Laelia anceps – 365 days of orchids – day 1094

This wonderful orchid is always in full flower for our annual Orchid Christmas Celebration and this year was no exception. Flowers are really variable in shape and colour as shown by the three photos. The first is a more normal pink clone, the second is the very large flowered and large growing Laelia anceps ‘veitchiana’ and the third is an alba variety that opens greenish and then becomes pure white with a yellow centre to the lip.

We grow Laelia anceps in our Cool Americas section where it has a minium temperature in the winter between 10C and 12C. Plants produce lots of roots and enjoy good drainage in either pots or baskets with chunky bark. We water heavily during the growing season from March to October and then water less during the winter but don’t let the bulbs shrivel. We give plenty of fresh air and some shading in the summer although plants could be grow out doors from June to September in a semi shaded spot. We feed plants through the growing season.


The roof of Cool Americas is full of Lealia anceps flowers and it will stay that way until the end of January – very lovely in the darkest months of the winter.

This species is widely reported as being a significant part of the Mexican festival, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which takes place at the end of October, but for us, this is a Christmas orchid. Perhaps it is the the climate in the UK or the cool temperatures of our Cool Americas section but all of our many clones flower from November to January with their peak at Christmas. The flowers are large and on strong spikes 80cm long with three to six flowers on a spike. The species is native to Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras where it grows in pine oak forest and coffee plantations from 500-1500m altitude. The wide distribution of the species and its relatively harsh habitat help to explain the ease with which the plant grows in cultivation and its tolerance of both high temperatures in the summer and cool temperatures in the winter. The wide distribution also gives rise to a wide variety of forms.

Can we take this opportunity to wish good growing to all those who purchased plants from us on Saturday. If you have any problems or questions please get in touch through the website.


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