365 days of orchids – day 498 – Pleurothallis amparoana

Yesterday we had a remarkable large orchid species and today it is a small one. Pleurothallis amparoana is native to wet montane forest in Costa Rica and Panama from 1200 to 1800m altitude and is unusual in the extremely furry flowers. We grow the species with most of our Pleurothallids in Cool Americas and find it particularly enjoys a small basket where we can keep it damp all year but with good drainage.

We have always called this the furry toilet seat orchid as the flowers look remarkably like a toilet bowl with fur on the seat and the half open lid! – we would love a better name – any ideas?


Calling all windowsill orchid growers

Here on 365 days of orchids we tend to feature the orchids growing in the Writhlington/Mendip School glasshouses but of course lots of the Orchid Project team grow on windowsills too. These two coelogynes and been growing on my bathroom windowsill for the last couple of years and are flourishing – the window faces East and so gets morning sun only and the ceramic bottle is full of rain water from my greenhouse (so has food in too especially in the summer) As you can see the Coelogyne nitida is in full flower, the Coelogyne cristata flowered in February. The room is cool and the plants are watered every couple of days. The large coffee cups they grow in have been drilled with a small diamond core drill to give drainage.

Having these plants growing so well makes me think it would be nice to share photos of orchids on windowsills from some of our followers on the website/twitter/facebook. If you have a photo of your plants you would like to share please e-mail it with any details of culture to our website [email protected]



365 days of orchids – day 497 – Sobralia macrantha

This huge orchid flower belongs to Sobralia macrantha, a species found from Mexico to Costa Rica where it grows as a terrestrial in leaf litter.

The plant is huge too with thin canes that grow to a height of around 1.5m with alternate dark green tough leaves and terminal flowers that open successively over a period of several weeks. The flowers are fragrant but only last two to three days.

The lip of flowers have a charming creased look from being all folded up in the bud but when fully open the flowers a about 20cm across and 25cm from top to bottom.

We grow our plants in pots of bark and moss to replicate the natural habitat in Central America and keep plants watered all year in our Warm Americas section where plants get a minimum if 15C and bright light.

Issy looks after this genus and calls Sobralia Macrantha, Samantha (obviously). Last year Issy pollinated Samantha and sowed the seed in our propagation lab where we now have several hundred of these marvellous orchids nearly ready to come out of flask.

 Hannah and Issy with Samantha the Sobrailia macrantha and her first flowers of the summer.


365 days of orchids – day 496 – Bulbophyllum collettii

This wonderfully dramatic Bulbophyllum species has just opened in our Warm Asia section. This is our first posting of Bulbophyllum collettii and the species is native to forests from India to Northan Thailand. It is similar to Bulbophyllum rothschildianum with its vivid red flowers but in B. collettii the flowers are narrower.

 Our Bulbophyllum rothschildianum.

Bulbophyllum collettii is a compact grower (the plant below is in an 8cm basket) but with large flowers and is tolerant of a wide range of temperatures as it is found from 200m altitude in hot lowland forests right up to 2000m in cool evergreen forest.



365 days of orchids – day 495 – Pleurothallis costaricensis

I am surprised to find that this is the first time we have posted one of our favourite miniature pleurothallis species. As the name suggests this species is found in Costa Rica where it grows in wet forests from 600-1800m. It also grows in Panama.

We find the species quite slow growing and so it stays really small making it perfect for those who grow their orchids in terrariums or orchid cases. We find the species is very happy mounted or in a tiny pot (3cm here) and kept well watered all year.