The genus Aerides includes 15-20 species of epiphytic orchids, originating in Asia. Usually, they have contained dimensions, but rather vigorous growth and tend to produce several basal suckers; the leaves are elongated, thick and coriaceous, glossy; in spring, the Erides produce several hanging spikes, 20-25 cm long, formed by several perfumed flowers, of white, pink or violet colour, waxy, which often have, in the lower part, a short spur facing forward.
These plants are much cultivated by the lovers of orchids, as the cultivation is not very difficult, also these plants produce flowers in abundance and sometimes bloom several times a year. Over time, numerous hybrids have been produced, with varied flowers or particularly bright colours.
Aerides need a lot of light: in cold weather periods of the year they can be placed in full sun, while in hot months it is good to shade them a little.
In general they need a warm-temperate climate throughout the year, with 15-18°C at night and 30-35°C during the day. The ambient humidity must be quite high, even around 70/75 %, and the Erides must be placed in rooms with a good air exchange.
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Water the Aerides regularly, even daily, throughout the year, as these plants do not have a period of vegetative rest; frequently provide for the vaporization of the leaves with non calcareous water. When the temperatures are lower, however, it is possible to thin out their interventions of watering and vaporization.
Every 15-20 days add to the water of the watering of the specific fertilizer for orchids.
To cultivate the Erides plants, use specific soil for epiphytic plants, formed by broken bark and by vegetal fibre, very well drained, but able to retain a little of the humidity necessary for the balanced development of the roots. These orchids are often cultivated in hanging baskets, in order to better enjoy the hanging inflorescences.
The plants in pot are to be repotted when the roots have by now occupied the whole container, taking care to choose one of only slightly larger dimensions. Repotting also allows to replace the substratum, which over time tends to degrade and lose its characteristics.
The reproduction takes place by division, periodically detaching the basal buds from the mother plant, leaving to the practised portions a well developed root.
The new plants are to be immediately buried in a single container and watered abundantly, keeping them in a protected and ventilated place to allow the plant to acquire strength and to develop at its best.
Erides – Aerides: Pests and diseases
Sometimes cochineal lurks at the base of the leaves. To eliminate the problem, it is advisable to intervene quickly, when the infestation is not widespread, so that you can intervene manually with the elimination of pests through the use of a cotton ball with alcohol to pass on the leaves.
Even root rot can be a serious problem for this plant, check that the substrate allows for optimal drainage.