Yesterday I talked about spring flowering orchids but today’s species is summer flowerer. Sobralia macrantha usually unfurls its first gigantic flowers in May (so is a week early this year) and will flowers on and off until the end of July.
Sobralia macrantha is found from Mexico to Costa Rica where it grows as a terrestrial in leaf litter, and its massive flowers are matched by the plant with thin canes that grow to a height of around 1.5m with alternate dark green tough leaves. The terminal flowers open successively over a period of several weeks. The flowers are fragrant but only last two to three days.
The lip of flowers have a charming creased look from being all folded up in the bud but when fully open the flowers a about 20cm across and 25cm from top to bottom.
We grow our plants in pots of bark and moss to replicate the natural habitat in Central America and keep plants watered all year in our Warm Americas section where plants get a minimum if 15C and bright light.
Issy looks after this genus and calls Sobralia Macrantha, Samantha (obviously). Two years ago Issy pollinated Samantha and sowed the seed in our propagation lab where we now have several hundred of these marvellous orchids nearly ready to come out of flask.