365 days of orchids – day 325 – Restrepia cuprea


This is a large flowered and floriferous restrepia that flowers several times a year and regularly puts on a really good display like the one this week.

The species is endemic to Colombia and its name meaning ‘copper coloured restrepia’ accurately describes the very distinct colour of the flowers.

We succeed with Restrepias mounted, in pots and in baskets like this one. The challenge in baskets is to keep plants sufficiently damp during the summer but if this can be achieved a small basket turns into a fantastic ball of restrepia with flowers produced in all directions – lovely.

We are never without flowers on at least some of our restrepia species and several of our regular customers tell us that they do very well with restrepias in a shady spot indoors.


365 days of orchids – day 324 -Rodriguezia decora

These very attractive flowers belong to one of our more challenging species. This relative of Oncidium grows 3cm pseudobulbs separated by 15cm of vertical rhizome and so rapidly climb up from any basket or support they are given. I am sure this is a useful habit when you grow as an epiphyte in the coastal cloud forests of Brazil where plants presumably clamber their way up through the canopy to get access to more light and attract pollinators. However, in a greenhouse we are always trying to play catchup and keep up with the plant.

We have recently done lots of dividing to bring our large plant back down to a manageable size and so if anyone wants to try something a little different we will have plants for sale next year.


365 days of orchids – day 323 – Oncidium forbesii (Gomesa forbesii)

This beautiful Oncidium is a species we have seen growing in Brazil on our expeditions in 2000 and 2006. We found it growing at around 1100m on the tops of branches in good light on trackside trees in both primary forests and established secondary forest.

The species flowers on young plants with just one or two flowers and then as plants mature and pseudobulbs get bigger flowers spikes can reach 70cm long with up to thirty flowers.

The plant shown was purchased in flask from Richard Warren (Equatorial Plants) and has flowered reliably every autumn since starting flowering just three years out of flask.

We find that plants do well in baskets and over time they produce a mass of roots as do plants in the wild. We grow the species happily in our Cool Americas section.

The Brazilian Oncidiums such as this species have recently been moved into the genus Gomesa based on DNA analysis.


365 days of orchids – day 322 – Acampe papillosa

This is a medium sized plant with relatively small but highly fragrant flowers. We are waiting for it to develop into a clump of growths that will give a bigger impact.

The species is native the the Eastern Himalayas through South East Asia and we have seen the species growing in lowland forests in Southern Laos where plants experience hot wet summers and cooler dryer winters followed by a hot dry spring.



Reminder – Hardy Orchid Society – Autumn meeting and photographic competition 19th Nov

The Hardy Orchid Society Southern meeting is happening on Sunday 19th Nov in Kiddlington.

The full details and the programme is given here

I will be talking about the work students have done isolating and using mycorrhiza to grow mendip species in-vitro and am looking forward to the other brilliant things at the event.

I will also have orchids for sale