WSBEorchids

Renathera imschootiana – 365 days of orchids – day 1251

We can tell that summer is definitely here – Renathera imshootiana is flowering again high in the roof of our Warm Americas section.

This extraordinary red flowered orchid is one of our tallest specimens at over 2m tall and it is a real pleasure to take it down from the roof of Warm Asia to snap a few photos

Unfortunately this is one of the orchid species threatened by extinction due to the  unsustainable trade in wild collected plants. Fortunately like most tropical epiphytic orchids it is easy to grow from seed and our plant will be pollinated to help make the species common in cultivation and so reduce the pressure for wild collection.

The species is native to the Eastern Himalayas where it grows in warm evergreen forest along rivers from 500 to 1000m and we replkicate these condigtions by hanging the plant high in our Warm Asia section (min 17C) where it reliably flowers twice a year – once in the early summer and again in the autumn and winter. The flowers opening this week will still be out at the end of November

This extraordinary red flowered orchid is one of our tallest specimens at over 2m tall and it is a real pleasure to take it down from the roof of Warm Asia to snap a few photos

Unfortunately this is one of the orchid species threatened by extinction due to the  unsustainable trade in wild collected plants. Fortunately like most tropical epiphytic orchids it is easy to grow from seed and our plant will be pollinated to help make the species common in cultivation and so reduce the pressure for wild collection.

The species is native to the Eastern Himalayas where it grows in warm evergreen forest along rivers from 500 to 1000m and we replicate these conditions by hanging the plant high in our Warm Asia section (min 17C) where it reliably flowers twice a year – once in the early summer and again in the autumn and winter. The flowers opening this week will still be out at the end of November. By the way our heating is now off in the greenhouse and the auto vents closing every evening will keep warm Asia well over 17C between now and the end of September – Yes summer is here.

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Dracula amaliae – 365 days of orchids – day 1250

It seems sad that there are now students in to enjoy the a face to face with our Monkey Faced Dracula – but at least I can share it on the internet 🙂 and as the species has the wonderful habit of flowering several times on a flower spike and so it will still be in flower when students start arriving back at school in June and July. Plants are the responsibility of Amalia who particular loves this species since they share a name.

Dracula amaliae is native to cloud forests in Colombia at around 1800m altitude. As with most Draculas it is pollinated by fungus gnats and attracts them with a fake mushroom shaped lip. This also give the ‘Monkey Face’ look shared by a number of species.

We grow the plant in Cool Americas but find we need to give a few Dracula specific conditions for the plant to flourish. Firstly it needs to be grown in  a basket (as you can see here) as many of the flowers grow downwards from the base of the leaves. Secondly it enjoys being very damp and heavily shaded. We find that the easy way to provide these conditions is to hang the dracula’s basket below another plant in a basket providing shade and added moisture. The level of moisture is shown by the natural growth of moss on the basket.

The final requirement is to avoid high temperatures which cause brown patches on the leaves and leaf drop. This is also helped by hanging below another plant as the dracula is at around waist height and not it the warmer air near the top of the greenhouse.

This all sounds quite complicated but as you can see it is well worth it.

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Bank Holiday miniature orchids on sale

Last week we added some giant orchid species to the shop, but this weekend we are adding divisions of several of our specimen miniatures.

We are particularly fond on these diminutive plants that add so much to our collection. These are all plants that we have been growing for at least ten years at Writhlington, and we find them all rewarding and straight forward to grow. Plants include Platystele misasiana (above) which is one of our smallest miniatures but one that produces masses of flowers.  Isabellia puchella (below) which starts flowering as a miniature but develops into a medium sized plant over time.

Dryadella simnula with its delicate little narrow leaves and intriguing flowers.

 

and the very unusual and very tiny, scaphosepalum ovulare.

All the plants are growing in our 5.5cm pots.

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Vanda testacea – 365 days of orchids – day 1249

We are fortunate to have several small growing Vanda species at the orchid project and Vanda testacea is a real little charmer with a span of 30cm and relatively long upright spikes of pretty 2cm flowers.

Vanda testacea is native to The Himalayas from Nepal to Mayanmar and also from Sri Lanka where it is found from 700 to 2000m. The range implies it can take quite cool temperatures but we find it enjoys life with the other Vandas in Warm Asia.

Our plants always produce multiple spikes and make the species a really attractive member of this gorgeous genus, and one that needs limited space unlike some of its cousins such as Vanda coerulea (below) which grows to several metres – our plants are in spike again so expect it to feature in 365 days sometime in June.

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Bulbophyllum thaiorum – 365 days of orchids – day 1248

 

The early summer sees lots of bulbophyllum species in flower (see Bulbophyllum purpurascens on Monday’s post). Bulbophyllum species add real interest and diversity to any collection and this small growing species from South East Asia with masses of deep red flowers on a miniature plant is a real stunner.

The species is reported from 600-2000m but with us it definitely prefers to grow on the cooler side compared to many of our bulbophyllums from the same region. We find it grows and flowers best mounted in Cool Americas (perhaps it enjoys having a holiday) rather than out Warm Asia section.

 

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