It may be cold and wet outside the greenhouse but inside the greenhouse we have some extraordinary warm miniature orchids, including Trichoglottis pusilla
Trichoglottis pusilla is a tiny species with a 5cm fan of dark green leaves and small sprays of relatively large flowers with delightful dark red stripes. Stripes are a common feature in Tricholglottis as shown by the summer flowering Trichoglottis smithii (below)
Trichoglottis pusilla is native to Java where it grows in rain forest from 1000 to 2000m altitude. We grow this species mounted in Warm Asia where it lives high up but shaded on a mesh frame that allows good air movement but easy spraying every day.
We are always excited to be able share the extraordinary diverse world of orchid species. Our few seedlings of Cyrtochilum minax (above) are ready for sale at two years out of flask. The species has large flowers on branched 2m spikes and is endemic to Peru.
Xylobium subintegrum is another large growing species from Peru and Ecuador that produces masses of flowers as the new growths emerge in late summer.
There is something particularly lovely about vibrant coloured flowers on grey winter days, and Dendrobium mohlianum really cheers the spirits with its star like orange flowers, each emphasised by their fine red picotee edging and dark red lip.
Dendrobium mohlianum is a dramatic species native to the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu (A real South Sea Islander). It is found in wet forests from 450 to 3000m altitude which indicates it is cool growing although we grow our plants very successfully in both Warm Asia and Cool Asia.
It is likely to be sun bird pollinated and the unusual folded up lip is adapted for the beak of a hovering bird rather than being a landing platform for an insect. The orange colour is also a classic bird pollination indicator.
An unusual characteristic of the plant is to flower from old pseudobulbs – soma as old as seven years old on our plant. This produces a great display over time but remember not to cut off old leafless pseudobulbs or you will have no flowers. The flowers are very long lasting and with lots of buds still to open this plant will be at its peak from now until May.
We grow the species mounted but to reflect its natural habitat we water it freely and are happy to let moss grow naturally on the cork mount which helps to keep the plant wet between waterings. It also does well in pots.
Despite lockdown the orchid project team is working hard on plans for the future events, and making full good use of online communication.
Our next event is our Zoom talk for the Friends of Bristol University Botanic Gardens. We have been missing working with the fantastic team in Bristol and are looking forward to catching up, as well as sharing our January Greenhouse online and talking about Sarawak. The event is open to the public and starts at 6pm.
We would also recommend that anyone living in the South West join the Friends – more information here.
Friends of Bristol Botanic Garden – January Talk – Writhlington Orchid Project – Orchids and Orchid Conservation in Sarawak
Tuesday, January 26⋅6:00 – 7:30pm
This spectacular orchid is Dracula deltoidea. Draculas are a close relatives of Masdevallias, and a genus in which many species produce a fantastic show of flowers. Dracula deltoidea is entering its main flowering period and has smaller flowers than most of our other Dracula species, but makes up for this in the number of flowers a plant produces. As you can see the flowers are produced downwards around and through the basket so that the best possible view is from directly underneath (below).
The species is native to Ecuador and is found at elevations of 2600-3000metres so we keep it in Cool America. Like many druculas the leaves of this species get damaged if it gets too hot. We try to grow it very cool, wet and shady hanging below other orchid baskets which increases both the shade and water the plant receives. Do check out our growing tips in more detail for all of our plants in our orchid culture tab, or for draculas, growing cool orchids from the Americas for more help on the culture of these fantastic plants.
Look out for plants of Dracula deltoidea for sale later this year.