365 days of orchids – day 166 – Vanda testacea

Yesterday we had a Renathera imschootiana which grows a metre high and has long flower spikes – today we have its diminutive cousin Vanda testacea. This lovely species is one of the smaller growing Vandas and the plant shown is 20cm tall and 30cm wide. the long lasting yellow and pink flowers are held well clear of the leaves and the species likes to produce multiple spikes.

Vanda testacea is native to The Himalayas from Nepal to Mayanmar and also from Sri Lanka where it is found from 700 to 2000m. The range implies it can take quite cool temperatures but we find it enjoys life with the other Vandas in Warm Asia.


Lovely display at the Malvern International Orchid Show

Well done Laura, Issy, Jess and Gareth the display team at the Three Counties Show (Malvern International Orchid Show) I took the photo just before leaving this evening as judging was in progress (so a little dark)  – Our best Malvern display yet I think.

The tent is looking fantastic with wonderful plants from all over the UK as well as international trade. Lovely to meet up with so many old friends. More news on the event to follow.


365 days of orchids – day 165 – Renanthera imschootiana

This amazing red relative of Vanda is unfortunately one of the orchid species threatened by the trade in unsustainable wild collection. It is native to the Eastern Himalayas where it grows in warm evergreen forest along rivers from 500 to 1000m. Fortunately like most tropical epiphytic orchids it is easy to grow from seed and our plant will be pollinated to help make the species common in cultivation and so reduce the pressure for wild collection.

The species grows as a single stem with stiff 15cm alternate leaves making a very stately plant with the most dramatic red flowers (the photographs do not do the colour justice) on long branched spikes.



365 days of orchids – day 164 – Aerides houlletiana

Aerides houlletiana is a medium sized species native to South East Asia where it grows in warm lowland forest up to around 1000m. We saw the species in the forests around the edge of the Bolevan Plateau in Southern Laos in open forest where it experience a warm wet summer followed by a cooler winter and a hot dry spring.

We collected seed from a plant hanging in a restaurant near Tadd Fann waterfall  in 2008 and the plant shown is one of the seedlings from this batch. The startling flowers are probably butterfly pollinated and left to its own devices the plant is semi pendulous with the very pendulous flower spikes hanging below the growths to allow easy pollinator access. The flowers are fragrant as well as beautiful.

 We grow the species in baskets of course bark and keep plants watered all year. We keep the plants in Warm Asia (minimum 18C)


365 days of orchids – day 163 – Brassavola tuberculata

This terete leaved relative of Cattleya is native to Brazil where it grown in warm open forest in good light. It is relatively slow growing and we find does best mounted where its long lived roots can grip tightly to the bark. We find it dislikes pots or baskets presumably because the roots cannot tolerate prolonged wet periods. Saying this we find that mounted it enjoys being watered daily and when we have with held watering at flowering time the flowers have not opened fully – so mounted but well watered seems to be its preference in our greenhouse.

It is certainly enjoying itself at the moment and has more than seventy perfect large fragrant flowers completely smothering the plant. I think we have had this plant on this mount for about fifteen years.

It hangs high in Warm Americas in good light and is very little trouble. I hope that the flowers will still be perfect for the Malvern International Orchid Show this weekend – do come an join us at the Three Counties Show Ground, Malvern.