Phalaenopsis bellina or the Moth orchid is one of the most common Phalaenopsis orchids. It is one of the sister species of Phalaenopsis violacea.
It is loved for its saturated color, wide petals, and lovely fragrance. The word Bellina comes from the word Bella which in Latin means beautiful.
Refer to our guide to know all about this beautiful and fragrant orchid.
What Is Phalaenopsis Bellina?
Phalaenopsis bellina is a small, epiphytic orchid endemic to Borneo and Malaysia. It belongs to the Phalaenopsis genus and Orchidaceae family.
It was earlier named Phalaenopsis violacea var. Borneo but was later moved to its own species because of differences in their habitats. Some of its common names are the Beautiful phalaenopsis and Phalaenopsis violacea Borneo variety. Christenson described it first in 1995.
Size and Growth
Phalaenopsis bellina is a small-sized orchid that grows in tree canopies where it receives abundant sunlight and rainfall. It also experiences wet and dry cycles. It grows in the swampy, riverine forests on lower tree branches or near the river stream. It has short, erect stems that carry the broad leaves.
Phalaenopsis bellina has broad, oval-shaped leaves that are glossy, leathery, and have a light-green shade. The color is lighter than other Phalaenopsis orchids, and the foliage is thick and succulent-like. The leaves can get about 12 inches long.
When the plant is mounted and grows, the new leaves point downward, and the older leaves shift to the sides. This happens so that all the leaves can absorb as much sunlight as possible. This phenomenon does not happen when it is planted in pots. So it grows the best when mounted on slabs of cork or fern.
Phalaenopsis bellina is a summer-blooming orchid that has a star-like shape. Some of these highly fragrant blooms may even bloom till late autumn. The flowers have a waxy texture.
It looks quite similar to Phalaenopsis violacea with slight differences in the bloom colors. The petals and sepals have a white or green tinge at the border and a deep magenta or purple color in the center.
The blooms have a sweet, fruity fragrance that is hard to resist. The flowers are 2 to 2.5 inches across. The upper petals have a light green color, whereas the lower sepals and the interior have a bright, striking magenta color. The lip is elongated and magenta-colored.
Phalaenopsis bellina has fibrous roots, and new roots emerge from the base of the stem. The roots have an outer layer called velamen. Velamen helps in protecting the plant cells from UV rays and absorbing water.
New roots have a light-green shade and turn grayish-green as the velamen matures. The thick roots have an amazing capacity for holding water for long periods of drought. Dense root hair coming out of velamen helps to anchor the plant to trees.
Phalaenopsis Bellina Culture and Care: Its Growth Requirements
Phalaenopsis bellina is quite similar to Phalaenopsis violacea when it comes to its growth and care requirements. Follow our guide below to know all about its light, water, temperature, humidity, and fertilizer requirements.
Phalaenopsis bellina needs bright, dappled sunlight to grow well. Do not keep it in direct sunlight at noon as it will burn the leaves. East and west-facing window sills are great spots to keep your orchid.
Abundant watering is the solution to a healthy Moth orchid during an intensive growth period. But Phalaenopsis bellina is an easy plant when it comes to watering as it can tolerate drought-like conditions for extended periods.
It likes to dry out in between two waterings. Keeping the soil conditions damp for too long will lead to root rot and plant decay. Do not let it remain dry for long periods, and complete dryness is also harmful.
We recommend using reverse osmosis or distilled water to water your orchid if tap water is too hard or salty. Water with high salt content turns the leaf tips black and kills the roots. Avoid using water with high chloride content too.
Watering frequency will depend on the conditions in your area. If it is dry and warm, you will need to water once a day or sometimes even twice a day in summer and less in winter. In humid areas, the watering frequency will go down. Maintain regularity in watering and allow the soil medium to get dry in between waterings.
Phalaenopsis bellina is a warm-growing orchid species. It prefers an average daytime temperature of 75 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit and an average nighttime temperature between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
It can tolerate warmer temperatures of summer, but in that case, you will have to put in efforts to increase the humidity level around the plant.
Phalaenopsis bellina prefers a loose, well-draining soil mix for optimal growth. A good substrate will be a mix of tree fern or fir bark with perlite if you want to grow it in pots. Use a standard orchid bark mix as a substrate for the orchid’s best health. If you want to mount it on cork slabs or tree ferns, wrap sphagnum moss around the roots and increase the watering frequency.
Phalaenopsis bellina is not a fussy orchid at all when it comes to humidity. However, it does enjoy high humidity with good air circulation. Try to keep it above 50 percent if you are growing it in pots, and your orchid will be happy.
But if it is growing bare-root, the humidity level has to be at least 80 percent. It is difficult to maintain high humidity all the time, so we suggest you do not grow it bare root.
Fertilize Phalaenopsis bellina regularly during the intensive growth period for best blooms. Fertilize it weekly with one-half of the recommended dose on a liquid orchid fertilizer. Reduce fertilization during autumn and stop it completely in winter. Resume gradually when spring approaches and new growth appears.
Repotting Phalaenopsis Bellina
If you notice your orchid outgrowing the existing pot or container or its soil medium decomposing, it is time to repot Phalaenopsis bellina. We recommend repotting in a new substrate during early spring when the new roots are growing.
Favorable spring conditions allow the plant to adjust to the new soil medium comfortably. If it is mounted, wrap fresh sphagnum moss around the roots after giving the plant a good drench.
– Bacteria Soft Spot
Bacteria Soft Spot or Erwinia is a common disease in orchids, especially Phalaenopsis orchids. It looks like a wet spot on the leaves, and within two to three days, the entire leaf turns soft and slimy.
Treat the infection by removing the infected tissue. If it is just one leaf, remove the entire leaf to prevent the disease from spreading to other parts of the orchid. Relocate your orchid to a brighter spot with excellent air movement, and lower humidity. Chemical treatment may be required in case of heavy infestation.
– Black Rot
Black rot is another common problem faced by Phalaenopsis bellina. It looks like a black spot on the affected part of the plant. Damp and stagnant water conditions cause fungal disease.
Look out for foul smells around the orchid. It may indicate some kind of infection. As a preventive measure, never water from above the leaves. But spray the roots or soil mix directly. Apply a fungicide if the orchid is heavily infected.
We have summarized below all the necessary information you should have about this beautiful Phalaenopsis bellina orchid.
- Phalaenopsis bellina is an epiphytic orchid belonging to Borneo.
- It remains small in size with beautiful magenta-colored flowers that bloom from summer to fall.
- It prefers bright, indirect light for the proper growth of roots and flowering.
- It is a drought-tolerant orchid that loves to dry out in between waterings.
- Frequently water in summer and reduce during winter as it goes into the rest period.
- Use a loose and airy soil medium consisting of fir bark and perlite for drainage.
- Use sphagnum moss if the plant is mounted on cork slabs.
- Keep the humidity level above 50 percent during dry summer and above 80 percent if it is bare-root.
- Since it is epiphytic, it loves to have good air movement around the roots.
- Fertilize with one-half of the recommended dose on any balanced, liquid orchid fertilizer.
- Repot your orchid when you see it overgrowing the existing pot or the soil mix decomposing. The ideal time to repot is early spring.
- It can face problems and diseases like bacteria, soft spot, black rot, and aphids which chemical treatments can treat.
If you are looking for an easy, drought-tolerant orchid, then Phalaenopsis bellina is the one for you. Add this beauty to your orchid collection and fill your home with a sweet fragrance.
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