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RHYNCHOSTYLIS gigantea

Image of Rhynchostylis gigantea

Family

Orchidaceae

Botanical Name

RHYNCHOSTYLIS gigantea

Plant Common Name

Orchid, Rhynchostylis

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Leathery leaves are a lovely foil above the dense flower clusters of small white and violet-purple flowers of the giant rhynchostylis orchid in autumn and winter. A large clumping tropical orchid, this species is from the hot, very humid forests of southeastern Asia from Myanmar (Burma) to Vietnam. It is an epiphyte (growing upon another plant) that experiences lots of humidity and rain in summer but a markedly drier winter.

This orchid grows from stout, short stemmed pseudobulbs that have long, fleshy and dangling roots. Leaves are thick and leathery, rich medium green and strap-like with lighter colored veins. The plant actively grows during the heat and rains from late spring to fall. In autumn, mature pseudobulbs can produce one or many gently arching flower stems that will be lined with dozens of tiny fragrant flowers. Each waxy blossom is primarily white but with spotting or blushing of purple, violet, or lavender. The lip is intensely colored magenta or violet and fades to white at its base where it meets the petals. After flowering ends, the plant has a rest period with little watering over the warm winter.

Grow giant rhynchostylis orchid in very bright partial shade to very bright shade, always protected from direct sunlight in the hottest part of the day to prevent leaf scalding in summer. It does not grow in soil; it should be mounted upon a tropical tree or palm trunk, nestled in a hanging wooden slat basket or heavy container with coarse bark. Water must drain through the plant and media quickly and entirely. Water and dilutely fertilize when actively growing from spring to fall, reduce watering and stop fertilizing in winter. Humidity should always be high.

Use as a clumping accent in a sultry tropical landscape for trees or shaded patio baskets and containers. If grown indoors it is best in a hot to warm greenhouse or sunroom that is high in humidity. Placing the plant over a tray of rocks filled with water can increase humidity in the dry home environment. There must be good air circulation around this orchid to prevent rot. Leaves should never be dark green, which usually indicates too low of light. The small flowers can be cut and used for leis, table decorations or hair decals. This orchid resents root disturbance and thus should be repotted only when it is heavily root bound, and then only in early spring when new root growth is just starting. Never repot when flowers or buds are present.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    13 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H2

  • Plant Type

    Epiphyte

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    16"-24" / 40.6cm - 61.0cm

  • Width

    20"-28" / 50.8cm - 71.1cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Fall, Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter

  • Native To

    World/Pandemic

Growing Conditions

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Lavender, Violet, Plum

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Light Green, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No