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.


365 days of orchids – day 162 – Masdevallia lappifera

This species is a small growing Masdevallia from Ecuador found at around 1200m altitude. The large flowers are produced on short stems and are remarkable for the purple ‘hairs’ on the lip which give the species its name meaning the burred Masdevallia.

The species flowers several times during the year and the flowers are long lasting so this is a plant that often comes with us to shows. We grow it in Cool Americas.


365 days of orchids – day 160 – Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Our second native species to flower this year, Dactylorhiza fuchsii is one of the most common, wide spread orchids in the UK. The plant has a tuberous habit, the spotted leaves emerge around March every year the flower spikes are present from about mid may. Once the first flowers open the rest open in quick succession and form a very nice spray within weeks. The plant pictured is growing in my garden at home and has been for the last few years. I recieved the plant about five years ago and moved it to where it is now where this year it produced six flower spikes.