Another of our star plants from the London Show was this unusual species from Australia. Dendrobium pugioniforme is a remarkable orchid with thick pointed leaves produced along long pendulous stems. The flowers begin to appear on our plant in early March and the last ones go over at the end of April. As can be seen from the first photo the flowers are non-resupinate (upside down with the lip at the top) and produced in profusion from all along the pendulous stems.
We grow our plant mounted on a largish piece of cork bark but the plant has grown far beyond the mount and now hangs down nearly 2m. We spray the plant daily and hang it up where it gets good light in our Cool Asia section.
We are pleased to say that we have a few bits at the base that are rooted ready for propagating so that we will have a few plants for sale at future shows.
Some of our orchids are just too big to take out of the greenhouse to shows and this species is one of them.
The species is native to Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia, where it grows as a terrestrial or epiphyte, and produces thin canes about 2m long, and in late spring these large (15cm across) flowers that last about two days. This is a lot of leaves and stems for a couple of days flowers but we are really fond of the species as it has a dramatic splendour all of its own.
We grow it in a 90 cm diameter tree container and I am reminded by last year’s post that we need to split the plant up to provide pieces of this unusual orchid for our partners at the Eden Project, Bristol University Botanic Garden, The Living Rainforest and Bristol Aquarium, so that more people can enjoy this great species.
Our large plant of Dendrobium thyrsiflorum was just at the start of its flowering at the London Show. Now back in the greenhouse it is at its peak and demanded to be photographed again. It has 56 flower spikes, and is 1.8m across, which is the best it has ever been for us.
Guarianthe skinneri is national flower of Costa Rica and a species we have seen growing in tall trees in open forests around 800m with plants on the tops of thick branches in very exposed positions in strong sunshine. It is a very regular late April flowering species and it always reminds me of our fantastic visits to Costa Rica in 2003 and 2007.
In Costa Rica the species is known as guaria morada and when DNA evidence suggested that it should be moved from the genus Cattleya a new genus was created that reflected the Costa Rican name. (This was thanks to US botanist Bob Dressler who I have had the pleasure or working with in Costa Rica).
Anyway, the species is is fantastic which ever name especially in this lovely almost white clone (the usual colour is predominantly pink).
We replicate these conditions by growing plants in baskets hung high in Warm Americas where they get lots of light and dry out between waterings although plants enjoy lots of water when in growth in the summer months.
This year our relatively young plant of Dendrobium wardianum has two pseudobulbs covered in wonderful flowers.
Dendrobium wardianum is a pendulous plant with long psuedobulbs up to 100cm long. It comes from the Eastern Himalayas from Assam through to Vietnam where it is found from 1000 to 2000m and so experiences a monsoon climate with a warm wet summer and a cooler dryer winter. It is deciduous and needs a cooler dryer winter rest to lose its leaves from the previous year’s growth and then flower in April from the bare pseudobulb.
The flowers have that delightful dipped in pink ink tip to the petals and sepals as well as a lot of yellow in the lip which distinguishes it from the similar looking Dendrobium nobile. Dendrobium nobile also flowers of pseudobulbs produced two years ago not the most recent ones like this species. Dendrobium nobile and Dendrobium wardianum form the basis of a large group of hybrids.
We grow the plant in our Warm Asia section where it always produces the new growth before flowering so we don’t give a completely dry rest.