Aerangis is a genus that brings together about sixty species of orchids originating mainly from Africa, but also widespread in Asia, generally epiphytic. The Erangis have fleshy stems, of greyish-green color, on which they grow long alternate, thick, dark green leaves, which usually have numerous silver points, with slightly prostrate posture. In spring or autumn they produce a long inflorescence that brings numerous round, perfumed, white, cream or light pink flowers, which carry a long spur. The small size of the plants makes them suitable for growing on bark.
The Erangis orchids prefer bright locations, far from the direct rays of the sun, especially on the hottest days, when direct exposure could quickly cause leaf burns; the Aerangis should be placed in places with an average temperature of around 15-18 ° C, even withstanding temperatures slightly below 10 ° C in winter and above 30 ° C in summer. For a better development they need a good air exchange.
When the outside temperatures are very high or very low, it is good to keep the plants inside the house to prevent the thermal shock from deteriorating quickly.
From March to November water regularly, keeping the substratum always slightly damp, but not soaked, as the orchids do not tolerate water stagnation; from December to February slightly reduce watering, until the development of spring shoots is noticeable. Vaporize the plant often, preferably using demineralized water; every 20-25 days add a small dose of specific orchid fertilizer to the watering.
When the plant ends the growing season, the waterings must be thinned out for a period of about two months.
The Erangis plants in nature are epiphytic, they grow on the trunk of the trees, to reproduce the natural conditions in the home a substratum is used, consisting of quite finely chopped barks, pieces of sponge or polystyrene and sphagnum. The plants should be repotted often enough, at least every 2-3 years, since they tend to produce new stems and new roots, until they fill all the available space and the substrate tends to degrade over time, no longer providing adequate support.
In spring it is possible to divide the clumps of the Erangis, repotting the new shoots that grow alongside the original plant. These plant portions are immediately repotted individually and grown as adult plants. Be careful when removing the plant from the container as the roots are rather delicate; for this reason, it is good to wet the substrate before proceeding with the operation.
Erangis - Aerangis: Pests and diseases
Pay attention to root rot and cochineal that can cause serious damage to Aerangis. Root rot is prevented by using a sufficiently draining substrate and with regular but moderate watering. For the cochineal, if the presence is not widespread, it is possible to intervene to eliminate the problem manually, by using a cloth with alcohol to pass gently on the leaves.