Aerangis hyaloides – 365 days of orchids – day 1510

Aerangis hyaloides is the smallest flowered of all our Aerangis species and endemic to Madagascar. The species produces a massed flower spikes of densely packed little flowers and gives a wonderful display for its diminutive stature – the plant here is in a 5.5cm pot. The species is found in warm mossy forests in shade and needs protection from the sun in summer to thrive.

We have had this species flowering in-vitro in the past, and like many miniature orchids is very fast to flower from seed. Flowers this small are a challenge to pollinate but we hope to have more seedlings coming on soon.


Restrepia muscifera – 365 days of orchids – day 1509

Many of our Restrepia species flower on and off throughout the year but most have a peak flowering time, and for Restrepia muscifera the peak flowering is in February.

Restrepia muscifera is very reliable and floriferous species in our Cool Americas section. Restrepia muscifera is a variable small growing species found from Central America through to Ecuador and this red spotted clone in particular is a strong growing and free flowering plant.

We grow restrepias in pots, baskets and mounted too. Plants like this mounted specimen are trouble free providing they are watered well throughout the year, which means watering every day, and twice a day during hot summer spells or in very cold weather like this week, when the heating is working hard and so dries out plants rapidly.




Masdevallia dynastes – 365 days of orchids – day 1508

The flowers of this wonderful, small growing, Masdevallia always makes me think of the spotted heads of nestlings, poking up from the nest of leaves, with gaping mouths asking to be fed – what do you think?


Masdevallia dynastes is a very floriferous species endemic to cloud forests in Ecuador from 1400-2800m altitude. These long lasting flowers will be out until at least the end of March, providing an engaging display in our Cool Americas section.

We find the species enjoys a damp spot but not too shady where it then multiplies quickly. The leaves are 4cm long and the 1cm flowers are held just clear of the leaves.

We grow the species in our Cool Americas section with a minimum of 12C and keep it well watered throughout the year. As you can see we sometimes have a little too much moss competing with our plants and they appreciate regular repotting into fresh bark.


Pleurothallis urseolata – 365 days of orchids – day 1507


This is one of our largest Pleurothallis speices and a wonderful sight this week. Many pleurothallis species are small plants or even tiny miniatures but some like this species are large dramatic plants with thousands of small flowers on a mature plant. This plant stands 80cm high and is still a relatively young plant.

The flowers have been in bud (like tiny bird’s beaks) for a while and it does take a close inspection to see the fine thread like petals that show flowers have opened. The flowers are not large but the long pendulous flower spikes are very attractive especially since individual leaves can produce up to ten flower spikes.

We are struck with its resemblance to Dendrochilum magnum (below) a species that is not related and comes from the other side of the world. Is this a good case of parallel evolution as both are adapted for a fairly small fly pollinator and present their flowers in a similar way from very different plants.

Pleurothallis urceolata is native to Ecuador where it grows in cloud forests from 1500-2900m altitude and in common with many of the larger leaved pleurothallis it enjoys being kept wet and shaded especially in the summer when overheating can lead to dark blotches on the leaves. This species produces abundant roots which makes culture easier especially in warm weather. To satisfy its culture preference we grow plants hanging low in our cool Americas section where it remains cooler and damper on hot summer days (see flowering in its normal home below)


Moving orchids back from their winter rest

We have moved some of our warm growing species that enjoy a cooler winter (such as Dendroibium aphyllum) back to their warm home in our  Warm Asia section (min 17C). The plants have been hanging in the roof of Cool Americas (min12C) since before Christmas but their native home in Himalayan valleys will now be warming up and we replicate those conditions at school.

As you can see plants have lost all of their leaves but the pendulous pseudobulbs have not shrivelled – we will expect them to flower in about six weeks and until them will keep them on the dry side. (flowering plant below)