Aerangis Orchids Plant Description
Many tropical orchids belong to the Aerangis genus, which are recognised by their stunning white, star-shaped blossoms. The genus comprises roughly 50 plants, most of which are endemic to Africa’s tropical areas, although a few are also found on Indian Ocean islands.
Despite their rarity in cultivation, Aerangis orchids are not difficult to grow, especially for beginners. However, they are sensitive to unexpected climatic changes, and plants, like other orchids, are frequently destroyed due to temperature or humidity fluctuations.
These orchids are epiphytic plants, meaning they grow on trees rather than just in soil, and they’re commonly planted in hanging baskets filled with bark chips or a sphagnum moss mixture.
The waxy blooms, which are generally white or yellow and fashioned like five-pointed stars, are the greatest and most unique aspect of an Aerangis plant. These flowers not only have a lovely scent, but they also blossom on a regular basis.
A single Aerangis plant may produce a large number of blossoms at once. Their leaves are evergreen, and the nectar in their spurs attracts birds. Despite their rarity, many Aerangis species, such as A. citrata, are occasionally cultivated by hobbyists, and a few hybrids are available to orchid enthusiasts and botanical specialists.
Gardeners who can replicate the tropical circumstances in which the Aerangis orchid flourishes should give this subtle and pleasant genus a try. The flowers are usually white or yellow in colour and are seen in tropical Africa and Madagascar.
The blooming period for these plants is usually from spring to fall, and the type of soil they require is orchid potting-mix with an acidic pH of 5.5 to 6.0. They can grow up to 6 to 24 inches wide and tall.
How To Care Aerangis Orchids?
Effectively cultivating Aerangis plants, like other tropical orchids, requires maintaining a healthy balance of the numerous components on which they rely. They require a well-aerated environment with plenty of sunshine and moisture.
Continue to feed them on a regular basis, and if their blooms aren’t enough, you can always add more fertiliser. Plants of the genus Aerangis are exceptionally well-suited to growing vertically on a hard surface, so try mounting yours if you have one.
Beginners should be able to cultivate these orchids with a little effort; just keep an eye out for typical orchid pests like scale and aphids that may feed on your plants.
How To Grow Aerangis Orchids?
To survive, these tropical orchids require a lot of strong indirect light, but they don’t like direct sunlight. They prefer a little more shade than other orchids, and the optimal habitat will mimic the light of an open location on a sunny day.
It’s ideal to use a well-draining epiphyte mix like minced sphagnum moss with styrofoam or wood chips. When cultivating these plants in hanging baskets, a normal orchid mix works nicely. Stagnant water will destroy these plants, so good drainage is necessary.
Aerangis orchids, particularly when cultivated epiphytically, require a highly wet climate. Always keep them adequately hydrated. A thorough misting is frequently necessary every day.
iv. Temperature and Humidity
Warm tropical conditions above 50 degrees Fahrenheit are required for these plants. These species are not frost-tolerant and do not respond well to temperature fluctuations.
Many of these species grow at higher altitudes in tropical zones in their original habitats, so they don’t require the intense heat of the jungle bottomlands. Temperatures of 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night and 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day are excellent.
Because these plants require at least 75% humidity, they will thrive in a greenhouse or terrarium setting. If you’re growing them in the open, be sure to sprinkle them every day with room-temperature water.
During the spring and summer growing seasons, feed with a balanced, diluted fertilizer on a regular basis. Even during the dormant season in the fall and winter, they might reduce the amount of fertilizer they use.
Varieties of Aerangis Orchids
Aerangis citrata, a Madagascar variation with yellowish blooms, is a popular Aerangis. It gets its name from those blossoms, which translate to “lemon-colored.” Some of the more prominent species are A. articulata, A. biloba, A. fastuosa, A. flabellifolia, A. mystacidii, and A. somasticta.
The hybrids created by mixing Aerangis with other orchid genera—the Aerangis genus easily hybridises with Angraecum, Aeranthes, and numerous other orchid variants—are very famous with enthusiasts.
Aerangis Orchids Potting and Repotting
Aerangis plants are frequently mounted on a sheer, vertical surface, such as cork or oak. You won’t have to repot your plants if you opt to grow them this way. They are, however, frequently cultivated in hanging baskets filled with a standard orchid mix of sphagnum moss and fine wood chips.
It’s a good idea to replace the container once every few years in this scenario. Lift the plant as a whole, being careful not to harm its delicate root systems.
How To Propagate Aerangis Orchids?
By dividing them, these epiphytes can be reproduced. Remove a significant part of the stem and transplant it into a warm, humid environment. Many gardeners wrap fresh divisions with bags to keep moisture in, and you may also use rooting hormone on the cuttings. Be attentive: It takes time for tropical orchids to establish themselves in a new setting.
Aerangis Orchids Common Pests and Diseases
Orchids may be fickle plants, vulnerable to a variety of pests and illnesses, which are more common when plants are grown in less-than-ideal circumstances. Mites, mealybugs, and scale insects are typical pests that may be treated with an isopropyl alcohol soaked swab.
Once the plant is excessively damp or too cold, it develops fungal or bacterial leaf spots. Affected leaf spots should be gently cut away with a razor blade, and the cut edges of the leaves should be treated with fungicide powder.
Due to the scant foliage of these plants, this is typically not a tough process. Infections with viruses can produce severe leaf deformation, necessitating the destruction of afflicted plants.
Too much or too little water, as well as temperatures that are too low or too high, can induce flower bud drop. When it comes to raising orchids, the most difficult part is getting these circumstances precisely perfect.