365 days of orchids – day 175 – Pleurothallis pterophora

This small growing Brazilian pleurothallis is one of our favourites. It has a strong fragrance of bananas and the small flowers are long lasting. We find that it prefers growing mounted where it can receive heavy watering but have perfect drainage.

This is part of a large group of Pleurothallis recognised as a subgenus or even the separate genus, Specklinia. These species produce lots of small flowers on short spikes and most make wonderful small growing species in a collection.


365 days of orchids – day 174 – Cattleya gaskelliana

This large flowered Cattleya species is native to Colombia and Venezuela where it grows from 700m-1000m altitude making it a little cooler growing than some of its close relatives. We find it enjoys our Warm Americas section (min 15C) where we grow it in a basket of open compost. The large fragrant flowers of the species typically have light pink petal and sepal apart from the yellow and purple on the lip.

It flowers for us very regularly in early summer just before sending out the new growth.


365 days of orchids – day 173 – Angraecum elephantinum

The name elephantinum means gigantic agraecum but it is actually one our smallest Angraecum species especially as this plant is flowering for the first time five years out of flask and still 6cm high and 8cm across. Of course it is the flower that is gigantic compared to the plant and here it pretty much hides the whole plant.

The species comes from the mountains of Madagascar and the plant can be grown quite cool – we are growing it here at a minimum of 10C.

This plant was one of the BOC babies given away in vitr0 at our last British Orchid Congress in October 2012 – this was one of the left over small ones – but well worth growing on. We mounted it on cork straight from the flask and it grows wet and bright so sprayed daily and near the top of a cool greenhouse.

We will next host the British Orchid Congress on November 2018 – 2nd to 3rd – see you there 🙂


365 days of orchids – day 172 – Cattleya tenebrosa

This Cattleya species from Brazil and has a lot in common with its close relative Cattleya purpurata. It grows as an epiphyte in open lowland forest up to around 1000m and so enjoys warm conditions and good light. We hand our plant in the roof of the Warm Americas Zone.

Its name tenebrosa means ‘dark’ referring to the flowers but it does come in a range of colours from yellow to a deep brown with a contrasting pink and purple lip. we are delighted to have many thousands of these growing in-vitro so look out for them on out sales table from Christmas onwards.


Hot in the greenhouse?

We are currently experiencing some unusually warm weather and we have been asked how we keep our cool sections cool in these conditions. At lunch time the temperatures ranged from 34.4C in Cool Americas to 38.6C in Warm Asia. While some of our lowland species are clearly relishing the heat most of our orchids would prefer lower temperatures.

From experience we don’t panic. If plants have plenty of water at the roots they will keep themselves cool through transpiration – we water morning and evening when it is this hot. Some plants we know suffer in high temperatures and so we ensure that these are in amongst other plants that will provide extra shade and protection from extreme leaf temperatures..

Good light and high temperatures are also a good time ti increase feed level as nutrients and water availability are the most likely limits to photosynthesis at this time of year.