365 days of orchids – day 13 – Dracula bella

dracula-bella-1Our names are Eleanor and Tabby (heads of cool america), and we are telling you about Dracula bella. In latin Dracula Bella means the beautiful Dracula. This amazing plant is a bright reddish pink colour with a bright white lip. This deceiving orchid tricks fungus gnats into laying its eggs on it by creating a fake fungi thus the gnats unknowingly pollinate Dracula! We have to grow it in a basket as the flower grows downwards this is a good tip if you are growing them at home. This orchid is one of the most interesting of all the orchids in the green houses.

This second photo shows the same flower side on.


Oh, don’t forget that tomorrow will be your chance to vote for orchid of the week.


365 days of orchids – day 12 – Barkeria skinneri


Hello my name is Edward. This is me in Warm America holding Barkeria skinneri in full flower. My research shows that this plant comes from Mexico and grows on oak trees in tropical and deciduous rain forests.


In this close up you can see the white area on the lip, this is were the butterfly lands to pollenate the flower.  In the greenhouse Barkeria skinneri grows on a large piece of cork bark so that its roots hang out in the air. It grows its new shoots in the summer and flowers during the winter.


365 days of orchids – day 11 – Phalaenopsis violacea


We are now into our second week of 365 days of orchids and to add to the diversity here is our wonderful bright pink clone of Phalaenopsis violacea. This Malaysian species has been used heavily in breeding long lasting colourful hybrids and you can see why. The species produces flowers successively on a spike over many months and so this could appear anywhere in our 365 days but today it is looking particularly bright in the winter light.

We grow this plant in Warm Asia (min 16C) in a basket for good drainage but watered frequently. The plant has enjoyed being repotted recently by Jacob.



365 days of orchids – day 10 – Barkeria melanocaulon


Barkeria is a genus of orchids from Central America that produce cane like pseudobulbs and a tall terminal spike with many flowers. Barkeria melanocaulon comes from Mexico and has smaller flowers (about 2cm across) but lots of them on branched spikes. The flowers are long lasting and spikes produce secondary sprays as the first flowers die. Like all the Barkerias we grow Barkeria melanocaulon produces lots of thick roots which love to hang in the air and we grow the plant on a large piece of cork bark. It is a wonderful orchid but does have the inconvenient habit of rooting onto other nearby mounts and walls making it impossible to take out for shows.


365 days of orchids – day 9 – Pleurothallis truncata

We had a bright flowered orchid yesterday and we have another today in Pleurothallis truncata with its chains of little orange flowers. The plant shown here is our biggest specimen and with flowers on almost all the leaves it is a real picture and one of our favourites.  We grow it mounted on cork bark where its pendulous habit is shown off well. We water it every day (twice in the summer) and keep it shaded and cool in Cool Americas.

It seems likely that its pollinator is a jan-pleurothallis-truncatasmall insect but if anyone has any theories on the pollinator relationship here it would be good to hear. We have now added a closeup thanks to Joe and his camera skills.