Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Star Orchid for the Holiday Season!

Orchid growing tips for the Christmas Star Orchid ....

Star of Bethlehem Orchid, also known as the Christmas Star Orchid is something you will want to keep your eyes out for to add to your collection this holiday season.

With its star shaped flowers it is exotic indeed, with its heady citrus spicy scent. It is of the Angraecum genus and include nearly 200 species native to the African Tropics and Madagascar.

Common characteristics of the Angraecum include waxy, white flowers, long nectaries, pollination by a specific moth, and generally are night fragrant. Ivory, creamy white, milky white and slight green tinges are the colors of the flowers. The long nectary is one of the more distinguishing characteristics of these orchids.

A. sesquipedale Flowers of the Angraecum orchids are extremely diverse in size, fragrance, growth habits. Sizes range from miniatures to the 5 inch "stars" of the A. sesquipedale. This species is one of the most popular. Flowers are showy and this orchid generally blooms in winter around Christmas time. It is nick-named "The Star of Bethlehem". Other species can flower at various times of the year.

Care of Angraecums:

  • Temperatures: The Angraecums tolerate a broad range of temperatures and adapt well to cool environments, intermediate and warm environments. Angraecums like a higher humidity of 60 - 80% and temperatures between 57 - 85 F. There are s few species require chilling weather for at least three months (A. sororium, A. protensum).

  • Light: Many varieties enjoy high light which is why they can be grown with Vandas and Cattleyas. Generally however, they grow well in phalaenopsis-like light with more shade than sun.

  • Watering: Give considerable amounts of water. Angraecums like "feet like phals"... they definitely like to stay moist. These orchids are sensitive to salt and fertilizer buildup, so flush well.

  • Fertilizer: Many growers recommend a 20-10-10 or 30-10-10 fertilizer solution year round. Generally, fertilize once every 3-4 weeks in the winter and every 2 weeks in spring and summer. Flush plants well after fertilizing to reduce salt buildup.
These awesome exotic "stars" certainly are a terrific addition to any holiday season .... here is wishing everyone happy holidays and a wonderful New Year!