Aerangis is a genus which gathers about sixty species of orchids mainly originating in Africa, but spread also in Asia, usually epiphytes. The Erangis have fleshy stems, of a greyish-green colour, on which grow long alternate leaves, thick, dark green, which usually have several silvery dots, with a slightly prostrate appearance. In spring or autumn, they produce a long inflorescence carrying several roundish, perfumed, white, cream or pale pink flowers, which carry a long spur.
The small size of the plants makes them suitable for cultivation on bark.
The Erangis orchids prefer luminous positions, far away from the direct rays of the sun, especially in the warmest days, when the direct exposition could quickly cause some foliar burns; the Aerangis are to be placed in places with an average temperature around the 15-18°C, as well as tolerating, however, temperatures slightly under the 10°C in winter and over the 30°C in summer. For a better development, they need a good air exchange.
When the outside temperatures are very high or very low, it is a good idea to keep the plants inside the house to prevent the temperature change from causing them to deteriorate quickly.
- Some species of orchids have very special flowers, with a curved labellum, closed to form a kind of shoe; orchids with cup-shaped lips belong to three main genus of orchids.
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From March to November, water regularly, keeping the substrate always slightly moist, but not soggy, as the orchids do not tolerate waterlogging, from December to February slightly decrease watering, until you notice the development of spring shoots. Spray the plant often, preferably using demineralized water; every 20-25 days add to the water of the watering a small dose of specific fertilizer for orchids.
When the plant ends the vegetative season, the waterings are to be reduced for a period of about two months.
The plants of Erangis, in the wild, are epiphytic, they grow up, therefore, on the trunk of the trees, for reproducing the natural conditions in the house, we utilize a substratum formed by quite finely chopped bark, by small pieces of sponge or polystyrene and by sphagnum.
The plants are to be repotted quite often, at least every 2-3 years, as they tend to produce new stems and new roots, till when they fill up all the space available and the substratum tends to degrade in the course of the time, not providing any more an adequate support.
In spring it is possible to divide the heads of the Erangis, repotting the new shoots that grow next to the original plant. These portions of the plant are immediately repotted individually and grown as adult plants. Be careful when removing the plant from the container as the roots are quite delicate, so it is good to wet the substrate before proceeding with the operation.
Erangis – Aerangis: Pests and diseases
Pay attention to root rot and cochineal, which can cause serious damage to Aerangis. Root rot should be prevented by using a sufficiently draining substrate and by regular but moderate watering. For cochineal, if the presence is not widespread, it is possible to intervene to eliminate the problem manually, using a cloth with alcohol to gently pass on the leaves.