Phaiocalanthe Kryptonite ‘Chariots of Fire,� HCC/AOS (3.5� pot blooming size)
This is an easy and rewarding orchid to grow and bloom and we always have some on hand, especially to sell during show season. The cross was made by George Hausermann III, grandson of one of the founders of Hausermann's Orchids of Addision, IL and owner of E.F.G. Orchids of DeLand, FL. It has been a sensation since its introduction in 2000. The main flower season is usually winter, but we also get some spikes in late summer to early fall. A few years ago we were lucky enough to see firsthand a plant of Phcal. Kryptonite 'Chariots of Fire' with over 600 flowers and buds on almost 50 spikes, when it received a Certificate of Cultural Merit of 93 points from the American Orchid Society at a show. Having never seen such an impressive example of this orchid before, I tracked down the grower to ask how she cared for it. She told me that it sits in a tray of water at all times and is given regular, fairly heavy fertilization. While this advice seems contrary to common wisdom for most orchids, given that this one is made of up terrestrial species, some of which inhabit tropical swamps, we gave it a try. The plant in the photo was a scrawny example in a 3.5" pot with one flower spike 12 months earlier. It had gone to sit by my mother's bedside in assisted living for a couple months where conditions were dark and definitely not ideal. When all the flowers were done I brought it back and moved it up to a 6" pot and sat it in a saucer of water. It immediately took off and one year later produced the four spikes in the photo! So we grow all our plants sitting in baking trays with ¼ to ½ inch of water at all times and give them slow release fertilizer pellets in addition to the regular feeding all the orchids receive. They grow very fast this way and we highly recommend it. You should use a mix designed for terrestrial orchids such as Cymbidium, or add well-rotted compost and perhaps some Perlite to your usual bark mix when repotting. The plants we are offering will definitely need larger pots after their next flowering cycle as many are sending roots over the edge already.
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