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.


365 dats of orchids – day 171 – Coelogyne nitida

This is a cool growing species that we have seen abundantly in Sikkim and in Arunachal Pradesh. In our experience it grows in evergreen and semi-evergreen forest from about 1000m up to 2500m mostly on the trunks and lower branches and often with moss and ferns, The photos below show the species flowering in late April near Tawang right in northern Arunachal pradesh.

The Cymbidium growing with the Coelogyne is Cymbidium elegans (an autumn flowering species I am sure we will feature in October)

In cultivation we replicate the species’ cool wet habitat and find it grows best with a minimum of 6C in our Warm Temperate zone and we water well throughout the year.


365 days of orchids – day 170 – Masdevallia hystrix

Hi Ed here. This is my favourite orchid because although it smells quite bad it looks very interesting. I like the colouration when it is in flower and the smell reminds me of durian. The stink of the flower is there to attract flies that then pollinate the flower.

Masdevallia hystrix grows in Ecuador at around 2500m in cool evergreen forest. We have noticed that its leaves are easily damages by bright summer sunshine or high temperatures so cool and shady is where it likes to grow.

The flowers are large with a spam of 15cm from the tips of the tails. Lookout to for the prickly lip that gives the species its name. Hystrix is latin for porcupine!