Dendrochilum javierense – 365 days of orchids – day 1515

We have a really spectacular orchid for you today. Dendrochilum javierense has masses of closely packed brick red flowers on arching spikes that on a specimen like this plant make for a wonderful display.

Dendrochilum javierense is a small growing dendrochilum with narrow stiff leaves, about 25cm long, and more upright flower stems than most of the related species we grow. As with all dendrochilums, the flower spikes emerge from new growths, and in this species the 30cm spikes display the flowers emerging from the tips of the dark green leaves.

The species is native to the Philippines where it grows in mossy forest above 1200m and so  in culture we grow the plants damp all year. We grow the species in our Warm Asia section which it seems to enjoy although it would grow cooler. Our Cool Asia section we find a little too cool for it.

The plant photographed is in a 25cm basket and has 90 flower spikes.


Pleurothallis grobyi – 365 days of orchids – day 1514


Many of our orchid species flower several times a year and Pleurothallis grobyi is one of them. We have several clones of this miniature pleurothallis species. Todat’s clone is similar to varieties we have seen in Brazil with 4cm leaves and long spikes of relatively large beak like flowers. The Brazilian plants (with great diversity) in situ are shown below:


All of the plants we found were growing in primary forest in shade with abundant moss growing around them suggesting that plants appreciate being grown wet and shaded in cultivation, and that is what we aim for in  our Cool Americas section.




Coelogyne stricta – 365 days of orchids – day 1513

Spring wouldn’t be spring without today’s giant coelogyne species from the Himalayas.

The species is native to the Himalayas and we have seen some wonderful specimen plants flowering in the forests of Sikkim at around 2000m altitude in cool moist monsoon forest. One plant in particular had completely enveloped the trunk of a large tree – a real site.

The photo shows a close view of flowers on a plant near Tinkitam in Sikkim.



Masdevallia lucernula – 365 days of orchids – day 1512

Masdevallia lucernula is possibly the most dramatic of our small growing Masdevallia species.

Several Masdevallia species have very bright flowers but M. lucernula must be our brightest species and with its scarlet tubular flowers positively glowing against its dark green leaves.

The name means little lantern which a great name to reference the shape and the colour of the flowers.

Masdevallia lucernula is found in very cool Peruvian cloud forests at around 2100m where it is pollinated by humming birds. We find the species challenging to grow well as it hates high temperatures and loses leaves every summer. It looks great at this time of year with fresh winter growth. The top photo shows this year with seven flowers and buds which is a good progress on last year.

We grow the species in a small (10cm) basket hanging among other cool growing orchids as shown here (Cymbidiums and Odontoglossums) and it is watered every day to ensure the combination of abundant water but perfect drainage.


Cattleya trianae ‘alba’ – 365 days of orchids – day 1511

The winter sun is growing in strength despite the low temperatures this week and this morning is lighting up the lovely white flowers of Cattleya trianae ‘alba’

This orchid is a very reliable spring flowering species which thrives in our Warm Americas section. We find that we have different clones flowering from early February (alba is always the first) through to April.

Cattleya trianae is the national flower of Colombia and is endemic to that country where it is found in open woodland at around 1000m altitude. In cultivation we find that plants enjoy good light and free draining compost but plenty of water when in growth. We grow all our Cattleya trianaes in baskets hung high in the roof of the greenhouse and filled with a course bark and no moss. The plants produce masses of roots and we keep them just damp in the winter but much wetter in the summer.

This plant is labelled ‘alba’ and is mostly missing the usual purple and pink colouring but there is a slight pink tone on the lip near the yellow blotch.