Maxillaria praestans always reminds me of summer shows we have enjoyed in the past – Hampton Court Flower Show, Malvern International Orchid Show and the Bristol University Bee and Pollination event. What ever the show, people are fascinated by the very black lip on this dramatic orchid.
We happily describe Maxillaria preastans as our moist reliable maxillaria. The species from Mexico and Central America is found between 1500 and 2000m altitude in humid evergreen forest and we find that it grows well both cool in Cool Americas (min 12C) and warm in Warm Americas (min 15C) as long as it is kept well watered throughout the year.
Single flowers are produced from the base of bulbs in summer and are large and showy with a distinctive black lip. Several flowers are produced from each bulb over a period of a few months making this a straight forward and rewarding species to grow. The flowers are long lasting and ensure a point of interest in the summer greenhouse.
We have noticed that wasps find our flowers particularly attractive and in the autumn when wasps become more common in the greenhouse several flowers get pollinated.