Sobralia xantholauca – 365 days of orchids – day 1594

Yesterday’s Sobralia macrantha is a giant orchid with stems approaching 1.5-2m but it is dwarfed by its close cousine, Sobralia leucoxantha, with its 3m long stems ending in these giant creamy flowers. This is one of our orchids that has always been just too big to take out of the greenhouse, but its flowering is always a wonderful event.

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 well over a month.

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.

For those eager to buy a giant orchid or two, we are beginning to plan an open evening in July (lockdown willing). This will be a chance for the public to visit the greenhouse for the first time in well over a year, and of course a chance for the orchid project students to introduce you to their plants. We will be selling plants, flasks, and many of those plants that are too big to post. More information by the end of next week 🙂


Join the Discussion


There aren't any comments yet, why not be the first?