Orchid of the Week: Aerides lawrenceae

This is a orchid species indigenous to the Philippines.  It must be amazing to see in the wild hanging in the forest canopy; perfect the way Mother Nature made it.  I saw this orchid blooming on a bench at an orchid show in Chicago in 2005 and decided I had to have it.  So I carried the orchid back on the plane sitting in my lap.  I purchased it as a blooming size seedling which then took me almost 3 years to bloom.  It has the sweetest grape candy smell which permeates the whole greenhouse every morning.  Best of all it blooms several times a year now!

Required Light:  In the greenhouse I use 50% shade cloth and hang this orchid in a spot where it gets mostly morning and afternoon sun but no Midday sun. Under artificial lights such as a 400 watt HPS I recommend it be at least 24” away from the bulb and off to the side by at least a foot.

Temperature: This orchid prefers night-time temperatures to be between 70°–75°F.  Daytime temperatures can reach 90°F or more without any problems

Humidity: Best kept at around or over 60% RH.

Required Watering: Depending on environmental factors, but in basket culture I recommend watering every day, possibly twice a day in the hottest parts of summer.  It is very important you keep water out of the growing crown where new leaves emerge from.

Fertilizer: Should be applied at ½ to 1/4 strength weekly. I prefer to use the Grow More brand of fertilizers.

Potting: I recommend growing this species in a basket to accommodate its rambling root habit as well as to mimic its natural growing conditions.  I would fill the basket with either Viastone or leave the basket empty.

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