The Philippines is where Phalaenopsis sanderiana, also called Sander’s Phalaenopsis, first appeared. It has a classic appearance thanks to the cascading flowers it produces. To create hybrids, this orchid variety is frequently crossed with different phalaenopsis. In actuality, if you discover an unidentified phalaenopsis at a big-box retailer or garden center, it is probably a hybridized form of Phal. sanderiana.
Because they are relatively simple to care for and phal. sanderiana lives up to its genus, phalaenopsis are popular houseplant orchids.
For those who are unfamiliar with orchids, Phal. sanderiana and its hybrids are ideal, and for those who already have a sizable collection, it’s worthwhile to look into Phal. sanderiana hybrids to find new orchids that will stand out from what you already have.
Phalaenopsis Sanderiana Taxonomy
Phalaenopsis sanderiana is a lovely species native to the Philippines, where it can be found growing up to 450 meters above sea level in the tree branches of humid forests.
It is a small-sized, hot-to-cold-growing pendant epiphyte with elliptic to oblong-elliptic, obtuse-rounded, tapered to the conduplicate base, 16-28 cm long, and roughly 10 cm wide leaves that are green with purple and silver overlay.
A racemose or few-branched, arching-erect paniculate inflorescence up to 80 cm long, with tiny, triangular, concave, fearsome floral bracts carrying 15 to 20 showy, membraneous flowers that bloom from mid-spring to late summer, characterizes Sander’s Phalaenopsis. The flowers have a 7.5 cm diameter and are a light pink color. Oval in shape, the lateral sepals are longer. They have rhomboid petals. The lip is triangular in shape, about 3 cm long, and white with purple or cinnamon stripes on each side. The lateral parts of the lip are bent upward.
Phalaenopsis Sanderiana Care Guide
Phalaenopsis sanderiana is an exception to the rule that most phalaenopsis orchids prefer less sunlight. This orchid can withstand more intense sunlight. Phal. sanderiana can tolerate morning and afternoon sunlight, but you should protect it from direct noontime sunlight, especially during hot summer days.
The leaves of your orchids will start to turn yellow or red if they receive too much sunlight. The leaves may appear darker green than usual if they are not receiving enough sunlight. Watch for clues and change your position as necessary.
The leaves of an orchid that is getting enough light will be medium- to light-green in color. In order to prevent the plant from getting sunburned, place it behind a curtain (for instance, on a table near the window) or in the shade of other plants. While southern-facing windows are thought to be the best option, western and, to a lesser extent, eastern windows are also taken into consideration in their absence.
The Philippine native Phalaenopsis sanderiana is accustomed to growing in a moderately hot, humid climate. They prefer temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime and a minimum of 60 to 65 degrees at night.
Phal. sanderiana can endure temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit for a while during the winter. Small fluxations typically do not harm these orchids.
The orchids should be kept in the following conditions all year long: daytime temperatures should be between 18 and 24 °C, and nighttime temperatures shouldn’t fall below 16 °C. It is essential that the content’s nighttime temperature be 4 °C lower than its daytime temperature for successful indoor cultivation.
Phalaenopsis sanderiana likes more humidity than most homes can offer as most orchids do. They prefer environments with humidity levels of between 60% and 80%. At the same time, this level of humidity is ideal for Phal. sanderiana, it is less than ideal for you and your belongings, so you are unlikely to maintain it constantly in your home.
To increase humidity levels close to your orchids without affecting the rest of your home, think about placing a humidity tray with water underneath them. If you reside in an especially dry climate, occasionally using a humidifier can also be beneficial.
If you have indoor plants, you’re probably already aware that the frequency of watering depends on a number of variables. The amount of water needed depends on the position of the plant, the type of container it is in, and the growing medium. Typically, you need to water more in the summer than in the winter.
During the summer, water Phal. sanderiana once a week, adjusting as necessary. Avoid keeping the plant in a container that prevents the drainage of excess water, and make sure the growing medium is allowed to dry out between waterings.
If you already have other phalaenopsis orchids, you can anticipate watering Phal. sanderiana a little more frequently because most people find that it needs more water than other phalaenopsis orchids do. Try misting it every morning during the summer. This may assist in providing the additional moisture it requires.
In order for the water to evaporate before dusk, avoid misting your orchids in the afternoon. Crown rot may become a problem if you don’t. But don’t be alarmed; a few drops of water occasionally remaining on your orchids won’t likely cause any issues. If necessary, you can always put a fan close to your orchids to help with the airflow.
The majority of orchids are typically found growing happily in trees in the wild, and Phal. sanderiana is no different. Because of this, orchids do not thrive in regular houseplant potting soil. As an alternative, they require orchid-specific potting soil.
Pick a commercial orchid mix, a bark mix, or moss. These will enable water to drain effectively and prevent root rot in your orchid.
Phalaenopsis sanderiana can be grown on blocks, in pots, or in hanging baskets. The best substrate is a mixture of charcoal and thick coniferous tree bark. Small, narrow pots should be used for planting, and it is advised to create a thin layer of moss between the orchid and the block when growing it on a block to prevent the plant’s root system from drying out quickly. You can also place live or dry sphagnum above the roots.
It is necessary to repot this orchid every two to three years because frequent irrigation and fertilization cause the cortex to decompose too quickly, the substrate to lose its primary benefit to orchids—air permeability—and to become more acidic. This lowers the ability of the roots to absorb many essential micronutrients for orchids, like iron, and causes the plant to become weak and yellow. March is the ideal month for reporting. The orchid must be kept relatively dry for a while after the repotting in order to acclimate the plant and prevent the roots from the repot from rotting.
A mild fertilizer can help orchids grow well indoors because they cannot access the same nutrients that they would if they were growing in their natural environment.
For your orchids, you ought to pick a balanced fertilizer. A balanced fertilizer has the same amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, also referred to as the NPK elements. A balanced fertilizer would have an NPK of 20-20-20 or 15-15-15, for instance.
Choose a diluted fertilizer that enables you to regulate how much you are applying. A possible choice is Premium Orchid Food. You can use it each time you water your plants without worrying that you’ll use too much and harm your orchids.
This orchid produces a lot of flowers (15–20), pendant flowers with cascading petals, which are typically associated with orchids. Due to the desirable characteristics of its flowers, Phal. sanderiana is frequently used to produce numerous hybrid varieties.
Expect 3-inch, month-long blooms in shades of white, pink, or purple from a genuine Phalaenopsis sanderiana. Phal. sanderiana blooms in the off-season, from mid to late summer, unlike the majority of phalaenopsis.
Phal. sanderiana is frequently crossed to produce lovely hybrids due to its impressive flowers. When purchasing unmarked orchids, it is not unusual to come across a hybrid Phal. sanderiana because some of these hybrids are unnamed.
Purple Surprise: As its name suggests, this gorgeous hybrid of sanderiana and Bellina has silvery-silver leaves and purple flowers that typically have a diamond texture.
Nicole Dream: A striking sanderiana and fuscata hybrid, Nicole Dream is particularly attractive. It is a fantastic choice for enhancing your collection with unusual hues and designs.
Problems of Phalaenopsis Orchids
One of the most popular orchids sold as houseplants is the phalaenopsis species. Because they will grow and bloom outside of their natural environment provided some effort is made to mimic natural conditions, they are regarded as an easy orchid to care for.
Phalaenopsis is regarded as a “easy” orchid, but it can occasionally encounter issues. Here are some of the most frequent problems that occur along with solutions.
Since orchids are tropical plants, it makes sense that they would require a lot of water. They do require a moderate amount of water, but any extra water must quickly drain away.
The roots of an orchid rot when they are left in standing water. The most typical disease that affects orchids is root rot, which is entirely avoidable.
Check the roots if your phalaenopsis starts dropping buds erratically or if you notice soft, listless leaves. Root rot is indicated by soft, black roots. If left unchecked, overwatering that results in root rot can kill orchids in a matter of weeks.
You can still save the plant if there are a few solid, green roots left.
Rot presents yet another issue. You may have heard that, in order to prevent rot, you should never let the leaves or crown of your orchid get wet. While it is untrue that the crown can never become wet (after all, plants in the wild frequently experience rain), crown rot can develop when there is an excessive amount of moisture present but insufficient airflow.
Crown rot may be the issue if you see discoloration among the leaves close to the base of your orchid. Make sure there is no water accumulating at the base of your orchid. Instead of watering and misting your orchids at night when the sun will help things dry out more quickly, try doing it in the morning.
A fan placed close to your orchids can also be beneficial. After all, compared to plants grown in pots, orchids are exposed to more airflow in their natural habitat.
As soon as you notice the first symptoms, try to solve the issue. The likelihood that you can save your orchid decreases once the leaves turn black.
Scale, mites, and annoying pests like mealybugs can cause problems for your orchids.
Small and light-colored, mealybugs are typically found on the underside of leaves. Mealybugs should be immediately isolated from that plant and the rest of your collection. An easy to moderate-infestation can be handled with the aid of neem oil, horticultural oil, or insecticides. It is worthwhile replacing the used growing medium with a clean one because mealybugs can move around and conceal themselves in the growing medium.
Another frequent problem with orchids is spider mites. Although you probably won’t be able to see the mites, you’ll notice that sap loss has caused the underside of your orchid’s leaves to appear silver. These pests can be eliminated by wiping your plant down with rubbing alcohol. Try regularly misting your orchids to help keep mites away in the first place. Spider mites prefer hot, dry climates.
Scale, a potentially serious issue for orchids, can be challenging to eradicate, and any plant infected with it needs to be isolated right away to stop it from spreading. Once the pests are identified, rubbing alcohol and neem oil can help reduce their numbers.
Unfortunately, using insecticides to eradicate scale is the most efficient method, but most insecticides that are most effective at doing so have a tendency to be too toxic to use inside the home.
Know that Phalaenopsis sanderiana’s bloom schedule is somewhat different from that of most phalaenopsis if you notice that your plant does not appear to be blooming when you anticipate it to. Phal. sanderiana typically blooms in mid to late summer as opposed to the winter or spring.
When Phal. sanderiana should be blooming but if you are not seeing anything, there might be a problem. Make certain that your orchids receive adequate sunlight. Make sure you are providing Phal. sanderiana with the light it requires because it can tolerate some direct light in the morning and afternoon. Lack of light is indicated by dark-green leaves.
Check the root system next. Verify that you have not been overwatering, which would prevent your roots from receiving oxygen. Your orchids can bloom if their roots are healthy, but unhealthy roots won’t be able to store enough energy for blooming.