Phaius is a genus of orchid, native to tropical climates and popular as houseplants. The most common type is the Phaius tankervilliae. It both produces flowers and is easy to care for.
There are over 20 different species in the genus Phaius, the majority of which are terrestrial orchids, meaning their roots grow in the ground. Phaius orchids grow a tall spike that produces brilliant, colorful flowers, and the plants have thick and distinctly veined leaves. Phaius are able to reach 3 feet (0.91 meters) tall, making them a striking plant in any greenhouse or garden. These orchids are native to tropical areas in Asia including China and Japan and can also be found in Australia, Africa and even Madagascar.
To grow Phaius as a houseplant, it is suggested that they be kept in filtered sunlight, as direct sunlight may cause the plant’s leaves to burn. They need to be watered often, yet it is necessary for the plant to be potted in soil with good drainage so its roots will not soak. The ideal potting soil is hummus-rich and contains fertilizers such as cow manure. Feeding the plant with orchid fertilizer, especially during the growing season of April through August, is recommended. They can even be grown outside in a garden bed in a tropical area. They thrive in temperatures between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (16 to 24 degrees Celsius) and can tolerate temperatures ranging from 40 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 32 degrees Celsius).
The most common species of this plant is the Phaius tankervilliae. Originally native to China, it was first cultivated in the West in the late 1800s. It is considered to be easy to care for, making it a popular houseplant. Also known as the veiled orchid or the nun’s orchid, inside the flower’s tube, also known as the “throat,” it looks as though a covered head is bowing in prayer. In Australia, the Phaius tankervilliae is listed as being at high risk for becoming extinct in the wild.
The Phaius tankervilliae produces flowers in a variety of colors, including maroon, yellow, red, white, purple and even brown. These brilliant flowers can grow over 4 inches (10.15 centimeters) in diameter, while the plant’s stalk may reach over 4 feet tall (1.22 meters). The flowers have 4 petals, which are usually colored on the inside and white or a light color on the outside, while the central part of the flower is an open tube.