A quick getaway to sultry Savannah to escape the winter blues revealed the many surprises of this spanish moss-bedecked southern city. Among them were beautiful gardens where we found orchids adding a tropical touch, whether on the steps of a grand mansion, or a tiny patch in front of an apartment door.
I stopped by Whole Foods on the way home and found that they had a whole bunch of ultra-miniature phalaenopsis orchids all vying for attention. Now these things were tiny. They were in 2.5″ pots and you could have five of them easily fit in the footprint of a standard phal. Needless to say I had to have one, and since my bag was full of groceries I stuck the tiny tot in my coat pocket and hurtled home on my bike so my latest orchid adoptee would not get too cold. We made it home intact and Phal. Timothy Christopher ‘M-P0764’ is now happily ensconced among my other plants.
Now this is a cross of Cassandra X amabilis, so it has equestris in the background which brings down the flower size. Other species in the background, stuartiana and amabilis should result in lots of blooms on branched spikes. In essence, these look like a miniature amabilis.
However do note: these Lilliputian marbles will grow up. Ideally, you could have a specimen size plant covered with loads of lowers in a 4″ pot. its a testament to phalaenopsis breeders that you can have a hybrid that flowers so vigorously when still quite small.
With all the snow we’ve been having, I thought i would post a photo of Phalaenopsis amabilis, an orchid species from Southeast Asia that is in bloom now! It has pristine snowy white flowers, and has been used to breed the standard large flowered white phalaenopsis orchids that have become so ubiquitous. Nevertheless, there is something charming about this species, with its small delicate flowers that are produced in great abundance.
Doriataenopsis Sogo Gotris is a very compact growing phalaenopsis hybrid that produces several short statured flowering spikes with miniature blooms. These types are phalaenopsis orchids are generally known as multiflorals and make great houseplants. Some growers market them as ‘sweetheart’ type phalaenopsis.
No matter what you call them, these charming hybrid have been developed for small spaces and will thrive on a bright windowsill or under lights. A plant in a 3.5″ inch pot, as shown to the left, can easy produce one or two spikes with 15 or more flowers in less space than an African violet!
Some multifloral phalenopsis can actually get quite large as plants, but many, depending on the parentage, will remain on the more compact side. Chances are, they will never outgrow a 5 inch pot and if you can get them that big, you should have a specimen plants capable of producing multiple spikes covered in blooms for a good part of the year. This particular plants consists of two growths which are joined like Siamese twins. This is fairly typical of some species, such as phalaenopsis equestris, that is used in this kind of breeding. Eventually, you can get several growths in a pot each producing one or two spikes resulting in a cloud of blooms.
This particular hybrid bring art shade colors into genre that has been dominated by white with red lips, or dark pink flowers. The flowers, also tend to be very long-lasting and the plants will be in bloom for months!
These orchids are quite robust and do not need special care making them good houseplants. Since they tend to need smaller pots, the only thing you have to be especially careful about is that they do not dry out during warmer weather. They tend to produce their flowering spikes in the fall bringing much needed color during the cooler winter and early spring months.