December in the school greenhouse is always dominated by Laelia gouldiana and its close relative Laelia anceps. Our specimen plant of Laelia gouldiana is now in full flower (below) with seven of the ten spikes fully out. As you can see the flower spikes are around 1m long with 6-10 large flamboyant flowers.
We have smaller plants flowering amongst our Laelia anceps and filling the roof of our Cool Americas section.
We grow plants in baskets and pots. In baskets plants produce an abundance of arial roots that give Cool Americas a proper jungle feel and a favourite for film crews.
We water plants heavily in the summer when in growth and keep them hung in the roof of the greenhouse where they get good light and dry out quickly after watering.
The species was endemic to cool mountain woodland in Hidalgo State, Mexico but is very sadly now extinct in the wild. It is quite common in cultivation suggesting that wild collection was a key factor in its disappearance. Extinction of Laelia gouldiana in the wild is dated 1998.