Saturday, 6 February 2016

Bloom Event - Phalaenopsis wiganiae

Phalaenopsis wiganiae is a primary hybrid between Phalaenopsis schillerana and Phalaenopsis stuartiana. I've not seen it since I got it. It came from the same place as Phalaenopsis kuntrarti rarashati. I repotted it into coarse bark after it was done blooming, and then regretted it for well over a year because it really sulked. That's the difference between the less complex hybrids and the big blousy mutants we usually see around. They are just a little bit more sensitive. However, once it had finished making me feel guilty for having the audacity to disturb it, it put on good root and leaf growth (it never carries many leaves at a time, only usually two or three), and has now rewarded me with a flower spike worth looking at. So, without further ado, I should probably show you what all the fuss is about...

I can see both the parents in the flower. They are numerously produced but aren't very big, actually. No scent. I can't call it spectacular, but it does look a bit more 'botanical' which to my mind makes it more interesting. I love the spotting on he lip and the lower sepals which comes from the Phalaenopsis stuartiana side of the family (also in spike, you'll see in the next few weeks). I haven't tracked down a Phalaenopsis schillerana at a price I'm willing to pay as yet, sadly, but it's on my list. The pink colour comes from schillerana, though it is quite washed out in this hybrid.

One of the things I particularly like about this hybrid is its foliage, which comes from both parents, the silver markings make the plant very attractive even when its not in flower. I'm not certain what the purpose of the markings are, but possibly they aid in the collection of light in its parents natural habitat. Possibly they aid in its camouflage in dappled sunlight so predators can't see it so easily.  At any rate, its lovely.

The roots are slightly flattened and more silvery than they are in the complex hybrids, and seem even more apt to wander; everywhere except in the pot. This is obviously a throwback to the parents natural habits, and makes perfect sense. Many times I have been asked if a Phalaenopsis needs to be repotted because its roots are growing outside the pot, and I always explain that this is what they do. People say they look untidy, but I have never thought that. To me they are one of the things that set orchids apart from other 'houseplants' (a term I have never liked); flowers are almost an added bonus.

Flower spikes are branching. I think this one still has some growing to do. This is realistically its first proper blooming under my care. I will be very interested to see how it performs in the future.

This plant lives in my growroom with all the other Phalaenopsis species and hybrids, and gets watered and fed just the same. All are growing and doing well now so I must be doing something right. I may well post another photo when all the flowers are out. It is almost a shame that I trained the spike to grow upwards, but it would have got in the way if I'd allowed it to ramble as it pleases. In future, when I get better at orchid growing, I'd like to grow one of these mounted on wood to mimic its natural habitat to see how it does.


  1. Beautiful foilage on that phalaenopsis.What potting media works best for you with phalaenopsis?

    1. Hi,

      This one is potted in coarse bark chips. Either medium or coarse bark seems to work well for all Phalaenopsis. If you are a frequent waterer, use coarse bark. If you tend to underwater, medium works best. I also tend to pot the species and primary hybrids in a coarse mix, while the complex hybrids seem fine in medium bark.

  2. Thanks Kevin
    I seem to loose phals after i repot them

    1. To be honest, unless there's a good reason to repot, they are better left alone. Reasons to repot would be broken down media, or plant has outgrown its pot. And by outgrown, i mean REALLY outgrown. Even then I tend to leave them unless the media has broken down.