Masdevallia barlaeana – 365 days of orchids – day 979

We have a new species for 365 days this morning with this intense red flowered masdevallia.

Masdevallia barlaeana is found from Colombia to Peru at high altitude (2200-3100m) as a lithophyte on rocky slopes – a similar habitat as that of Masdevallia veitchiana. The species is smaller growing and smaller flowered than its close relative Masdevallia coccinea but is a rewarding species to grow. We find that to reflect the natural habitat plants grow best cool but bright – which can be tricky in the summer – but the species is well worth the challenge.

The plant shown is flowering in a 3cm pot which shows the smaller dimensions of the plant compared to Masdevallia coccinea.

In common with most other red and orange masdevallias the species is pollinated by humming birds.


Macroclinium lineare – 365 days of orchids – day 978

We have lots of wonderful miniature orchids and some of the stars are out Macroclinium species.  This species is a true mini-miniature with a fan shaped plant 3cm high and relatively large 1cm flowers in groups on short spikes.

Macroclinium lineare is found in warm mossy forests in Costa Rica and Panama at around 700-1400m. This species has shorter flower spikes than Macroclinium chasei  but larger flowers, and when it flowers well it produces a profusion of flowers that all open together giving a great display.

We grow the species mounted in Warm Americas (Min 15C) and spray it daily. The pollinator is a euglossine bee and the flowers are fragrant as an extra bonus.


Orchid Project plants to star in major wildlife film

We are delighted that we will be working with our friends at Plimsoll Productions on a major new wildlife film that will feature our South American orchids in exciting time lapse.

We took the first plants over to Aardman Studios in Bristol today to discuss plans and plant care ahead of time lapse filming which will start in September. The photographic enthusiasts in the project (camera geeks for short) will be visiting the Aardman studios regularly over the next few months to get involved and learn from the experts.

Visiting Aardman was a chance for Issy to catch up with some friends (below)

We were honoured to meet the real Wallace and Gromit who are working on an advert that will hit TV screens near Christmas.


Phalaenopsis bellina – 365 days of orchids – day 977

Just three weeks ago we were in Sarawak and we are now working hard to plan the details of our next trip there in October. It is therefore very appropriate that Phalaenopsis bellina, Sarawak’s state flower, is blooming here. The plant shown is growing at home where it is filling my dining room with its strong rose fragrance. (yes it is unmistakably smells of sweet roses). As a plant that enjoys deep shade and warm temperatures it is well suited to indoor culture.

This phalaenopsis species is found across Borneo and it grows it hot lowland forest in swamps or near rivers. Plants grow low in trees where it is often in deep shade. The species grows very attractive large undulating leaves and flower spikes that produce large fragrant flowers successively over a long period so the plant will be in flower now until late in the autumn.

 Phalaenopsis bellina in Sarawak



Maxillaria meleagris – 365 days of orchids – day 976

This is a small growing species that always produces masses of flowers at this time of year.

Maxillaria meleagris is native to cool forests in Mexico and Guatemala from 1500-2400m but we find that it is equally at home in both our Cool Americas and our Warm Americas section. We keep plants watered all year and find they enjoy shade and are very happy growing on benches under some of our hanging plants (such as Cattleyas) that like higher light levels.

We have found that several of our orchid growing friends find plants from this group of Maxillarias well suited to windowsill culture, so perhaps this is a species to add to your wish list.