My New (and first) Rhynchostylis

I went to Lowe’s on an errand for my boyfriend this weekend and when I saw that they had received a new shipment of Better-Gro orchids, it was pretty much inevitable that I would walk out of the store with at least one.

I ended up selecting a Rhynchostylis Gigantea ‘Peach’ that looked pretty healthy from what I could see through the packaging.

Rynchostylis Gigantea ‘Peach’…sorry for the yellow-tinged pic

As I’ve discovered with my other Better-Gro purchases, the potting medium was pretty gross. So I repotted the plant with fresh sphagnum moss when I brought it home and trimmed away a few rotten roots. I’ve never grown a Rhynchostylis before, so this is a first for my orchid collection. Let’s hope that I can get this baby to bloom!

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  1. Good luck with your first Rhynchostylis 🙂

    Our R. coelestis is in a basket and seems to enjoy that (there are loads of “divisions” and 2 flower spikes, currently fully open) – but you’ll need to water it very regularly if kept this way (mine gets watered in the morning before work, and sometimes at lunchtime if it’s a hot day). The RH is also fairly high in my growing area (I try to keep it about 75%, but it often dips below this when the windows are open).

      1. Sorry! RH is Relative Humidity.
        I definitely don’t think sphag will be at all good for this plant, and if you use bark, make it a really coarse mix; quite a few people use charcoal (lumps, not briquettes) with vandaceous orchids, but apparently if you don’t flush them regularly with clean water, they have a tendency to accumulate salts.

        Most vandaceous plants enjoy being regularly soaked but drying quickly and like regular (weekly or sometimes even more often) fertilising. I water mine with a mister, but it’s sometimes even easier to just dunk the thing in a big bucket of water (and that’s the way to fertilise them – just leave the roots soaking in there for like 20 minutes). They look best as hanging plants with their roots dangling out the pot IMO, and they seem to enjoy it.

        That being said, I haven’t grown gigatea itself, but I suspect it’s pretty similar to others in the group.

        Quite a few people on orchid board have vandas growing bare rooted in vases, which might also be an interesting way to go with this guy.

        1. Ah, RH! 🙂

          You are probably right about the medium…I hadn’t realized when I bought the plant that it was vandaceous. This is my first vandaceous orchid! I’m gonna have to do a little research and find a medium for this one, cuz all I have in my stash is sphag and bark mix.

    1. It was potted in sphagnum moss that looked like it was starting to mold a bit…ew.

      They had a ton of Cattleyas, some mule ear and wildcat oncidiums, and Brassavola hybrids. Worth checking out if you find yourself nearby!

    2. Better-Gro supplies an interesting mix of orchids, all labeled, unlike Lowe’s more generic orchids supplied usually unlabeled by Costa Farms in Florida to Lowes. Cattleya hybrids abound, but there are also epididendrums, oncidiums, and, as mentioned above, rhynochostylis (please excuse my spelling!) Many of these plants are AOS award winners, These are nonflowering starter plants, but at the current price of $13.98, are great plants for starters. Check out Better-Gro’s website.

  2. Phalaenopsis are Vandaceous as well.


    “GROWING MEDIA: Rhynchostylis are reported to be singularly intolerant of
    stale conditions around the roots but neither do they like being disturbed
    for repotting. They are, therefore, best grown in a manner that allows the
    numerous aerial roots to hang free. Growers may place them in wooden
    baskets without any supplemental potting medium or else mount them on
    tree-fern or cork slabs with no padding around the roots. If grown in this
    manner, however, humidity must be high and plants should be watered at
    least once daily in summer and plants may need several waterings a day
    when conditions are hot and dry. Because many growers have trouble keeping
    their plants adequately moist, they are often grown in pots or baskets
    using a very open, fast draining medium, which allows the roots to dry
    rapidly after watering. Using a mixture of medium- to large-sized fir bark
    with an equal amount of medium- to large-sized hardwood charcoal produces
    good results. Charcoal may be used alone. Rhynchostylis do not respond
    well when disturbed, but if plants are grown in a container filled with a
    bark mix, they should be repotted every year because any break-down of the
    medium will cause a rapid decline of the root system. Because the
    inflorescence emerges at the base of the stem, plants should be placed
    high in the pot. Plants become reestablished faster with less stress if
    they are mounted or repotted just as new root growth is starting. See also
    the note under Flowers.

  3. I went and I got a Brassocattleya Kosh Wallace [or is it Wallis?]. I wanted to get the Bl Yellow Bird [which is almost like a primary hybrid, I prefer to get species], but then I decided for the Bc KW, which seems to be a very complex hybrid. But the one I got had buds and seems to be a lot more vigorous and fast growing than the Bl. I wanted to get bith but i need to watch my spending and my space available. Maybe the Bc Kosh Wallace needs less light and blooms smaller.

    Actually I was wondering if you may consider splitting in half the Bc or the Bl and share?

    The rhyncostilis seems a bit larger than what I got from Oak Hill.
    I like those Thricocentrum Ollie Palmer [labeled as Oncidiums]. I had got one a few months ago for a dollar that was really in poor shape with bent and wrinkled leaves. It really perked up and is growing new growth and roots. The old leaves are more firm. seems really easy to grow.

    1. Ooo, I saw the BC KWs, I was very tempted! That’s awesome that you found one with buds. Those Better-Gro orchids are rarely even in spike when you buy them, in my experience. I hear you on needing to watch your spending and space. I might take you up on splitting one of those at some point but I think I’m just about at capacity right now…yikes!

      Is the Thricocentrum Ollie Palmer the “Mule Ear Oncidium”? I got one of those awhile back and it too was in poor shape but recently started putting out a bunch of new roots. It’s fun to see these little guys turn around like that!

  4. did you pay 12.98 or 13.98? they did a mistake wit the pricing. The Bc KWs are in bud for the most part, that is what made me go for it. it Cattleya Caudebec x Brassavola Little Stars (the latter a primary hybrid). I need to research what C Caudebec is all the way up.

    Yea the mule ear Oncidiums are aall Trcm Ollie Palmer. Mine has 2 new growths.

    I am tempted to get the Bl Yellow Bird but I am afraid it may need a lot of light being 2 parts of Brassavola nodosa and 1 part of a rupiculous Laelia.

    But the Bc KW has a similar look but more compact and apparently faster growing.

    1. Mine was $13.98 but the sign on the shelf said $12.98. Annoying! I haven’t tried growing any Cattleyas because I had heard they are toxic to cats, but I did some more research and apparently they are ok. So someday I will give them a shot.

      Do you grow under lights, or do you just use natural light? All of my orchids get pretty much the same light (southern exposure) which definitely isn’t ideal, but one day when I have more space I will want to experiment with different lighting conditions.

  5. grow on window sill. southern exposure, 2nd floor. so in the summer the sun is too high on the sky and light does not penetrate. I put some plants on the roof and fire escape. some on a shelf under 2 T12 shoplights [4 bulbs].

    where did you read that Cattleyas are toxic to cats? probably someone was joking [Cat-leya?]?.

    People have Aroids that people say are toxic but you never hear of pets being poisoned.

    Anyway I think raw potatoes and citrus peels have some degree of toxicity….

    1. I can’t remember where I read that about cattleyas, it was awhile back. I do have most of my orchids in a room that the cats can’t get to, but I figured better safe than sorry. At least I know now that they’re ok!

      Onions and garlic can be toxic to cats too. One time my cat jumped on the counter and started eating raw onion off the cutting board (gross, I don’t know what prompted her to do that) when no one was looking, but luckily she didn’t get sick.

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