How to Grow Nun's Orchid


The nun's orchid (Phaius tankervilliae) grows approximately three feet in height. It produces large flowers that easily measure five inches in diameter. Blossoms sport shades of burgundy, purple and white. They appear single file on towering five-inch stalks.The flowers offer a unique shape that many believe resembles the hooded image of a nun. The plant is popular during the Easter season when in full bloom. An easy to care for orchid, it will thrive outside in sub-tropical and tropical locations. It cannot tolerate temperatures that dip below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 1

Plant the orchid in a location that offers morning sunlight and afternoon shade. Choose an area that offers well-drained soil. The nun's orchid will not tolerate standing water around its root system.

Step 2

Mix abundant peat moss, pine bark chips and aged manure into the planting hole. The nun's orchid enjoys a soil pH of between 5.5 and 6.3.

Step 3

Apply three to four inches of oak leaves around the base of the nun's orchid. The mulch will keep weeds from growing in the location and help the soil retain moisture.

Step 4

Water the nun's orchid regularly. The plant enjoys moist soil that is not water-logged. It will not withstand extended drought conditions.

Step 5

Fertilize with fish emulsion four times per year. Mix three tbsp. of fish emulsion in one gallon of water, and apply around the base of the nun's orchid.

Things You'll Need

  • Fish emulsion
  • Oak leaves for mulch
  • Peat moss
  • Pine bark chips
  • Aged manure


  • University of Florida: Nun's Orchid
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Who Can Help

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About this Author

Kimberly Sharpe is a freelance writer with a diverse background. She has worked as a Web writer for the past four years. She writes extensively for Associated Content where she is both a featured home improvement contributor (with special emphasis on gardening) and a parenting contributor. She also writes for Helium. She has worked professionally in the animal care and gardening fields.