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Aerides Multiflora - Fox Brush Orchid
Aerides multiflora is a beautiful orchid and it grows in the tropical Asia, from India to Thailand.
Taxonomic details (scientific names and local names): A few of the other names of this orchid are Aerides multiflorum, Aerides affine, Aerides godefroyana, Cleisostoma vacherotiana, Epidendrum geniculatum. Locally also it is known by different names in different regions. The English name is fox brush orchid or Cat’s tail orchid; in India it is called Banda (Munda), maana, Lawhlengpar and in Thailand it is called Aiyaret.
Physical description: An epiphyte, it grows in tropical to temperate climates. It has a monopodial orchid. This orchid grows as an erect plant when young, but as it ages it tends to become pendulous (just like us!). Another interesting feature of this orchid is that in winter the dark green leaves take on a reddish tinge. Evergreen leaves are fleshy.
Flowering details: The flowers are beautiful and sometimes produce a pleasant scent (my never does, though). They grow from June to July, in a pendulous inflorescence which grows longer than the leaves. The flowers are densely arranged in the inflorescence. They are pink coloured, further bearing spots of darker pink.
1. Light: This orchid can tolerate bright sunlight, but if you are planning to give it that then remember also to provide a very high humidity.
2. Watering: It likes high watering, with proper drainage. Show good growth in higher humidity.
3. Air circulation: A. multiflora being an epiphyte loves good air circulation. Hanging the plant outdoors is a good option, in your verandas, porches, terraces, balconies etc.
4. Growth medium: If you are growing these in hanging baskets then a mixture of moss, fern chips and charcoal. Tree barks can also be used, but avoid the bark of Quercus (Oak) which can adversely affect the growth of the orchid.
5. It likes to grow in pure formations in nature. You will not find it growing with other epiphytes (ferns or other orchids). So I will not recommend growing this orchid on the ‘orchid tree’. The fruit pods contain microscopic seeds which are difficult to germinate in environments other than its nature one, as the germination is assisted by the presence of a mycorrhizal fungus. The best way to multiply this orchid is to divide the offshoots growing out from the base.
6. Fertilization: Depending upon the type of growth medium you are using. With slow releasing mediums fertilization is not very necessary. Though, you can give foliar fertilizers to your orchid. Fertilizer having ratio of 30:10:10 (N:P:K) when the orchid is not flowering and during flowering keep the concentration at 10:20:20 (N:P:K).
Pest and Diseases
1. Pests: Insects such as Mealy bugs might be growing in the growth medium. Best action is to discard this medium and before putting the orchid in new medium clean the roots with insecticide. Other insects such as spider mites should not be sprayed with insecticide, rather use neem oil, insecticidal soap is a better way to get rid of them.
2. Diseases: In case viral, fungal or bacterial infections in any of the orchids, quickly place that orchid separately from the rest of your plants. To treat the infected orchid, cut off the infected part with a clean blade. Give the orchid some time to recover and once it bounces back, you can place back with other healthy orchids.
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