365 days of orchids – day 519 – Maxillaria triloris

This wonderful species is our largest flowering Maxillaria species.

Maxillaria triloris is native to South America and found from Venezuela to Ecuador as an epiphyte in wet forest from 800-1800m.

We find that it enjoys the conditions of cool damp and shade in Cool Americas and we grow it in an open basket but with heavy watering all year. We do move it onto a shelf when in flower so that the flowers stay in pristine condition away from drips.


365 days of orchids – day 518 – Chysis aurea

Another plant looking great in the greenhouse this week is Chysis aurea with four spikes of large orange and gold flowers.

This glorious species is native to warm forests in Central and South America. It grows long thick pendulous bulbs each summer and then loses its leaves during the winter before sending out these lovely large flowers on long spikes from the base of the new growths.

We keep the species in a bright spot in Warm Americas with lots of water during the summer but an almost dry winter with just enough water to stop the pseudobulbs from shrivelling. We also need to be careful not to get too much water around the soft new growths in May and June or they can rot off.


365 days of orchids – day 517 – Cattleya mendellii

This magnificent Cattleya species is native to Colombia where it grows at around 1000m as a lithophyte on exposed rocks. We find it to be a straight forward species to grow in our Warm America section where we have several clones. The one shown above is particularly strong growing and has reached specimen size with a total of seven flower spikes each with 2-4 large flowers. We are hoping that it will still be fresh for the Malvern show in two weeks time.

The species flowers reliably in May/June for us and in cultivation the species can be recognised by the characteristic flowering season, generally light petals and very dramatic purple pink lip pattern.

If you are thinking of growing Cattleya species than this one would be a reliable species to start with. We keep plants moist all year but well drained in baskets. Last year we pollinated flowers from two of our best clones to produce seedlings for the future, and I am please to say that the plant shown here is now a mummy with many thousand little green protocorm babies growing in the propagation lab. Expect plants for sale in 18-24 months’ time.


365 days of orchids – day 516 – Maxillaria tenuifolia

This warm growing species from Central America is locally called the coconut orchid as it produces a powerful fragrance which is unmistakably coconut.

We have seen the species in the wild in Guatemala growing in dryish lowland forest. We found it mostly on the trunks of trees or on lower branches where it has some shade even thoough the forest is open and trees are semi-deciduous.

The plant has an ascending habit with a rhizome that grows bulbs progressively upwards which can make potting inconvenient and we grow plants mounted or in baskets in our Warm Americas section.


365 days of orchids – day 515 – Meiracyllium trinasutum


This is a small growing species from the Cattleya family rather sweetly named the three nosed Meiracyllium.

The species is native to Mexico and Central America where it grows on trees and rock at around 1000m. Its habit is to cling tight to its mount and so we would definitely grow it mounted rather than potted and having tried it in a number of sections finds it does best in our Warm Americas section in good light, lots of air movement and spraying daily.