Pleurothallis pellucida – 365 days of orchids – day 1474

Pleurothallis pellucida is native to Ecuador where it grows it scrub forest at around 3000m where it will experience cool misty conditions. We find that the species is a rewarding and straight forward species is kept well watered and shaded in the summer. The species in notable for its elegant stems and leaves to about 40cm that each winter develop long slender spikes of up to 50 closely packed 3mm flowers. The species is named for its ‘transparent’ flowers but they do have a delicate yellow to them and they contrast well against the dark green leaves.

Regulars will note that we have a number of taller pleutothallis species similar to this Pleurothallis that we find rewarding, free flowering and an great addition to our collection. It has been interesting talking to orchid growers, at shows, from warmer climates than the UK (growers from Italy, Spain, Borneo) who are rather envious of the ease with which we can grow these cool mountain orchids in the UK – Remember that when you go for a walk in the freezing weather today!



Bulbophyllum stormii – 365 days of orchids – day 1473

No diverse week of orchids would be complete without a bulbophyllum and this species is a real crowd pleaser.

Bulbophyllum stormii is native to Malaysia and is found from 1000-2000m altitude and we find that it enjoys warm shady conditions in our Warm Asia section (min 17C)

Flowers are 4cm across and very large relative to the size of the plant with its single 2cm leaves and tiny pseudobulbs. We grow the species mounted and it scrambles around forming a mat or ball of plant over time. This species is attractive when not in flower because of the grey green soft leaves.

We showed how we mount plants like this in a previous post here if you are interested.



Ludisia discolor – 365 days of orchids – day 1472

England enters a new full lockdown today but our orchids seem oblivious and rather than hiding away are flamboyantly showing off their flowers – a real tonic in tough times. Saying that, todays orchid is grown more for its attractive leaves than its flowers.

Most of the orchids we grow at school are epiphytes (grow on trees) but this Jewel orchid is a terrestrial (grows in the ground) and is quite commonly available. Jewel orchids include a large number of terrestrial orchids prized for their patterned leaves although several, like this species, have attractive flowers too.

Ludisia discolor is native to evergreen lowland forests across South East Asia and is reported from 70-1100m in shaded damp situations in leaf litter (growing in the ground often does not mean growing in soil). As a result plants prefer warm shaded conditions and plenty of water. We have seen advice to grow plants in potting compost but we use our standard bark mix with a little sphagnum moss. The secret to good growth is finding a really dark spot and for our plants this is on a north facing wall where plants get virtually no direct sunlight at all.

Several jewel orchids are threatened by unsustainable collection for horticulture so sources should be checked carefully but Ludisia discolor is very easy from seed in the lab and plants in cultivation in the uk are seed raised.


Cattleya percivaliana – 365 days of orchids – day 1471

We have another Cattleya today but unlike yesterday’s miniature Cattleya percivaliana is a large and flamboyant species

Many of the uni-foliate (one leaved) Cattleya species look superficially similar but we find that one of the clearest distinctions is flowering time, and this species always flowers at the turning of the year. C. percivaliana is also identifiable by the single sheath, the short (15cm) flattened pseudobulbs, and by the unusual rather deep and markings on the lip.

Cattleya percivaliana is endemic to Venezuela where it is found as an epiphyte and on rocks from 1400-2000m altitude in good light. We grow the species in Warm Americas and hang plants in baskets above the door where plants produce copious roots that hang down from the basket.

This species was the feature on day 1 of 365 days of orchids and 1470 days later it looks equally sumptuous.