365 days of orchids – day 90 – Coelogyne cristata

Coelogyne cristata is a fantastic species from the Himalayas with large white flowers. As the photos from our London display show the lip colour varies from dark orange, through yellow, light yellow and of course pure white. The plants are also variable in leaf colour, distance between bulbs, size of flowers and texture of flowers – all good reasons to grow lots of Coelogyne cristatas.

 Coelogyne cristata flowering near Tinkitam, Sikkim

We have seen this species in the wild in Sikkim and Darjeeling, India. It grows on trees and rocks at an altitude of around 2000m above sea level. It always grows with thick moss indicating a love for damp conditions. We keep our plants wet in the summer and quite damp in the winter. Its altitude gives cool winters with a minimum around 6-10 0C and so we grow the species both in our Cool Asia section (minimum 10C) and our Warm Temperate section (minimum 6C)

The flowers can easily be damaged by water and so we avoid spraying them with the hose and greatly reduce watering when the flowers are out.

We have observed considerable variation in lip colour and flower shape in wild populations reflecting the variety of forms we have on our display.


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