Eric who really fancied and this genus and seriously studied its culture, natural need and requirements and techniques in breeding started the interest in butterfly orchids.
Presently, the Purification orchid and ornamental laboratory and nurseries has thousand of plants form selected Phalaenopsis hybrid done by Eric some years back. Anna claims that bringing out the plants form laboratory flasks and transferring them form the sterile condition with artificial media to a natural environment needs extra care. Though the Phalaenopsis plant is vigorous in its germination and multiplication stages its succulent body is actually fragile and not as disease resistance as its other orchid relatives.
Anyone can succeed in raising butterfly orchids as long as this plants are provided the right care. Here are some pointers that Purificacion orchids and ornamentals Inc. wishes to share in growing and propagating Phalaenopsis beginning from flask.
Wash away the agar – agar or gelatin use as medium in the flask or bottle. Since the plant and its roots are soft and fragile, you must be extra gentle in handling them. Soak the plant in clean water to loosen and separate the gelatin from the roots. Then, in strainer with fine mesh, rinse the plant with fine running water to wash off the remaining chemicals.
If Phals are to be remove the community pot, gently loosen the media and disentangle the roots carefully avoiding much damage as possible. If roots are already clinging to the pots gently peel them off the pot with the paper knife
Remove dead and decayed roots and leaves, and then soak the plant in the fungicide solution (1 tbsp per gallon of water) for 10 min. Do the same to the plants taken out of the flasks. Use the protective cloves and avoid touching the chemicals and do not inhale the fume.
Biol the plant media for 30-45 min. and treat with the fungicide.
Sort the plants according to sizes. Bigger plants can be potted directly into small size 0” or 1 “ thumb pots with big drainage hole at the bottom. Smaller plant can be regrouped and planted in size 2” pots as a new community pot.


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