365 days of Orchids – day 82 – Lepanthopsis astrophora

You will have noticed a lot of miniature orchids in 365 Days of Orchids but this one really stands out. Lepanthopsis astrophora is native to Venezuela where it grows in mossy cloud forest with single leaves 1cm long on short stems. Each spring it throws out masses of flower spikes from the leaf axils and these spikes carry successively opening tiny purple flowers, each a perfect purple star (hence the name astrophora) and the overall effect is of a cloud of purple dots around the plant.

All of the plants at Writhlington originate from one purchased in about 1995. This plant grew into a great specimen winning a CCC (Cultural certificate) from the RHS in 2006 before being split to produce many hundreds of plants.  The species proved easy to propagate either by division or from keikis but we always grow the plant mounted as any in pots soon get out competed by moss and die.

We find that the species enjoys being kept wet and shady with many growing happily on our north facing wall. The moss growing on the mount of the plant photographed below shows the conditions we provide although the moss will be pulled off if it starts to grow too big.


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