Aerangis Biloba has impressive white blooms that are sure to get every orchid enthusiast’s attention.
It is easy to care for and rewards with beautiful, little scented bloom from early spring till autumn.
Read our comprehensive guide to find out all there is to know about the care and cultivation of this pretty orchid.
What Is Aerangis Biloba?
Aerangis Biloba is a small epiphytic orchid native to the Central and West African countries such as Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Guinea.
It is also known by its common name, Two-lobed Aerangis, because of the shape of its leaves. The leaf edges are curved, giving it a heart-like form.
– Size and Growth
Aerangis Biloba is a miniature to small-sized epiphytic orchid. In the wild, it can be found growing in the woody jungles. It can be found growing from sea level to 2000 feet in elevation. It grows on the twigs and bare branches of larger trees. Its stems are 4 to 8 inches long, bearing 5 to 10 egg-shaped leaves. Its small size makes it an excellent choice to keep in a terrarium.
The leaves of Aerangis Biloba have an interesting pattern with veins and spots throughout the plant. The tips of the leaves have two loves, which is why this orchid is called ‘Biloba.’ The lobes make this curved, heart-like, or egg-like shape. Each leaf is 7 to 8 inches long and 1 to 2.5 inches wide. The leathery leaves have dark green veins with black spots all over them. Even when the orchid is not in bloom, the plant is worth watching.
The Two-lobed Aerangis has small, nighttime fragrant, white flowers that bloom in clusters. They grow in a long flower spike. Each flower spike bears 8 to 10 flowers. Usually, the flowers open from the tip of the spike to the base of the plant. The blooms last for two to three weeks.
These are nighttime fragrant flowers with a musky, floral fragrance. They have a white cast and nectar at the bottom for moths to pollinate the plant. The petals and spur of the plant have a pinkish tinge at the ends.
The flowers bloom from spring till late summer on 4 to 16 inches long racemes. Each raceme can carry 2 to 20 of the waxy flowers. Blooming Aerangis Biloba is a sight worth watching when multiple spikes are full of flowers from spring till autumn.
Aerangis Biloba Care and Culture: Its Growth Requirements
– Light Requirements
Aerangis Biloba likes shady conditions with indirect, dappled light throughout the day. But it does not prefer absolute low light conditions. If you are growing your orchid outdoors, hang it or mount it on a larger tree where it can receive the right amount of dappled light along with rainwater during the rainy season. If you are growing it in a pot or container, keep it in a shaded spot where it receives bright, indirect light.
Unlike other orchid species, it is not too fond of bright light. So keep it in a shaded spot receiving dispersed light throughout the day. Ensure good air movement around it so that the roots do not rot.
– Water Requirements
Aerangis Biloba prefers a fast wet-dry cycle, which means it likes to dry out just a bit in between two consecutive waterings. But the drying out period should not be too long as otherwise, its roots will begin to get dry. It can be easily dehydrated because it does not have any kind of storage system and its roots are exposed to air movement. So watering your orchid often and letting it dry out a bit is the key to its successful blooming.
In the winter months, spaced waterings allowing the soil mix to dry out work well. It does not have a specific dry, winter rest period. But it likes to be on the drier side with cooler temperatures. As a general rule, water your mounted orchid almost daily during the growing period and once a week in the winter season. But this is bound to change according to the conditions in your area.
– Soil Mix
Aerangis Biloba grows attached to tree branches in the wild. So it loves a lot of air movement around the root. It grows well on both slabs and pots. But it prefers to be mounted rather than potted so that its root system receives enough air movement. Its hanging flower shoots look better when it is mounted or planted in hanging baskets.
Use an aerated, well-draining soil mix to grow this orchid. If you are growing your orchid in pots, make a loose soil mix. To make an airy soil mix, add bark chips mixed with perlite or charcoal for good drainage. You can also use wine corks or coconut husk chips to grow your orchid in a pot. The basic idea is to keep the substrate as loose and thick as possible. With strong air circulation, the roots can grow out of the container over time.
Aerangis Biloba is an intermediate to warm-growing orchid. It is an easy grower as it can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. On average, it prefers temperatures between 60 and 85 F.
It prefers an average daytime temperature between 80 and 85 F and an average nighttime temperature between 62 and 68 F. The difference between the daytime and nighttime temperatures helps initiate the flowering process.
Aerangis Biloba is a humidity lover and prefers humidity levels between 80 and 85 percent during the spring and summer months and 70 to 75 percent during autumn and winter.
It gets dehydrated fast because of the high air movement. So keep the moisture and humidity levels high by misting the plant regularly by keeping humidifiers and humidity trays around it.
Do not let humidity fall below 60 percent as the plant dehydrates quite fast. If the air in your area is too dry, we recommend growing the orchid in a pot. Mounted Aerangis orchids require extra watering and care.
You will not have to water them twice a day in pots and containers, and moisture levels will be slightly higher than the mounted ones. To make humidity trays, take a small tray and fill it with small pebbles and water. Keep your pot above it, and as the water evaporates, the plant will absorb the required moisture.
– Fertilizer Requirements
During the period of intensive growth, fertilize your orchid using one-fourth to one-half of the recommended dose on a liquid orchid fertilizer.
Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer from spring till late summer and a phosphorus-rich fertilizer from late summer to autumn. You can also use a well-balanced NPK 20:20:20 fertilizer for your orchid.
Make sure you wet your plant thoroughly before fertilizing it. It ensures that the roots are not burned. Fertilization should be eliminated until new roots and shoots start to appear. So avoid fertilizing your orchid in the winter months.
Repotting Aerangis Biloba
Aerangis Biloba does not like to get its roots disturbed too often. So, repot your orchid when it is required. It could be when the plant has outgrown the older pot or when its soil medium has started to decompose.
The ideal time to repot is in early spring when new roots begin to appear in the plant. This season is when it becomes easier for the plant to acclimatize to the new soil conditions and environment.
It can be propagated from cuttings dipped in the rooting hormone. You can also use Aerangis Biloba seeds for propagation, but it can be time-consuming.
Protect your plants from insects and pests by spraying Neem oil regularly.
Aerangis Biloba should be on your must-have orchid list not just because of its gorgeous blooms but also because of its unique leaves. Even when it is not blooming, you can enjoy the exciting patterns on its leaves.
Listed below are all the crucial points you have to remember before growing this orchid:
- Aerangis Biloba is a small epiphyte that grows in the woody Central and West African jungles from Senegal to Cameroon.
- It has pretty white flowers that bloom during spring and summer and last for two to three weeks.
- It has lower light requirements compared to other orchids and prefers to grow in dappled and diffused light.
- Water your orchid quite frequently in spring and summer, allowing it to dry out a bit in between waterings.
- It prefers strong air movement around its roots, so keep the substrate airy by mixing thick bark chips with perlite to maintain good drainage.
- It grows well in temperatures ranging between 60 and 85 F.
- Keep the humidity level high, around 80 to 85 percent, using a humidifier or humidity trays.
- Use a well-balanced orchid fertilizer during the intensive growth period and reduce it in autumn and winter.
- Repot Aerangis Biloba when its substrate starts to decompose or when it has outgrown the existing container.
Aerangis Biloba is a great species to add to your orchid collection. Now that you know all about this light-scented, white charming orchid, we hope you will get your hands on one of these beauties soon.
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