Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Kopi Talk Mariposas Flowering

MANILA, Philippines - The cool Amihan breeze sweeping the country signals the flowering of the Butterfly orchids, or Phalaenopsis. This is one of the most graceful and elegant orchids. It is locally known as the mariposa, or moth orchid, as it resembles a butterfly in flight. It's a common orchid plant as it is easy to cultivate and propagate. The growing of this orchid was perfected by the Taiwanese, and it's massed produced during the first quarter of the year in time for the Chinese New Year. This orchid blooms with large flowers that come in white, pink, green, lavender-gray with stripes, spots and blotches. It's an ideal indoor plant as it thrives in shady areas and requires little water. The genus name Phalaenopsis comes from the Greek word "phalaena," meaning moth, and "opsis," meaning appearance. Out of the 42 species and 36 varieties worldwide, 20 species and 18 varieties are found here in the Philippines. However, most of the improved and saleable plants are hybrids, which are crosses from the species. There are more than 40,000 hybrids in this genus and there are more hybrids being registered in this single genus than any other orchid genus. It is recommended to place the plant under bright-filtered light and not under direct sunlight. This is a shade-loving plant and its leaves can easily get sun-burned or scorched. The plant can be watered once every three days. The leaves and crown have to be kept dry between watering. Younger plants require more watering than matured plants. The plant can benefit from occasional misting to prevent it from dehydrating. Outdoors, it would need plastic roofing or protection from heavy rains. It can be attached to a palm tree or tree trunk. It also needs air movement between plants as it can't tolerate stagnant air. A slight breeze within the garden or inside the room will be sufficient. Plants will also benefit from regular spraying of foliar fertilization, once every week. They can be established in plastic or clay pots using charcoal or chopped coconut husk. It can also be grown on wooden slabs, but soil should never be used. Spray a dilute insecticide and fungicide if infestation or diseases like rots occur. January to March is the flowering season of the Phalaenopsis. It usually blooms in response to the cool temperature. Flowers or blooms last for a month so you're going to see a lot of this plant this now, especially since local orchid growers are grooming their priced orchids in preparation for the Flora Filipina Exp, which kicks off on February 24.