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Two mini-phalanaeopsis on either side of standard ones. They may look like babies, but they’re in fact fully grown. Source: kelvinhalldesigns.com.au

Those miniature phalaenopsis orchids (Phalaenopsis) with tiny flowers that are sold everywhere these days are not cute little babies in early bloom. Any orchid in flower is fully mature or it wouldn’t be flowering. They truly are genetic miniatures, the chihuahuas of the orchid world, and won’t get much bigger over time.

If you like small orchids with small flowers, go ahead and buy one. If you prefer bigger orchids with big flowers, buy one of those.

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Miniature phalaenopsis, here grown in fake kokedama balls. Cute, but don’t expect them to get any bigger. Source: planten-kopen.com

In the home, no phalaenopsis bought in bloom will increase too notably in size (unless you let it divide into two or more plants and that can take decades!) Most will just produce a new leaf for every old one they lose, maybe over time adding at most one or two more leaves to their total. That’s just the way they grow. Get used to it.

Sometimes what you see truly is what you get!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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