Michael Charters, www.calflora.net
Plant Common Name
The graceful aerides-with-five-wounds orchid bears a fragrant drooping cluster of small, ivory and fuchsia-violet spotted blossoms in summer and autumn. A large evergreen epiphytic orchid, this species is native to forested tropical highlands of Malaysia and the Philippines. It grows from a short pseudobulb with dangling aerial roots that clasp to tree trunks for support.
The medium green leaves are leathery and strap-like with two lobes at their ends. In early summer into fall, a long drooping flower cluster forms from the tip of the fan-like cluster of wavy leaves. The cluster has many blossoms that are sweetly scented. Each is ivory with many tiny fuchsia-violet spots. Five dominant spots of the same purplish color accent all five of the petals/sepals. Natural varieties of this species include more yellow flowers, all white, or nearly solid plum-violet flowers.
Grow Aerides houlletiana in nearly full sun to very bright partial shade mounted upon a tree branch, in a wide-grate or basket. With its long roots, it requires a very open breakable basket that will permit repositioning into a larger basket or tree mount. Take care not to damage roots when transplanting. This is a tropical orchid, so it requires a warm, frost-free location. It grows without soil with its roots exposed. High humidity, excellent air circulation, and frequent rainfall from spring through fall is ideal. Allow the plant to become drier and receive more light in autumn and winter. From spring to fall, apply diluted liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks. Leaves can scorch in hot afternoon sun, especially with low ambient humidity. Leaves also become overly yellow-green when light is too intense and lack of sunlight can prevent flowering, so strive to maintain balanced light.
This is a lovely specimen plant for a hot sun room or greenhouse in cold climates, or as an accent plant upon a tropical tree trunk or in a hanging basket for the patio. Use the cut flowers for hair decals, table garnishes or floral arrangements.
AHS Heat Zone
12 - 9
USDA Hardiness Zone
12 - 14
Partial Sun, Partial Shade
14"-20" / 35.6cm - 50.8cm
16"-24" / 40.6cm - 61.0cm
Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall
Container, Cutflower, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical
Sharp or Has Thorns