Question and Answer

Subject: mystery small Thailand orchid
Date sent: Mon, 27 Aug 2001
From: Anna

Hi -

I hope you can help - or maybe suggest someone who can.

I recently purchesed two small orchid plants - there are currently growing in big snail shells with a 'hanging wire' - obviously they grow
from a tree in their native habitat - which I was told was Thailand - as I'm in HK this makes sense.

I want to know their name and how to make them survive and flower - I was told they would have small white flowers and would not mind the heat and humidity of daytime Hpng Kong, as well as the cool of my aircon at night - though this may have been simply to encourage my purchase.

The plants are fairly small and have trailing, small, pale green uniform, 'heart' shaped, hard but 'fleshy' leaves about 1cm in diameter.
I was told not to water them more than once a week - they aren't growing in earth - but a reasonably hard fibrous material stuffed into the snail shells.

I've had them about 4 weeks now - they show no signs of new shoots or of dying? - Can anyone help with a name so I could research what there 'thing' is - I'd like them not to die and if possible to make them flower.

Help much appreciated.

Thank you.

Hi Anna

You pose a real challenge. There are some 30000 different native orchids, plus thousands of man made hybrids. Even in thailand there are many hundreds of orchid species. Unfortunately without a photo or flower it is really impossible to identify from the description.

I would suggest you visit a local orchid nursery or area selling orchid plants and try and identify from the plants on display. Alternatively contact the local orchid society and see if you you can contact someone locally who can have a look at the plants. The contact I have is

Hong Kong Artistic Orchid Assoc.
Samuel Wong
PO Box 97814
Tsim Sha Tsui
PO Kowloon,

and they may be able to assist. If there is an orchid show, then going there may also help. If you do visit a show, ask growers present, as most are only too happy to assist

I am sorry that I cannot assist m ore. I hope you can find out more

Generally orchids must not be grown in soil. The free draining potting mix should OK, but obviously without being able to identify the plants it is difficult to give specific cultural advice

With kind regards


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