The third in this week’s trio of Phalaenopsis species is Phalaenopsis pulcherrima. This species, long known as Doritis pulcherrima, is unusual in so far as it is a terrestrial species (found on rocks and sandy places) which explains the very upright flower spike and rather upward facing flowers.
Phalaenopsis pulcherrima is found across a very wide range from the Himalayas in Sikkim, right through South East Asia, Borneo and Sumatra. Throughout its range it is restricted to hot lowland forests, often in bright light making the species more tolerant of bright light in cultivation, where the leaves will turn reddish purple. In its Himalayan range the species experiences a long dry season but plants seem to enjoy watering throughout the year in cultivation (or in its Borneo habitats where the dry seasons are short)
The plant here is the coerulea variety with beautiful blue/purple flowers although the more common bright pink variety is also stunning.
The species has been extensively used in breeding where it gives very bright pink flowers, upright stems and a tendency not to re-flower on old flower spikes. With Phalaenopsis pulcherrima you get your flowers all in one go and we can’t wait for the rest of this spike to open.