I had asked my plant vendor for an Orchid plant and I got this one. I am not sure if it is really an Orchid. Since 4 months, it is of same size as I got it initially, it never bloomed.

I maintain its soil moist, placed it under Sun, fertilized, still no growth & nor bloom.

I hope, if it is identified then, I could treat him much better as per his specific needs if any.

Here are its pictures:

Side View:
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Top View:
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Close leaf View: enter image description here

3 Answers 3


Its tough to identify from what you have provided but my guess would be phaius tankervillae. Commonly called "the nun orchid" because the petals and the way the flowers hang down resemble a nun's habit. Its fairly common in garden centers. If your vendor was a nursery or supplies to them then phaius tankervillae would be an example of a plant that he might commonly have on hand that is a member of the orchid family.

If I am right then it is a pretty small specimen and probably several years away from blooming. Unlike a lot of other orchids, phaius tankervillae is a terrestrial species meaning it grows in the ground as opposed to as an epiphyte which is more common for orchids. It will do fine in normal garden soil. Phaius tankervillae does not have psuedobulbs.

There are a few other possibilities. If you can provide details of where you live, what sort of place you got it from and how it was grown before you got it (i.e. outside, greenhouse, etc.) then it might be possible to narrow it down if it turns out not to be phaius.

  • Yes, the leaves matches alot. This could be. Still not 100% sure. Once I re-pot it, it may clarify by analyzing its roots. Thank you!
    – jaczjill
    Mar 11, 2013 at 16:45

Here is what I notice:

  • That is a large pot for a small plant. If it does not appear to be growing it could be spending all its energy growing a root system. Consider repotting one size down to encourage foliage growth and get a look at the roots.
  • If it is an orchid it won't do well in the peat or topsoil based mix it is presently potted in. Orchids like a soil that is free draining. Growers often use finely ground bark or lava rock in their mixes.
  • The plant has more than a passing resemblance to Dracaena deremensis which is not an orchid. There are numerous cultivars available, some with the same stripes on the leaves that your plant has. I have never seen an orchid with stripes on its leaves.
  • Orchids vary widely in appearance and size but their leaves tend to be thick, some have a waxy cuticle to reduce moisture loss. Your plant looks to have thin leaves.
  • Many orchids have a pseudo bulb which is thicker than the leaf that grows from it. Older pseudo bulbs shrivel as new growth takes over. I don't see any pseudo bulbs.

If you choose to repot it that could tell you what the plant is. An orchid will not have a woody stem and the root system will tend to be in the top layers. A Dracaena will have woody roots that spread out and down into the pot.

  • Yes, I will consider re-potting it with fine soil. Will take some pictures of its root and will show them to you. Thank you Sir!
    – jaczjill
    Mar 10, 2013 at 17:09

If this plant is a Phaius, then it probably needs a soil change at the start of the growth season, and be careful with the roots! The reason that I suspect that it would do better with new soil is the buildup of salts around the top surface of the soil on the inner pot surface. Tap water or fertilizer or both could be the culprits for salts buildup. I don't know how you are feeding it, nor do I know what you have to water it.
Today most tap water is rather alkaline to prevent lead from leaching from solder joints in our house plumbing. However most of the orchids do better with pH between 5.5 and 7.0, which is quite lower than most tap water around the country. If you have pH strips you could test your tap water, and also test the water that drains through the pot by wetting the soil through, and then watering a bit more so that you have a saucer of water that had drained through but reflects what is actually in the soil. This is a terrestrial orchid that does best with considerable organic matter in the mix, and should be guarded against old media in which the organic matter sours from sitting wet, despite your possibly alkaline water supply. BTW, if you find you have alkaline water without too much dissolved solids, you can just add a bit of cheap vinegar to it until you get the pH you want.

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