We have a real giant of an orchid today. Sobralia leucoxanthus with it 3m long stems ending in these giant creamy flowers is one of our orchids that has always been just too big to take out of the greenhouse. Usually we publicise the plant’s flowering so that school staff can come and enjoy its exuberance, but this year we will have to manage with photos on the internet.
The species is native to Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia, where it grows as a terrestrial or epiphyte, produces its thin canes about 3m long, and in late spring these large (15cm across) flowers that last about two days. This is a lot of leaves and stems for a couple of days flowers but we are really fond of the species as it has a dramatic splendour all of its own. Each stem will produce a two or three flowers successively over five or six weeks, so actually the flowering period is extensive.
We grow it in a 90 cm diameter tree container in our Warm Americas section with a minimum of 15C and good light. We spray the plant daily and it is crying out for dividing into about six large plants – a job for next month.