Hi, Ben here with my favourite of the plants that are currently flowering: the Gongora gratulabunda
We grow it in the Warm Asia section along with our other Gongoras and in the wild it grows in warm mountain forests in Colombia at around 850 to 1600 meters. Each spike has around 12 flowers which bloom in the winter and are particularly colourful with lots of spots.
Like all our Gongoras we grow the plant in a basket so that its pendulous flowers can hand down from the plant.
Results are in and February’s orchid of the month is Bilbophyllum rotschilianum and it will go forward to the Orchid of the Year vote in December. This species from Southern China and the Eastern Himalayas is a worthy winner – congratulations to the team in our Warm Asia section who care for the plant. Thank you to the record number of people voting and remember it is not to late to vote for this weeks orchid of the week vote here
This is a real miniature sized plant but with very large flowers for its size. It is native to mountain cloud forests in Java with a climate very similar to the cloud forests of South America and so we grow this plant in Cool Americas and not our Asian sections – it shows that to grow a collection of over 1000 species there is always a compromise in providing ideal conditions to every plant.
We grow the species mounted, partly because a plant this small in a pot would not show off its natural elegance but also because the plant is naturally pendulous with semi terete leaves on stems that over time bend downwards from the base.
Joe here today posting about probably the tallest orchid you’ve ever seen (to me at least). Laelia superbiens grows on cliffs in Central America and flowers in the winter.
The photo shows how the plant and flowers tower above me. We have two plants and one has flower spikes about 150cm long while the other plant has spikes over 2m long. I think it would be impossible for the pollinating bees to miss this species in flower.
Simon Pugh-Jones adds; this is the largest of the Laelias and the large flowers in clusters of up to twenty flowers on their long stiff flower spikes are truly superb and fully justify the name. Unfortunately the plants are enormous and we have not managed to get one to a show for many years due the the size of the baskets they live in and the mass of roots that now pass down through the staging. We grow the species in Cool Americas with other member of the genus.