365 days of orchids – day 328 – Cymbidium tracyanum

This is a large flowered and fragrant cymbidium which every autumn sends up spikes up to 90cm long with around fifteen flowers on a spike. The species is native to Southern China, Thailand and Myanmar where it grows in wet forests from 1200-1900m as both an epiphyte on mossy trunks and branches or on mossy rocks.

To replicate the plants natural habitat we grow plants in our temperate section (minimun 6C) and keep plants very well watered when in active growth (spring and summer) and damp at other times. Plants would be very happy growing outside from mid May through to September but remember to keep them wet to replicate their monsoon home.

As the first of the large flowered Cymbidiums to flower every autumn and it is often still in flower at Christmas. It forms great specimen plants with multiple spikes. We find the best time to divide plants that need it (particularly if they are crowded with old pseudobulbs in the centre of the plant) is in early spring just after flowering.

The scent is very fresh and we think it is mostly citrus. We have however known hybrids of Cym. tracyanum that are more reminiscent of cat urine! – better to stick to the species.



365 days of orchids – day 327 – Cleisostoma subulatum

This is our third Cleisostoma species. It is a medium sized plant with long pendulous spikes of small flowers that open successively. The species is found from Sikkim in the Himalayas through South east Asia to Malaysia and the Philippines. It grows as an epiphyte in lowland forest up to 500m altutide.

Cleisostoma is a lovely genus and plants have very diverse leaves but very similar flowers. The flowers all have their spurs protruding from their buds well before they open. The leaves on today’s species are long narrow and flat where as Cleisostoma arietinum (day 194) has short curved terete leaves.(see below)

We grow all our Cliesostoma species in our Warm Asia section in shade and warmth (minimum 18C)



Tickets still available for this Thursday – An evening with Simon Pugh-Jones

We still have tickets available for the first Lecture in the Writhlington Lecture Series – Orchid Project. As well as an evaluation of the key events in the history of this internationally acclaimed project there will be workshops and activities around conservation and orchid science as well as a chance to take your own propagated orchids home with you. Adults and children welcome – contact to reserve your free tickets. The event takes place in the Mendip Studio School building.


365 days of orchids – day 326 – Cattleya walkeriana

This is an unusual Cattleya and one we have been keen to succeed with for many years. All other Cattleya species (apart from Cattleya nobilor) produce their flowers from the top of the pseudo-bulb but walkeriana produces flowers on spikes produced in the Autumn from the base of the newly matured pseudobulbs. It also has very distinct flowers and is therefore difficult to confuse with other species.

Cattleya walkeriana grows as an epiphyte in dryish areas often along streams across a broad area of Southern Brazil. It behaves rather as a xerophyte coping with long periods of high temperatures and little rainfall. In cultivation we try to replicate the hot, dry, bright conditions it experiences in the wild by hanging it in a basket high in the roof of Warm Americas. We water it well when in growth but in the winter give it very little water. This helps us to grow large plump pseudobulbs but avoid and rotting off roots or bulbs in the winter.

This year it has rewarded our culture with two sprays of flowers and five flowers in total – we are delighted and hope that it will develop into a grand specimen over time.


40 days to go – and it looks as though we might just make it :)

On January 1st we set ourselves the rather optimistic challenge of blogging a different orchid species in flower on every day of the year. We are now 325 days along our journey and looking around the greenhouse we are starting to believe that 365 species over 365 days is just about possible. We have started to run up against the issue of species flowering now that we blogged in January (the day 1 species, Cattleya percivaliana will be opening its buds later this week) but, fingers crossed, we might just manage 40 new species flowering before the end of the year. Wish us luck and do come and visit us for Orchid Christmas on December 13th (6pm-9pm) to join in the excitement.