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How do I know if a Phal is truly a "mini" or just a baby plant?

This is a discussion on How do I know if a Phal is truly a "mini" or just a baby plant? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I'm hoping someone can help me here. I was at a grocery store recently and ...

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  1. #1
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    Question How do I know if a Phal is truly a "mini" or just a baby plant?

    I'm hoping someone can help me here. I was at a grocery store recently and fell in love with these "super-mini" phal-type orchids they had growing in teensy little one-and-a-half inch pots (No ID's on any of them).

    They had the most adorable little blossoms (the flowers were about the size of a penny and totally irresistible!). They were being advertised with a big sign that said "Super Miniature Orchids!!" They were relatively cheap, too (8.99)!

    I was all ready to buy a lovely pastel-colored one, but then the attendant came over and told me that they would eventually get big like all the other phals the store had on display, and I immediately lost interest, since most of the mini's looked just like really tiny versions of phals I already have. Since I plan on keeping my orchids for years, why would I need another one that's pretty much the same as one I already have (and that I'd have to repot a bazillion times as it grows)?

    I wanted one of the "super miniatures" for its tiny size and cute "dollhouse" look, and I was so irritated after I left that I went on the internet to seek out miniature phals. It turns out there's just as much confusion online! Sites are selling "miniature" phals that I know will grow big because I already have them as adult-sized specimens!

    So, how do I know which orchids are truly "miniature" varieties, and which are just being advertised as "miniature," but are really just very young plants?

    Enlighten me, please! Thanks, everybody!
    Smiles, Jenn

  2. #2
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    Many if not most of those you see in stores have Doritis in their lineage and will be smaller growers. HOWEVER, this by no means is to say that they will stay truly mini. Most will not. Small and mini are two very different things. That is what you must accept when buying generic 'puppy mill' type plants. If you REALLY want mini plants, your only recourse is to buy them from a reputable grower or a hobbyist you know well and trust. Upon contacting the grower you need to make it very clear what your criteria are. True mini's amongst the phals are few and VERYfar between.

    Phal. equestris is a small grower, but definitely not a mini -- though a happy plant will start blooming at a very young age (and hence at a very small size).

    Phal lobbii and Phal parishii are both true mini's as is their hybrid, Phal Lovely Kid.

    Phal Zuma Pixie has remained of mini stature for me.

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    Thanks, Pavel, for the insight! Those tiny orchids you recommended are just darling! I'm definitely going to have to put them on my wish list! If you don't mind, I have a couple more questions I'm hoping you could answer for me.

    I've been seeing an orchid called Sogo Gotris "Flora Ark" all over the web described as "miniature," and I just love the coloring. Do you happen to know anything about that particular variety and how big it will get? I can deal with "compact," as I'd like some smaller ones to place on windowsills in various rooms, so it doesn't have to stay teensy, but the sellers never tell you how big these little ones will get at maturity.

    And, as it turns out, I just couldn't help myself and went back to that grocery store and bought one of the "super-mini" phals they were advertising. There's no ID on this one, but I was wondering if it could be a BeTris. Any thoughts? There's two pics below: a closeup of the bloom and a pic of the plant next to a neighboring regular-sized phal. Any guesses as to its identity or how big it will be at maturity? Thanks so much for your help!! I'm hoping you'll tell me this one will stay little, but hey...I'll still love the little cutie even if it does turn into a gigantic monster! He hee!

    Thanks!

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    Phal Mini Mark is a beautiful little guy if you can find it. I had a vendor bookmarked because they had it for sale...two days later when I went to order it, they were sold out.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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    Quote Originally Posted by cakedaddy View Post
    Phal Mini Mark is a beautiful little guy if you can find it. I had a vendor bookmarked because they had it for sale...two days later when I went to order it, they were sold out.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Aww, that stinks! Is that the Mini Mark "Holm" you are referring to? I've seen it on the web as I've been surfing about. It's a cutie! Thanks for the recommendation...I may have to add that one to my wish list.

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    Yes, that's the one! They really are pretty little things...Nobbys Amy is another phal that I want, but I don't know if its mini...it's smallish I think and has great branching of spikes.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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    Mini Mark is NOT a true mini. It will start blooming at a "mini" size but it will get a fair bit larger. Not as large as many phals, mind you, but definitely not mini. Size wise it is better classified as compact (smaller) grower.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pavel View Post
    Mini Mark is NOT a true mini. It will start blooming at a "mini" size but it will get a fair bit larger. Not as large as many phals, mind you, but definitely not mini. Size wise it is better classified as compact (smaller) grower.
    Thanks, Pavel! That explains why I thought the growth pattern of the Mini Mark looked more like the habit of a violacea when I saw the pics online. The flowers growing on short stems amongst middle-sized leaves didn't strike me as "mini." It's very attractive, but as I have about 5 variations of the violacea, I had skipped over it. I'm looking for something that's significantly different than what I already have. Thanks for clarifying!

    Any ideas on the teensy plant I picked up at the store?

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    Quote Originally Posted by OrchidAddict View Post
    Any ideas on the teensy plant I picked up at the store?
    Just that it looks like it has Phal equestris in its ancestry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cakedaddy View Post
    Phal Mini Mark is a beautiful little guy if you can find it. I had a vendor bookmarked because they had it for sale...two days later when I went to order it, they were sold out.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    I saw one of these at an orchid show in the Buffalo area back in February, and it was incredible.

    It was bringing a tear to my eye.

    Seeing your comment reminded me of how cool it was. I got some photos of it, but I think only one turned out good. When I get home later, I will dig through the photos I took there and post one. I got A LOT of photos from that day.

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