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Paraphalaenopsis Care Sheet


          At one time Paraphalaenopsis had been classified as a sub-species of phalaenopsis, but they are now considered a separate genus in the orchid world.  They are closely related to Phalaenopsis and other vandaceous orchids and cross hybridizing can be done, to some extent. 

Paraphalaenopsis are native to Borneo and require warm temperatures, good air circulation and high humidity.  They should not be exposed to cold and likewise do not do well in extreme heat.   They are epiphytes with terete (pencil shaped) leaves and should be grown allowing the leaves to hang naturally, as they can become rather long.  Blooms grow from the base of the plant, in clusters that usually carry a strong scent similar to cinnamon or ripe bananas, depending on the species or hybrid.  The blooming season is usually spring or early summer.  The flowers normally stay on the plant 2 to 3 weeks but do not last long when cut.

            Paraphalaenopsis can be grown in different ways with good results.  One method is to pot them in an open mix with good drainage and either hang the plant or let it sit on a bench.  Plants in pots would normally need watering once or twice weekly as they dry out between waterings.  Another way is to grow in a hanging wooden or plastic basket with little or no medium.  When grown this way, they will need more frequent watering, as often as daily in the Spring and Summer if grown in good conditions.  A third option is to mount directly onto cork or tree fern slabs.  Again, these plants will need more water than when potted into a mix.  Keep plants in low to medium light until established and then give larger plants more light to promote blooming. (They do well in phalaenopsis light conditions).  Fertilize during active growth using a dilute solution of a water-soluble fertilizer like Dyna-Gro 7-8-6 or GrowMore 20-10-20 Urea Free after every third watering. (Always water before fertilizing)