Stelis cucullata – 365 days of orchids – day 1798

Christmas may be past but this small flowered orchid still looks as if it has been decorated with tinsel.

This medium sized stelis species is one of our most floriferous and as you can see flowers from all leaves both young and old with spikes of around 50 flowers each with pale yellow sepals and deep red tiny petals. This plant has 50 spikes so that is an impressive 2500 flowers in total.

Stelis cucullata is found in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Venezuela where it grows in wet forests from 100-1500m altitude indicating that the species is more warmth tolerant than most of our Stelis species, making this an easy species in cultivation.

We grow plants in pots and baskets in our Cool Americas section (minimum 12C) although it would grow warmer. Our plants originate from a donation of plants from a Costa Rican orchid enthusiast in the 1990s – he was being posted from Costa Rican Embassy in London to somewhere unsuitable for his beloved orchid collection – and it is lovely that 25 years on his plants are still doing well.

The flowers are long lasting as well as lovely so a treat for the New Year too.



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