Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Nun's Orchid

"The nun?s orchid, Phaius tankervilliae...
easily grown...

... its common name... had to do with the fact that is[t]... was frequently found growing in convents.
... the origin of the plant?s name seems to be that its striking, tubular flowers and wing-like sepals resemble the head coverings worn by nuns long ago.

... low-maintenance plant that is a vigorous grower... multiple 4-foot tall flower spikes each bearing 10 to 20 fragrant flowers up to 5 inches across.

... sepals are white on the outside with red to dark burgundy interiors edged in pale yellow. The flower?s lip is a purple tube with a ruffled tip
and short spur. Each individual blossom can last up to one month.

... large, thin, pleated leaves that reach up to 3 feet...

brought into cultivation from China in the 1800s...
a terrestrial orchid...

prefers temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees during the day and 55 to 60 degrees at night...
a bright window located away from hot or cold drafts and soil that is kept quite moist but not soggy.

... can be taken outdoors to spend the summer in a moist, shady spot. It is very adaptable and will adjust to... summer temperatures when given plenty
of water and good drainage.

... heavy feeders... should be fertilized wee[a]kly with every watering during the growing season...
quite cold tolerant... can withstand temperatures to 40 degrees...

Repot every two or three years right after plants finish blooming. Frequent repotting keeps plants producing strong new growth. Use a large, deep sturdy pot that will allow plenty of room for the roots while giving
counterbalance to the large upper part of the plant. Use a good quality potting soil that holds moisture while providing good drainage.

... easy to propagate...
dividing the plants at the end of the growing season. Place at least three stems in each pot and keep the new divisions shady and moist while rooting.

... growing outdoors in northwest Florida and in Dothan."

URL :
http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20071231/NEWS/326931503/1005/SPORTS0106

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