365 days of orchids – Day 62 – Pleurothallis gargantua

This is a really unusual orchid – in fact a plant that out of flower looks very unlike an orchid. It has large heart shaped leaves on stems 50cm long and the flowers are borne throughout the year on top of the leaf. This image shows the size of the leaf.

It is possibly not the most commercial of orchid species as the flowers are rather small and sparse for the size of the plant but it is an interesting variation on a theme as there are lots of orchids that have a similar structure but on a much smaller scale.

The species comes from around 2000m altitude in Ecuador where it grows as an epiphyte in dense forest. Our experience in cultivation (where we grow it in a basket) is that it likes to be wet enough for moss to grow on its basket, cool (minimum 12C) and shaded to avoid its large leaves overheating – heat stress causes premature yellowing of the leaves and leaf drop.


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