365 days of orchids – day 704 – Pholidota leveilleana

I noted last year that researching 365 days of orchids has thrown up a few surprises including the habitat of this species. We have come across several Pholidota species (that are closely related to Coelogyne) in Loas, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Some species are small and attractive, others are large and straggly but all have been cool growing. As a result we grew Pholidota leveilleana in our Cool Asia section for five years where the plant grew but didn’t really flourish and this is not surprising as this species is actually a warmer growing lithophyte. The plant is native to Southern China and Vietnam where it grown on mossy rocks in deep shade from 800 to 1800m.

Last year we moved the plant to Warm Asia where it flowered and this year it has started to really grow well and this year is a lovely sight with seven arching spikes of small salmon pink flowers.


365 days of orchids – day 703 – Dendrobium trinervium

This lovely miniature dendrobium is new to 365 days and is a species native to Thailand and Peninsular Malaya where it grows in warm lowland forest at around 100m altitude. In this habitat it will experience year round warm temperatures and little seasonal variation. It is not strongly deciduous though only seems to flower from nodes along the newer pseudobulbs.

The plant shown first flowered from tiny 2.5cm bulbs but this year they have now grown to 5cm and produced a lot more flowers. It is still one of the smallest dendrobiums we grow and we expect it to make a stunning ball or growths in time.

The species naturally grows a little warmer than we keep our Warm Asia section (Min 18C) so we grow the species high up in the greenhouse (where it is warmest) but shaded throughout the year. We spray it daily and as you can see it produces lots of roots that cling to its bark mount..


Sixth formers and primary school pupils make for a busy day at the Orchid Project

We had a fantastic morning in the greenhouse and propagation lab with the enthusiastic pupils of our local primary school (Peasedown Primary). I am very proud of the Orchid team from years 7-10 and 12 (year 11s have exams this week) who did a great teaching job with orchid activities including finding flowering species in the greenhouse (Orchid Hunt), re-plating orchid seedlings in the prop’ lab, learning the botanical names for the parts of an orchid flower (Flower dissection and stick), and using botanical description (Orchid in a box)

This was followed by our year 13 a level students sowing different orchid species seeds to identify optimum growth conditions in-vitro (Germination testing)

With our R & D team researching the orchids of Sarawak after school it has been a great day to celebrate the educational benefits of an orchid project. If any teachers would like details of our activities, please get in touch.


365 days of orchids – day 702 – Trichoglottis pusilla

Miniature week continues with this gorgeous little Asian species.

Trichoglottis pusilla is native to Java where it grows in rain forest from 1000 to 2000m altitude. It is a true miniature with a leaf span of 5cm but large dramatic flowers which hang down from the plant.

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 with rain water and feed every day.

Pusilla means tiny and so this is the tiny Trichoglottis but it is getting bigger with time. In In spring 2017  this plant had two flowers (see photo  below) and this is its second flowering since with five flowers. Nevertheless it has a way to go before we have to stop calling it a miniature.

Photographing your plants to record how they develop is a very useful tool.


365 days of orchids – day 701 – Masdevallia oreas

This week is miniatures week and one of our favourites is this masdevallia, endemic to cloud forests of Bolivia and one of the smallest masdevallias we grow. The plant shown is in a 3cm pot with 4cm leaves and 5cm flower spikes. The flowers are large for the plant and long lasting.

We grow the species both mounted and in small pots and it seems very happy both ways in a shady spot in our Cool Americas section. This is the plant last year and as you can see it now has nearly double the leaf count and a record of seven flowers simultaneously.

We find that the secret of success with species such as this is our really heavy watering regime which meant it coped fine with the hot dry spell in from May to July.