Rhynchostylis Gigantea is quite similar to the Vanda orchids but differs because Rhynchostylis Gigantea has a one-lobed lip. These orchids have gorgeous and fragrant flowers that bloom in clusters.
Find out all about its growing habits and growth requirements in our care and cultivation guide.
What Is Rhynchostylis Gigantea?
Rhynchostylis Gigantea is native to the Southeast Asian countries of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Borneo. It is known for its peculiarly spicy fragrance.
It is because of their long and thin inflorescences that these orchids are also called the foxtail orchids. Some of its other common names are the Giant Rhynchostylis, Anota Gigantea, and Anota Densiflora. John Lindley described it first in 1896.
– Size and Growth
Rhynchostylis Gigantea is a medium-sized, epiphytic orchid that can reach a maximum height of 25 inches. It has 5 inches long stems that carry the leaves. Its growth pattern is slow as compared to other orchids. It has monopodial growth, which means that it grows upwards from a single point. There is a central shoot with lateral stems and leaves around.
These orchids do not have pseudobulbs. So there is no way for them to store water and nutrients. Despite them not having pseudobulbs, these orchids are quite drought-resistant. Rhynchostylis Gigantea seeds are too small and not easily countable.
Rhynchostylis Gigantea has thick, leathery leaves that can be 12 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide.
Despite its name Rhynchostylis ‘gigantea’, this orchid has tiny, fragrant blooms that are hardly 1 inch across. These orchids are also called foxtail orchids because of their long and thin inflorescences that can reach a height of 15 inches.
The flowers are displayed in a cluster on the flower spikes. The foxtail-like flower spikes carry 15 to 50 flowers that bloom primarily in spring. They have a spicy fragrance that is almost like citrus fruits. The scent is maximum in the evening.
These orchids come in many colors, such as white, red, and purple. Rhynchostylis Gigantea red is a standard variety. The blooms can last up to two weeks. Most flowers have three sepals, two petals, and a lip.
Rhynchostylis Gigantea has fleshy roots that get entangled over time. It also grows aerial roots.
Rhynchostylis Gigantea Care and Culture: Its Growth Requirements
Read all its growth requirements below and replicate its natural growing environment at your home.
– Light Requirements
As opposed to the Vanda orchids, the Gigantea orchid needs indirect light. It prefers a lot of bright, diffused sunlight to grow well. Do not put your orchid in direct sunlight as it can cause leaf burns. Warm, tropical-like climates work the best for its growth. During the summer, keep it in filtered light. During the winter months, you can keep it in the direct sun in the morning and evening.
– Water Requirements
Rhynchostylis Gigantea likes to be watered abundantly during the growing period from spring to autumn. Let the soil mix dry out just a bit in between waterings. Keep the soil more moist when the plant is in bloom. While keeping the soil moisture high, do not forget to keep the air moving. Without proper air circulation around the plant, its roots can rot.
If your plant is in a pot or a basket, do not keep the soil mix wet or soggy for too long. Wet and soaked conditions are suitable for orchids hanging without substrate, but if it is planted in a bark mix, keep the watering frequency according to the conditions in your area.
Rhynchostylis Gigantea needs less watering from winter to early spring as it goes into rest. During the rest period of winter, the plant likes to dry out significantly in between the waterings.
– Soil Mix
Finding the perfect soil mix for Rhynchostylis Gigantea is not an issue. These orchids can grow well hanging loosely on tree branches and baskets with little or no soil mix around the roots. If you are not using any soil medium, you must keep the roots moist. This means that in dry weather, you might have to water the plant several times a day in summer.00
They also grow well in hanging baskets and pots with a loose soil mix. If you are growing them in pots, use a combination of thick orchid fir bark and perlite to make a well-draining soil medium. Some people also use only charcoal as a substrate.
Rhynchostylis Gigantea is a warm to hot-growing orchid. Avoid keeping it outside in frost-like conditions. It does not like extreme temperatures.
Rhynchostylis Gigantea prefers an average daytime temperature of 88 to 92 F and an average nighttime temperature between 75 and 78 F. The difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures is required to induce flowering.
Rhynchostylis Gigantea is a humidity-loving orchid. It prefers more than 75 to 80 percent from spring to autumn and around 70 to 75 percent in winter. Maintain high humidity with strong air circulation to keep the plant healthy. High humidity without air movement can cause root rot and other fungal diseases.
If the air is too dry in your area, keep the humidity levels high by misting the plant regularly. Place humidity trays and humidifiers around the plant. Lack of humidity can cause the leaves to become dry and wilted.
– Fertilizer Requirements
Proper fertilization techniques and schedules can make your plant bloom optimally. Like most other orchids, Rhynchostylis Gigantea loves to be fed during the active growth period from spring to late summer. Apply one-fourth to one-half of the recommended dose on a liquid orchid fertilizer. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer from spring to mid-summer and shift to a phosphorus-rich fertilizer from late summer to autumn. Do not fertilize during winter as the plant goes into its rest period.
After fertilizing, always make sure to water your plant. If you apply fertilizer to a dry soil mix, it can cause the plant roots to burn.
Repotting Rhynchostylis Gigantea
Rhynchostylis Gigantea does not like frequent repotting. Repotting is not required if it is growing without any soil medium. But it may be necessary every year or one and a half years when the substrate begins to decompose. Old and decayed soil mix can cause root rot and can even lead to the plant’s death. The right time to repot is when the new roots and growth begin to appear. This way, it is easier for the plant to adapt to new surroundings.
If you use thick bark chips as soil medium, then repotting every year may not be required. It takes three to four years for the thick bark chips to break down. So you can avoid repotting for a few years.
The plant does not like to be disturbed unless required. Early spring is a good time to shift the plant as it gives the plant enough time to adapt to its new environment before facing the summer heat.
Gently remove the old soil medium by washing off the plant. If you are unable to take out the roots from the plastic pot, you will have to cut the pot to prevent root damage. Moisten the roots to make them flexible and to avoid breakage. Spray hydrogen peroxide to clean the plant and let it dry. Fill the new pot with orchid bark mix and place the plant in the pot.
Rhynchostylis Gigantea produces beautiful blooms in clusters. If you are a fan of flowers, you must buy these fragrant blooms. The fragrance might not be a favorite of many, but the pretty blooms are a major attraction.
- Rhynchostylis Gigantea is native to Thailand and other surrounding East-Asian countries.
- It has tiny, fragrant flowers that grow in clusters in spring.
- It thrives in medium to bright, dappled sunlight. The harsh sunlight of noon can burn its leaves.
- It prefers frequent watering during the active growing season, with the soil mix only drying up a bit in between the waterings. Never let the soil mix go completely dry.
- It is a warm to hot-growing orchid and does not prefer extreme temperatures. Try to maintain tropical-like conditions around it.
- It prefers high humidity conditions between 70 and 80 percent to grow well.
- High humidity levels ensure that the plant gets enough air movement to prevent fungal infections and root rot.
- Fertilize your orchid actively during the growing season with well-balanced, liquid orchid fertilizer.
- The plant needs a dry winter rest period that helps in initiating blooms in spring. During the rest period, control the frequency of watering and fertilizing.
- Provide a warm and humid growing environment with proper air circulation for optimum growth.
- Repot your plant only when new growth begins to show, and the old soil mix begins to decompose.
The foxtail orchids will not disappoint you if you follow our care tips. Now that you know all about these beauties, get your hands on one and see them bloom!
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