An upright, light green stalk with one or two tubular sheaths at its base and three-to-five spaced leaves supports the distinct flowers of the white egret orchid. The stark white flower itself features two large petals -- mimicking the tail of a bird -- from which a central, torpedo-shaped petal surrounded by two more fringed petals -- the body of the “bird” -- extends. Stems typically bloom with two or three flowers. At maturity, this slender plant reaches heights of about 7 to 15 inches.
The white egret orchid grows natively in Japan, Korea, China and Russia, where it makes its home in bogs and glades. As a swamp plant, this flower prefers around 70 percent humidity and dappled shade -- it does not tolerate direct sunlight. This orchid grows in damp but well-drained, humus-rich soils. It is hardy to 21 degrees Fahrenheit. Flowers of the white egret typically appear in late summer and last up to four weeks.
At home, the white egret orchid flourishes in containers, windowsills and greenhouses. This flower grows from tubers, which are about the size of a peanut. Tubers grow individually in smalls pots or about four to a pot in large containers. They thrive in specialist orchid compost. Once established, the plant can be transported outdoors, serving as an ornamental or border flower. White egret orchids need constant moisture -- but never waterlogged soil -- during their growth phase, but tolerate dryness while dormant. As a general rule, orchids such as the white egret require weekly watering in summer and bi-weekly watering in winter. This flower benefits from orchid-formulated or general-use fertilizer applied according to the manufacturer's instructions.
The Habenaria mosaic potyvirus affects the white egret orchid, according to research conducted by the University of Idaho. This type of leaf chlorosis spreads via aphids, insects pests that appear as light green, yellow or dark bluish-green dots on the leaves and petals of the plant. Sticky traps, the application of isopropyl alcohol, a dusting of diatomaceous earth or the application of insecticidal soaps and oils treat aphids, as do the insecticides malathion, acephate, diazinon and methiocarb.