Monday, July 16, 2012

New Orchid: Phalaenopsis gigantea

A tiny giant: phalaenopsis gigantea seedling

     I've been interested in this phal species for a while now.  The infamously slow-growing phal can get huge: with 24" leaves.  However, the veritable giant of an orchid also comes with an equally giant price tag.  Mature specimens sell for hundreds of dollars.  I am not ready to shell out that much money for any orchid, much less a potentially temperamental species.

     So instead, I ordered a seedling phal gigantea which cost under $10.  This orchid will take longer to reach flowering size, than I will take to finish my PhD. But I am happy to sit back and patiently watch this orchid (hopefully) increase 12-fold in size.  

Phal. gigantea seedling roots

     The seedling is barely larger than my phal noid keikis.  At just over 2" long, its leaves are shorter, but the root system is more developed.  There are two long healthy roots (with some healed breaks), one areal root, and the start of a third root budding from the base.  I trimmed off two rotten roots while repotting.

     I unpotted the phal from its original container and moved it to a slightly larger 2.5" clay pot, with phal bark mix.

Phal. gigantea seedling

     The phal arrived with quite a bit of hard water staining (see top picture) which I tried to wash off as best I could using milk.  There are two leaves at 2" length, and the start of a new leaf.

    I'm curious who will compete for the title of 'my slowest growing orchid': the phal gigantea or my paph sanderianum!


  1. Good luck with your seedling! Sadly I killed one last year, crown rot. Make sure yours doesn't get any water into crown.

  2. This sounds like a great adventure! Good Luck! I am new to Orchids, I killed a beautiful orchid my husband gave me on our anniversary, in just 2 weeks. I wish I would have researched it online before it was too late. Live and learn, you have a great blog:) I will keep coming back to see how you are doing with your new seedling. Thanks for the information on cleaning the leaves, I never heard that before.

    1. Thanks for the comments! I hope you have better luck with orchids in the future.

      If you liked the milk idea, here is a great site with a number of recipes for all sorts of orchid cures, including various other ways of shining up the leaves: