Aerides are spectacular Asian vandoid orchids. They are also called Cat’s-tail Orchids or Fox Brush Orchids for their multiflowered exquisite inflorescences. They could be found growing epiphytically (with one exception Aerides krabiensis, which is a lithophyte plant) in the rainforests of South-East Asia, Southern China, Nepal, India, The Philippines and New Guinea. There are 28 currently recognized species in this genus. They are closely related to Vanda orchids, and do have a similar growth habit and bear some morphological similarity with Vanda, except having waxy, fragrant flowers with a spur differently pointed than Vanda’s flowers.
By Scott Zona from Miami, Florida, USA
Aerides orchids are vandoid monopodials. They are small to medium monopodial orchids with strap-shaped leaves, arranged into opposite two vertical-oriented rows. Flowers are born in racemes with many flowers per an inflorescence. The flowers are waxy, fragrant and long-lasting, they possess forwardly-oriented spurs. Aerides odorata or Fragrant Aerides is a type species of this genus. It has one to two inch wide flowers which are waxy, white with purple markings and fairly fragrant. There are also solid pink varieties of this species, alba forms and unusual greenish-yellow variety with purple tips of sepals and petals. Aerides flabellate has one inch wide orange-red flowers with white-purple lips, flowers are fragrant. Aerides crassifolia has fragrant solid pink two inch wide beautiful flowers. Aerides falcata possesses one to two inch wide fragrant flowers with white sepals and a pink lip. Aerides rosea is a large sized orchid, its flowers are two inchs wide, fragrant, they are whitish pink with dark pink markings and dots. Aerides multiflora is medium sized and has similar to previous species flowers but the plant, as well as its flowers, are smaller.
Aerides orchids culture is not very difficult, in fact, Aerides orchids are perfectly suited for indoor cultivation and rather easy to grow, so they are could be recommended for beginners. They require bright filtered light with some direct sunlight in the morning, so moderate light or even some semi-shade is perfectly OK for this genus. The temperatures should be intermediate to warm and hot, so they do not require cool temperatures and tolerate living room temperatures. Watering should be regular, you should allow its roots to dry between watering. Fertilizer should be applied in the spring and the summer. It is a good idea to grow them bare-rooted in hanging baskets just like other Vanda-related orchids. They do best with humid air and air movement but can tolerate dry air.
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