A very wet and windy day here in Writhlington meant no need to water the greenhouse and so a chance to restock the shop, for some of the sold out species, and add a new Cymbidium species – Cymbidium erythraeum is one of our favourites and we will have more seedlings of the species coming through in the next few months.
This orchid has real impact and it is always a treat when the vivid red and deep pink intricate and large flowers of Bulbophyllum rothschildianum open.
Bulbophyllum rothschildianum is native the Eastern Himalayan region of Southern China, North East India and Burma. We have been explored the warm lowland forests of Arunachal Pradesh where the species is found. These forests have a very wet summer when growth occurs but a much dryer winter which is the flowering time. We find the species does well in both baskets or pots but appreciated good drainage and watering regularly even in winter so that the bulbs do not shrivel.
The flowers smell quite strongly of fresh fish (we think mackerel) which is quite pleasant as long as you are expecting it. We presume that the fly pollinators find it irresistible. To get an idea of flower size the pot in the photo below is a 15cm basket. The plant is quite compact but puts a lot of effort to present the flowers on long spikes well clear of the leaves.
The second coerulea Cattley species this week is this giant Brazilian species.
Cattleya guttata is native to Brazil and can be found in Sao Paulo near the coast. It grows as an epiphyte with warm wetter summers and dryer winters. The plant does all its growing with us between April and September and we water and feed heavily during this period. For the rest of the year we keep the plant dryer but never let it shrivel.
It comes into flower in autumn and the blooms last 8 weeks. This species of Cattleya has longer bulbs than any of the other Cattleya’s that we have as the bulbs are over a meter long and the flowers extend by another 50cm. With three flower spikes each with twelve flowers this year, it makes a stately plant. This is the coerulea variety which has a more blue /purple lip and lighter petals than most clones. We grow this orchid in our Warm Americas section with a minimum of 15 degrees C.
If you have the the space this is a wonderful species to grow. We have seedlings in flask that will be de-flasked later this year.
After yesterday’s very small flowered orchid species todays is this very large flowered cattleya
Coerulea means blue but in this case the flowers are a very pale grey version of blue but despite this they are elegant large flowers with the delicate shape and intricate lip characteristic of Cattleya maxima.
The two plants out together show the wonderful diversity present in so many orchid species and we would not be without either.
Rather excitingly we have seed germinated of a cross between the two varieties growing in our lab..
Cattleya maxima is native to South America from Venezuela down to Peru. It grows in forests from sea level up to 1500m and so is warm growing.
This medium sized stelis species is one of our most floriferous and as you can see flowers from all leaves both young and old.
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.
We have flowering plants available at our online shop.