This wonderful species is the national flower of Brazil. It is found as an epiphyte in open forest up to around 1000m where it experiences a warm wet summer and a cool dryer winter. With us it reliably flowers in June and the greenhouse where we keep the large plants hanging high in Warm America with a minimum temperature of 15C and good light in baskets of large bark which allows lots of air spaces for the thick and abundant roots. It is a large plant and the flowers are around 20cm across.
The variety shown above is ‘venosa’ referring to the dark pink veins and is a very striking plant. We have several clones of this species and a check on the internet shows that there is a fantastic diversity of coloured varieties available. Our largest growing and largest flowered clone (below) has a particularly dark and velvety lip and up to eight flowers on a spike.
Her is one of our smaller clones (below) which makes it easier to manage as a plant.
We have also found this a great species to raise from seed as the seedlings are really vigorous and plants usually reach flowering size four years from de-flasking.
I will be talking about this species during my free online talk for the OSGB on Saturday – details and zoom link here.