Laelia spp. has become an increasingly popular choice for those looking to cultivate an exotic, low–maintenance terrarium orchid.
Native to Central and South America, these majestic flowers are known for their stunning blooms and ease of care.
From their vibrant colors and unique shapes to the fact that they don‘t require a lot of attention. Laelia orchids are the perfect choice for those who want to bring a touch of the exotic into their home.
In this article, we will explore the many benefits of growing Laelia orchids in a terrarium and provide tips on how to care for them.
Scientific Name: Laelia spp.
Common Names: Laelia Orchid, Pink Butterfly Orchid
Habitat: Humid subtropical forests
Height: 10 inches and up
pH Range: 5.5 to 7.5
Temperature: 65°F to 75°F
What Are Laelia Orchids?
Laelia spp. is a species of orchids that have an array of vibrant colors like pastel pinks, blues, whites, and purples.
This orchid has a unique structure with a fan-like shape, a wide array of petal sizes, and intense fragrances produced by the plant.
Laelia spp. is best known as the Pink Butterfly Orchid due to its long petals forming a large, beautiful spread of color resembling a butterfly in flight.
Laelia Orchids Facts
The Laelia orchid is a semi-terrestrial orchid, and like other terrestrial orchids, it assimilates nutrients from the air, rain, and debris around it. Pollination of this orchid is typically done by hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.
As an epiphyte, the Laelia spp. will typically grow from the side of large trees rather than rooting in the soil.
Laelia orchid is definitely an eye-catching plant, with vibrant pink petals that look like a butterfly in flight.
This plant is known to grow up to 10 inches and can bloom all year round. Unlike other orchids, Laelia spp. has a bulbous heart-shaped bulb, instead of round roots.
The underneath part of the orchid is a vibrant green color and the petals have various sizes and hues of pink, ranging from light pastel pinks to deep purples.
Laelia spp. is native to areas with Humid, subtropical climates, like Brazil and Mexico.
The areas it’s native to provide a realm of humidity and some filtered sunlight.
This is a plant that is not suited for extreme heat or cold and therefore should be kept in the optimum temperature and humidity range.
Laelia spp. is relatively tolerant of a wide pH range in its natural environment, ranging from about 5.5 to 7.5. To properly grow this orchid, aim for a pH that represents its natural environment as much as possible to ensure its health and proper growth.
Laelia orchids prefer a humid environment with temperatures ranging from 55–85°F, so closed–top terrariums with a lid are ideal. To ensure they get the necessary humidity, misting or a humidity tray is recommended.
Laelia spp. cannot survive in a fully submerged aquatic vivarium, but benefits from a moist atmosphere. This orchid should be placed in an area that has plenty of light and airflow. High humidity is also preferred, as this will help to keep the orchid hydrated.
Depending on the size of the bulb, it is best to mount this orchid on a substrate like bark or cork. When using a mossy substrate, be sure to use one that is non-toxic and finely textured for optimal growth.
Laelia spp. thrives in filtered sunlight and is able to withstand the full sun for a few hours at a time. When setting up lighting for this orchid, remember that indirect sunlight is preferred and avoid bright, artificial lights which could burn or dry out the orchid.
Buy Laelia Orchids
When shopping for orchids, expect a few key indicators you are buying the best quality plant. The plant should be pest free. The source of the orchid will more than likely not be in bloom so don’t worry if it arrives without flowers. Click the image below to find out more about the current price and other relative info:p
Laelia Orchids Care and Propagation
Laelia spp. is a relatively low-maintenance orchid and can be propagated easily. To propagate, snip off the bulb and press it into the substrate. The bulb will eventually form roots and grow. To help the orchid’s process, feed it with light fertilizers, such as seaweed or fish emulsion.
How to grow
Laelia orchids need to be watered often in order to remain hydrated and prevent wilting. To water, use lukewarm water until the orchid is fully saturated. For best results, allow the water to flow from the bottom of the pot rather than from the top. It’s important to allow the substrate to dry out between waterings.
Watering Laelia spp. should be done in moderation. Do not allow the plant to sit in a pool of water. It is important to allow the plant to dry out in between watering sessions. Too much water will lead to root rot and other problems for this orchid.
Adequate humidity is essential for Laelia spp. to thrive and reproduce. Aim to keep the humidity levels between 60 and 80%. The best way to do this is by misting the orchid daily. Additionally, misting the orchid regularly allows the humidity levels to rise and prevents the orchid from drying out completely.
Plants Similar To Laelia Orchids
Adding diversity to an enclosure is key to an aesthetically pleasing enclosure. Try mixing up the look of your terrarium with different flora that can easily co-exist in the same types of environment.
Furthermore, if for some reason you find this orchid hard to acquire or would like to consider something similar to this terrarium plant… Here are some other plants you might find may do well with or in the place of Laelia spp.:
Overall, Laelia spp. is a great orchid to have in a vivarium setup. As long as its habitat and environment are taken into consideration, this orchid will thrive alongside other plants. With proper lighting and daily misting, this orchid will thrive and give off a stunning display of pink and purple for all to enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
To grow Laelia orchids, start by planting them in an orchid potting mix or similar material. Make sure there is good drainage, and provide indirect sunlight. Ensure that temperatures remain moderate, between 60–85°F, and water regularly. Provide fertilizer to your orchid plants once a month and replant as needed.
Laelia orchids grow naturally in humid, subtropical and tropical regions of Mexico, Central America, and South America.