365 days of orchids – day 187 – Coelogyne schultesii

This unusual Coelogyne species has a wonderful habit of flowering for several years from each flower spike, a habit it shares with a small number of other species from section prolifera.

The result is a specimen plant with flowers simultaneously  produced from several year’s growths. After flowering the flower spikes take a ten month rest before extending again for the next year’s flowers. The longest we have had is four years of flowering from one stem.

We have seen this species in forest above Gangtok in Sikkim where it grows in cool, wet, evergreen, monsoon forest on mossy trunks and branches.

To match this habitat we grow the species in our Cool Asia section (minimum 10C) and keep it well watered throughout the year and remember not to cut off the flower spikes.



365 days of orchids – day 186 – Gongora chocoensis

This dramatic Gongora is named after Choco state in North eastern Colombia where it found as an epiphyte in Mangrove swamp. It is therefore a warm growing species and at home in our Warm Asia section (although growing nowhere near Asia)

Our clone has a really dramatic eye on the lip and the flowers are large compared to other Gongora species.

Tomorrow we have Wendy from the Bristol Aquarium visiting. She will be taking away the first Gongora plants for the Aquarium’s new permanent Gongora display. Today we have been sorting plants for the display and information for the public.


365 days of orchids – Day 185 – Lockhartia oerstedii

This is an unusual Central and South American member of the Oncidium family . It grows long stems of overlapping short pointed leaves similar to a group of unrelated Dendrobiums for Asia.

The clusters of long lasting flowers emerge from between the leaves and several year’s stems flower together.

We have seen this species growing in wet evergreen forest along rivers in Costa Rica at 1400m altitude but it can be found up to 2600m from Mexico in the north to Colombia in the South.

We grow this species mounted and in pots but mounted plants present best as the stems develop a pendulous habit over time.

 Lockhartia oerstedii in Costa Rica


365 days of orchids – day 184 – Prosthechea radiata

This is a fragrant species from Central America. We have seen it growing abundantly in hot lowland forests in Guatemala and Belize and the best place we have found to find it in the wild is to visit the Ancient Mayan city of Tikal where it is east to spot from the tops of the excavated Mayan Pyramids.

 The photograph here shows one of the large plants (in bud) near this pyramid which makes the climb up the wooden steps well worth it.

The orchids in this forest are dominated by large specimens which indicates that the dryish conditions do not suit the establishment of seedlings except on particularly wet years.

Our plant is even bigger than the Tikal specimen and was moved to this wire basket seven years ago. The plant sits in Warm Americas and is watered most days as baskets dry out quickly. It is interesting that for it to flourish in cultivation we groe this plant much wetter than it grows in its natural habitat. A key reason for this is very extensive root system epiphytes can develop in habitat where roots can run for several metres from a specimen plant. In cultivation deteriorating compost tend to reduce the number of years roots survive for.