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Aerangis citrata care initially seems challenging, but they are actually one of the easiest tropical miniature orchid plants to care for. The Aerangis citrata of the Aerangis genus is a small orchid plant that grows profusely in eastern Madagascar. Its flowers are a lemon custard color that turns to pure white as it matures and, at the same time, emits a citrusy fragrance that makes this species one of the most popular orchids among collectors.
With its habitat being mostly tropical rainforests, the Aerangis citrata is often found busily pollinated by hungry native insects that thirst for its sweet orchid nectar, so if you want to know all the necessary details to take care of this plant, read ahead!
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Aerangis Citrata Care
One of the crucial aspects in caring for any orchid is the light requirements. Since orchids are used to growing in evergreen jungles and rainforests, the right level of light brightness is quite critical in maintaining healthy and flowering orchids. The Lemon-scented Aerangis is no different, as it is used to living in shady and low-light conditions and locations.
The Aerangis citrata does not like direct sun, as with most orchids. It flourishes in locations that offer soft filtered light, especially in areas with warm, humid weather. In temperate climates, the orchid plant appreciates commercial plant grow lights with a light level of 12,000 to 18,000 lux year-round. It prefers an ideal low-light exposure of twelve hours. The Lemon-scented Aerangis can even flower in very low light levels but does not grow well in a location that is too bright for it.
In the wild, the Aerangis citrata is exposed to natural periodic seasons of wet and dry weather, typical of tropical Madagascar. This cyclical and seasonal climate and weather conditions have shaped the growth and flowering habits of this gorgeous miniature orchid.
In temperate areas where they are in cultivation, the Lemon-scented Aerangis prefers regular and ample watering during its active growth period from late spring to autumn. The roots love to be moist but not wet. Care should be ensured that the roots can dry out quickly from the ample watering.
Aerangis citrata is a thermophilic plant, which means it thrives in temperatures that are warm to hot. In the wild, the temperature of its environment is largely dependent on the weather. However, in controlled conditions of cultivation, the Lemon-scented Aerangis appreciates a temperature of 82 to 84 F during the day and a night-time temperature of approximately 64 F.
Aerangis citrata enjoys growing on the forks between tree branches and stems in its native Madagascar. The locations and positions allow the plant the perfect ratio of water absorption, humidity, light, substrate mix, and support.
In cultivation, the Lemon-scented Aerangis prefers growing on rootstocks to showcase its pendant inflorescences. Once secured on rootstocks, bark slabs, and other forms of hanging mounts, the orchid prefers constant watering and misting to prevent dry roots.
Some growers prefer to place the orchids in clay pots with a mix of permeable substrates. Clay pots with loose substrate mixes encourage water drainage and air circulation. Repotting Aerangis citrata is advised once the substrate decays and decomposes, and repotting is ideal when the appearance of new roots is visible.
Lemon-scented Aerangis are used to their natural humid rainforests, where climate conditions create the ideal ratio of air circulation with air moisture content. In cultivation, these miniature orchids prefer a humidity level of 70 to 85 percent from late spring to autumn. In the colder winter months, the Aerangis citrata will appreciate a humidity level of 65 to 70 percent in controlled environments. Misting also helps increase the air humidity levels that these plants love so much.
Wild Aerangis citrata use their surrounding environment to absorb nutrients into their system with their long, fine roots from the surrounding decaying and decomposing forest debris. In cultivation, fertilization is recommended to keep the necessary nutrients present, enabling the orchids to be optimally healthy in controlled conditions.
Fertilization is advisable every week using a diluted solution that is half or a quarter of the recommended dosage strength of orchid fertilizers. During the growing period, which is spring to mid-summer, a water-soluble fertilizer that is high in nitrogen is ideal. Meanwhile, a water-soluble fertilizer that is high in phosphorous is ideal for late summer to autumn.
In winter, when the Lemon-scented Aerangis is resting from active growth and flowering, it is not ideal to use any kind of fertilizers at all. Frequent misting using rainwater, de-ionized water, or even reversed-osmosis water is ideal.
During the colder winter months in temperate climates, the Aerangis citrate requires less watering. Frequent misting will help the orchid prevent dry roots in between reduced watering schedules. Orchid growers are advised to watch out for either wrinkled roots from dehydration or root rot from excess water and act accordingly.
In carefully controlled conditions, when cultivating the Aerangis citrata, the most critical factors are the light, the humidity, and the temperature. Some growers have resorted to using a terrarium to control these factors.
A terrarium is an indoor plant environment in a sealed container. The plants and soil in the terrarium produce essential gases and moisture that are mutually beneficial for all living and non-living components inside it. This creates a mini self-nourishing environment.
Some growers have also attempted to grow these miniature orchids from Aerangis citrata seeds. Since the seeds are so tiny that they look like dust, many growers have been unsuccessful. Growing Lemon-scented Aerangis from seeds also does not yield high or even viable amounts of plants, so many growers prefer to propagate using other methods.
Frequently Asked Question
How long does it take for Aerangis citrata to produce a new plant?
It typically takes around 2 to 3 years for Aerangis citrata to produce a new plant from seed or division. Make sure to provide the new seedling or baby plant with the ideal care environment it needs in order to make them thrive.