The orchids in the Twin Cities area are stunning right now! Are you seeing many orchids blooming indoors in your area? There are scores of different varieties in the stores here, but I’ve only seen the Phaius orchids (pictured above) at my local conservatory. Are you familiar with them? Like the Phalaenopsis I showed you earlier this week, there are many Phaius hybrids available to home growers. However, they’re far larger than average orchid.
I’m 5′ 4″ and I look up into the glorious blooms of this Nun’s Hood (Phaius tankervilleae) orchid. Talk about brightening a gloomy winter day! This orchid is spectacularly showy and like most other orchids, its blooms are long-lasting. It obviously requires a sizeable space and pot, but if you had a bright, warm area that wasn’t too dry, you could manage it. As you can see, the flowers bloom on wonderfully tall spikes. The Nun’s Hood has a white tubular throat that gives way to a beautiful magenta lip.
The leaves are broad and just as lovely.
The leaves of Phaius orchids grow from the psuedobulbs. Psuedobulbs are common in the orchid family. While difficult to explain the exact structure, psuedobulbs are the part of the plant that retains the moisture. I’ll write about them in more detail another time. For now, know they’re an incredibly interesting and hard-working part of the plant that requires a good deal amount of space in the container. For all of you plant geeks, here’s a better view….
Nerdy as it may sound….I think that is one cool plant structure!
The Nun’s Hood are truly spectacular phaius orchids, but there are many other hybrids available. Another gorgeous but more traditional looking phaius is the Rabin’s Raven. The color is more brown-red and begins far earlier on the throat extending down to the lip. The sepals are also darker. This orchid is also fragrant.
It looks like an opera star preparing to bow!
If you live close to the Twin Cities area, these and many other orchids are on display right now at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Myer-Deats Conservatory. The full orchid show Timeless Beauty opens Friday, February 5 and runs through March 5. It will include an eight foot waterfall cascade of moth orchids, Oncidium, Phalaenopsis, Cymbidium, Cattleya, and Laeliocattleya. Photography classes, talks with orchid experts and a variety of other orchid displays will round out the event.
You might also want to check out the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory this weekend. They’re hosting the Winter Carnival Orchid Show- Escape To The Tropics. It promises to be one of the largest privately owned orchid shows in our region. I’ve heard over 5,000 folks attend and love it. Show hours are from 10 am – 4 pm. In addition to beautiful orchids, several reputable orchid vendors will be there. Hope to see you there!
Stay warm and keep growing!