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Wisconsin's Tropical Gardens


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NUN'S ORCHID - Phaius tankervilliae

This is an interesting "new" spring flowering plant for the plant lover. This is a true orchid which grows as a terrestrial, which means it grows in the soil, and not on trees as most other orchids do. This is a vigorously-growing plant with thin, medium-green, pleated leaves. It produces erect flower spikes up to 4 feet tall with numerous 3" flowers. The flowers are white on the outside with a chocolate color inside and have a rose-colored lip. They open sequentially  up the stem and can last from 4 to 6 weeks. Phaius are easy to grow and adapt well to various soil mixes and light levels.

LIGHT: Give Phaius plenty of bright, indirect light. Place it near a bright east, west or filtered south window. Avoid direct, hot, noon-day sunlight.

TEMPERATURE: Provide temperatures of 75° to 85° during the day and 55° to 65° at night. This plant will even tolerate temperatures down to the upper 30's with no ill effects.

WATER: Water as needed to keep the soil moist. This plant has a vigorous root system, so water thoroughly to make sure the entire root ball is moistened. Do not allow the plant to sit in water for extended periods of time as this causes root rot and possibly the demise of your plant. Feed each time you water with a balanced water soluble fertilizer.

This is a specialty plant that is offered only once or twice a year. When available, it is usually acquired in 8" or 10" pots. Occasionally they are available in 6" pots.