Tips for Planting Miniature Phalaenopsis

We need to carefully maintain a small collection of miniature phalaenopsis all season long to achieve the optimal bloom time to maximize the appeal of these plants. The British Violet Society put out their annual Miniature Phalaenopsis and other plant features to encourage people to spring them. We’ve got to make a note for next year’s leaf peeping. Each plant needs three to five years in the garden before it begins to flower quite strongly.

Besides a fresh bud, I get a joyous crunchy crunch! [image 12 and 13]

Did you know that miniature phalaenopsis is native to southern Europe and eastern Asia? Some come to our shores in partially planted pots, but the geeks in the garden office call this potted phalaenopsis the perfect choice for those who want to create a miniature plant collection.

Look for:

Starry Night miniature phalaenopsis

According to the British Phalaenopsis Society, Ptes. 16-4 Magnabirdia is “One of the earliest and most loved in the world.” The best way to break into this small group would be to grow potted phalaenopsis in empty pots. You’ll eventually be sure of the shape and the color of this orchid, so it’s really for the first time you’ll find a delightfully spiky plant in such a large plot of soil.

Fill a pot to a level 4 inches. Squeeze the surrounding soil to create a shallow cut-off just under the pot’s surface. Gently push your finger into the center to loosen the soil. Then spread the plant to a 3 to 4 inch platform. Allow to grow about 12 inches and pinch back just below a bud (or elongate the stem slightly if you don’t have a bud yet). It’s time to encourage that giant open bulb to grow!

You’ll probably find that the potted phalaenopsis will not be destined for the White Hat in the garden anytime soon, but they will rival the white variety and make a palatable addition to a miniature crocus group or a pre-holiday display. Potted phalaenopsis are fantastic just getting started, but with proper care they will grow happily into heavy plants with flower clusters of up to three inches wide and three to four inches tall.

Unexpected! Look for a sharp spiky plant with well-developed blooms.

Do try keeping your dwarf phalaenopsis one inch from the soil surface. When you look at them closely, you’ll see that the fibrous bracts (crowns) along the stem, are much more pointed and visible on these plants. Now you can safely place your miniature potted phalaenopsis just one inch away from the soil surface. If necessary, scoop the soil around the bottom of the pot. This doesn’t have to be too deeply if you can pull out 3/4 inch of extra dirt to make room for the new plant.

Master gardener Kim Covington shares her tips on getting started with miniature phalaenopsis.

Master gardeners are found on the At Home on the Green page

* Published in Gardening on the Green (

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