The first day of the Christmas holiday seems a great time to thank all of my wonderful Orchid Project team of students, staff and volunteers. It has been a really busy year and the school greenhouse has never looked so good.
As we approach Christmas, the smaller flowered Barkeria whartonia joins the other Barkeria speices still flowering in our Warm Americas section; Barkeria skinneri and Barkeria lindleyana (below)
Barkeria whartoniana is native to Oaxaca state, Mexico, where it grows in dry deciduous forest either as an epiphyte of on rocks . As a result it produces masses of thick roots that resent being surrounded by damp compost and prefer being exposed to the air. We grow plants mounted and hanging in our Warm Americas Section (min 15C) where plants are exposed lots of air. Plants produce thin stems about 30cm long with lush but short-lived leaves and then a branching flower spike that adds a further 80cm to the growth. Plants are semi deciduous and leaves are only remaining on this year’s growth. We find that plants prefer some shade unlike other Barkerias that enjoy bright sun.
With us, Barkeria whartoniana starts to flower in December and will still be flowering in March. New growth follow flowering and we water plants every day when in growth but less often during the winter.