Family that includes about fifty species of orchids, mostly terrestrial, originating in Africa, Asia, Australia and the islands of the Pacific Ocean. It has fleshy pseudobulbs which usually are united in numerous groups, the leaves are long and very decorative, pale green, in spring it produces a long stem, at the extremity of which bloom numerous flowers of remarkable size, of white, green, yellow or pink colour.
The outer petals are narrow and long, turned upwards, from the base of them depart a trilobed labellum, usually of contrasting colour, rolled in cylindrical form, often has a wavy extremity and of darker colour.
This orchid loves shady positions, it adapts well both in poorly-lit positions and in very bright places, the important thing is to keep it away from direct sunlight that could burn flowers and leaves.
It loves the temperate climate, with minimum temperatures around the 10°C, even if it can bear lower temperatures for short periods; in the places where the winter is particularly mild we can try to cultivate it in the garden, in the ground, taking care, however, to shelter it during the winter and to choose particularly rustic species.
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Phaius orchids need abundant amounts of water, especially in the period from March to October, so we recommend watering every week, but often check the soil to prevent it from drying too much between one watering and the other; avoid stagnation of water that could cause rottenness. It is advisable to be very careful not to wet the leaves and flowers, which would stain irreparably. Provide orchid fertiliser every week, mixed with water from the watering stations.
One of the fundamental aspects to take into account when deciding to grow an orchid is the choice of soil. Soil is the main source of livelihood of the plant and for this reason it is good to opt for a substrate that is able to meet the specific needs of the plant.
To cultivate the orchid phaius, it is good to choose a good balanced soil, very soft and drained, it is advisable to place on the bottom of the pot of coarse material in order to increase drainage, it is also appropriate to add to the soil of perlite, sand and sphagnum to lighten and ventilate the soil. All this attention will allow the orchid phaius to grow optimally. These orchids usually need to be repotted every 2-3 years, to allow a lush growth and ensure a good flowering.
The multiplication of the phaius takes place by division of the heads of rhizomes, taking care to leave some roots in each portion produced. At the end of the flowering it is also possible to root the floral stem, placing it in a shady and humid place, in a plastic bag filled with sand.
Phaius: Pests and diseases
Let’s now see what diseases and parasites the plant could develop.
These orchids are often affected by cochineal and often also by aphids, if they are grown outdoors also pay attention to the slugs and otiorrhinchus.