Phalaenopsis bastianii Orchid Care & Culture

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Species Name: Phalaenopsis bastianii

Suspected hybrid: Phalaenopsis Lovely Marie

Subgenus: Polychilos | Section: Zebrinae
Care Group:
 See Phalaenopsis Care, Culture and Tips to Keep Your Orchid Reblooming
Advanced Care: See Summer Blooming Phals

I got this plant in spring of 2017 and it was labeled as “Phal bastianii”; however, after a lot of research, I suspect that it is not a true species of bastianii and instead is Lovely Marie (a hybrid with phal mariae). A “pure” Phal bastianii has numerous distinct differences from Phal mariae; but hybrids of the two exhibit traits along a spectrum of both parents but it’s difficult to differentiate the two because both species are already so similar. My plant does indeed looks mostly bastianii, but it also has mariae traits…but let’s talk about the differences of each in order to compare my plant (or yours)…

To assess species vs a possible hybrid, let’s look at their traits:

Traits of phal bastianii – spikes: upright; flower count: few; fragrance: none; flower structure: flat & upright facing; lip: slender with few trichromes (hairs on the lip), keel (lift at back of lip) is low; bloom time: spring (March thru May), spikes emerge in winter.

Traits of phal mariae – spikes: pendant; flower count: prolific; fragrance: yes (smells like citrus blossoms); flower structure: concaved/cupped flowers that point down; lip: wide and has many trichromes (hairs on lip), keel is high and peaks; bloom time: summer (June/July), spike emerge in spring

Traits of phal Lovely Marie (bastianii x mariae hybrid) – results in a pendulum of variation for each trait depending on whether it’s a primary cross (bastianii x mariae) OR a cross of Lovely Marie x Lovely Marie.

Traits of my plant – spikes: angled; flower count: moderate but with many spikes; fragrance: none; flower structure: flat & upright; lip: wide with many trichromes, keel is low but with peak; blooms in spring (mid-to-late March).

Visually comparing Lovely Marie, bastianii, and mariae
You can see that my “suspect Lovely Marie” has a wide lip like the mariae species

A closer look comparing Phal Lovely Marie to bastianii and mariae

Why the confusion between mariae and bastianii?

The takeaway…by and large, MANY of the plants labeled as either mariae OR bastianii are actually muddied hybrids because at one point they were not considered different species and were both classified as “Phal mariae.” This is a common problem with taxonomy of “similar-looking plants” because at one point they are often referred to as a “form” (fma) of the other species. In those cases, they get bred together as “species” (because as far as the Breeder knows, they are the same species). Then one day far into the future, after the reclassification has been completed, the species are split…but the historic breeding records of the existing plants are no longer accurate and “old” mariae plants are now possibly Lovely Marie because the were once bred with the other species under the guise that they were the same species.

This happens quite a bit in the world of phals and you will see similar problems with: violacea vs. bellina, pallens vs. heiroglyphica vs. lueddemanniana, and with the above mentioned: bastianii vs. mariae vs. maculata (the last species of which I’m mentioning, but not including in this assessment).

Phal bastianii Care

Regardless of all of that, this plant grows well and is easy to care for. It gets my standard phalaenopsis potting mix with 25-30% sphagnum moss to perlite, bark and charcoal. The pot is watered as the roots approach dryness and receives moderately bright light in front of an east-facing window. Interestingly, phal bastianii has a unique quality in which the flower can fade over time. This trait can be passed on to their progeny/hybrids which has some interesting potential for flowers that change color after opening.

More About Phalaenopsis bastianii

Photos of Phalaenopsis bastianii


Photos of Phalaenopsis bastianii