A genus that brings together hundreds of epiphytic orchids from the tropical forests of Central and South America. They do not have pseudobulbs and usually present as heads of fleshy leaves of varying sizes between 10 and 50 cm, oval, elongated, most of the most popular species are very small and do not exceed 10-15 cm.
In summer, they produce small flowers, usually shaped like a bivalve shell, of yellow, red, brown, white or pink colour, usually solitary or coupled, on the apex of short stems starting from the base of the leaves; often the stems are so short that the small flowers rest directly on the base of the leaves. Many species bloom throughout the year, some produce numerous flowers that bloom at the same time; others produce numerous small flowers on long thin stems. P.
cardiothallis has red flowers in summer, close to the base of the leaves. P. immersa is large in size and flowers several times a year, producing medium-sized yellow flowers, with flowers reclining outside the leaves.
The Pleurohallis orchids need medium-luminous positions, they should never be exposed to direct sunlight which could cause the burning of the leaves and compromise the regular growth of the plant. Their natural development environment is located in the Andean chains, therefore they prefer lower temperatures than many other varieties of orchids; the optimal summer temperature is around 20-25°C, while the winter temperature should be between 10 and 15°C.
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- They decorate terraces, balconies and garden corners.
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To develop in the best way pleurothallis like a constantly moist soil, but not soaked; vaporize frequently the leaves with distilled water to increase the ambient humidity. Throughout the year, provide orchid fertiliser dissolved in water every 30-35 days, using half the recommended dose on the container of the fertiliser itself.
These orchids are all epiphytes, therefore they grow without soil but develop on the bark of other plants, in order to create therefore the ideal habitat to allow their development, the substratum must be formed by chopped bark, sphagnum and other inconsistent material; seen the often reduced dimensions, this kind of orchids are particularly suitable to be cultivated on big pieces of bark, which act at the same time as substratum and container.
The multiplication of the orchid Pleurohallis takes place by division of the heads of leaves, taking care to maintain a vigorous root for each portion produced, so as to facilitate the rapid establishment of the new plant, which is immediately placed in a single container.
Pleurothallis: Parasites and diseases
As for pests and diseases that could affect the plant, pay particular attention to root rot and cochineals, without any other “calamity” to be feared if you have a pleurothallis. To eliminate the problem, use cotton soaked in alcohol to remove the parasites in case the plant is affected in a circumscribed manner; instead, prefer specific pesticide products when the cochineal is spread evenly throughout the plant.