Schomburgkia slendida – 365 days of orchids – day 1889

A wonderful orchid that didn’t quite open in time for the RHS Orchid show is this amazing Schomburgkia species.

Schomburgkia is a genus related to Cattleya, and includes a number of large growing plants with impressive spikes of unusual flowers. Schomburgkia splendida is native to Ecuador and Colombia where it grows on trees and rocks in dryish forests around 600- 1000m. The unusually twisted flowers are produced in a starburst at the end of the spike and really demand close inspection. From a distance the brown flowers look to be old, dried up and dead, and one wonders whether this is an adaptation to avoid being eaten by grazing animals.

We grow the species in open compost in a basket high in our Warm Americas section where it experiences a suitably warm and bright environment.

We arrived home from the RHS Orchid Show on Sunday evening to find that the buds had just opened – fortunate really as we couldn’t have fitted another tiny plant in the van, let alone a giant orchid like this lovely schomburgkia.


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