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A picture of a East Indian Butterfly Plant

East Indian Butterfly Plant

Phalaenopsis amabilis

Phalaenopsis amabilis 13-01-2010 15-36-23 by Paul Hermans (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Partial Shade
Moderate care
Moderate watering
Tender

13b

USDA zone

18°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

1m

Max

50cm

50cm

Min

10cm

1 years to reach maturity

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images

Phalaenopsis amabilis Orchi 2013-03-22 027
Phalaenopsis amabilis Orchi 198
A photo of East Indian Butterfly Plant

Overview

Phalaenopsis amabilis is an epiphytic orchid species in the family Orchidaceae. It is also known as East Indian butterfly plant and it produces 3-5 oval, fleshy leaves up to 50cm long. Long-lasting flowers are strongly scented and pure white in colour. They can measure up to 10cm wide and have yellow-red patterning on the inner petal surfaces (flower throat). These are produced on branched raceme structures which can grow to 1m high.

Common problems

Root rot is a common problem with over watering. Allow roots to dry between waterings. Slugs and snails can also sit between leaf nodes, remove promptly.

Harvesting

When the blooms are finished, cut the spike down to the level of the leaves and the plant will bloom with larger flowers and a strong stem within a year.

Propagation

Cuttings

Small plantlets (keiki) appear from the nodes on the flower stems. Detach the plantlets when they have developed several good roots, and pot them up in orchid compost. Water sparingly at first.

Special Features

Indoor plant

Should be cultivated inside, a windowsill with dappled sunlight works best.

Attractive flowers

Pot plant

These plants are epiphytic, so if not attached to a branch of a tree, they should be grown in pots. A proprietary orchid compost (like bark) is recommended.