365 days of orchids – day 299 – Masdevallia bicolor

One of our smaller Masdevallias, (the leaves are are between 3 and 5cm long) this species is native to South America (Ecuador to Venezuela) where it grows low down on trees in cloud forests. It is unusual for a Masdevallia in that it invariably produces two flowers at a time on its 8cm flower spikes.

We have grown the species mounted and in pots and find that for us it prefers being potted and kept in deep shade


365 days of orchids – day 298 – Stelis patinaria


Stelis patinaria is another stelis species endemic to Ecuador and its cloud forests.

This species produces two opposite rows of flowers on each spike reminiscent of little bird’s beaks and the ginger red colour contrasts wonderfully with the glossy green leaves.

The mossy basket here shows the conditions we grow the plant in. We water its basket daily and grow the plant cool and shady in our Cool Americas section. Since we have had the plant it has steadily grown larger and we are hoping that it will reward us with a mass flowering. At the moment it seems happy to share a few spikes at a time over a long period with most of the flowering in the winter.


365 days of orchids – day 297 – Pleurothallis loranthophylla

Today’s orchid is the third Pleurothallis in a row – what a fantastic genus. This species produces really pretty flowers in long pendulous spikes and gives a great display.

Pleurothallis loranthophylla is native to wet forests from sea level right up to 2100m and is found from Costa Rica through to South America and as far south as Peru. It produces more roots than many of our Pleurothallis species making it more tolerant of heat and dry periods than many.

The flowers are produced from a dry sheath that forms in the axel of the new leaf but be patient as plants will sit ready to flower for months and then produce a mass of flower when conditions are just right (usually in the autumn for us).


365 days of orchids – day 296 – Pleurothallis linearifolia

This is a true miniature species native to Brazil and Northern Argentina where it grows in cloud forest. Leaves are only 1cm long but flowers are relatively large and bourn in profusion every autumn.

We find plants do well mounted or in pots and baskets but we need to ensure that plants are not smothered by moss as the species really enjoys cool, wet, shaded conditions which really suits moss!

Despite its tiny size the species grows relatively quickly and can be split to share this lovely plant around. The flowers are also sweetly scented.


365 days of orchids – day 295 – Pleurothallis tuerckheimii


This is one of the most rewarding pleurothallis species we grow and one we think more people should have in their collections. It is a robust species that grows attractive glossy leaves before producing long dramatic spikes of deep red flowers in the autumn. It will produce fantastic specimen plants as well as flowering from small plants. The plant shown on the left is mounted on bark but it grows happily in pots and baskets too.

The natural habitat of the species is damp forests and cloud forests from Mexico to Panama between 700m and 2400m altitude. This broad natural range supports our observation that this is an adaptable and accommodating plant to grow. We have found that the plant does best in deep shade and heat/light stress can cause leaf drop.