Many Dendrobiums flower at the end of the dry season, before their summer wet season growth. With sun streaming into the greenhouse this week we are rushing into that summer wet season.
Dendrobium moschatum is a warm growing dendrobium speices from the Himalayas through to South east Asia. We have seen plants growing in the hot valleys of Sikkim where we found it growing high in semi-deciduous trees. We also found it in the Lao city of Luang Prabang where it was abundant in trees along the river Mekong.
The species has vary variable flowers both in colour and shape. The Sikkim plants had very large yellow flowers while in Luang Prabang the flowers were smaller but pink. Our plants have bright orange flowers and the cupped lip characteristic of the species.
We grow plants in baskets hung high in Warm Asia during the summer but moved to the cooler conditions of Cool Americas during the winter to stimulate flowering.
Even after 1619 days of posting a flowering orchid from our collection we find orchids that are new to 365 days. It is a treat to introduce you to this glorious Coelogyne species with deep copper coloured flowers.
Coelogyne odoardoi is another warm growing species native to the warm forests of Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah) that we explored during our expeditions to Sarawak in 2019. The species is found at elevations from 200 to 900m and the forests here have large evergreen trees providing warm semi shaded conditions for species like Coelogyne odoardoi on the broad trunks and lower branches.
To provide similar conditions in cultivation we grow the species in shade in our Warm Asia section (Min 17C) and provide water throughout the year as the habitat does not have a very marked dry season.
We have some real ‘best in show’ orchids out this week and one of them is this wonderful blue flowered Dendrobium species.
Dendrobium victoria-regina is a cool growing epiphyte, native to the Philippines where it grows on moss covered trees in consistent moisture all year round and good air movement. It is a free flowering species, but the peak of its flowering seems to be in June when it produces the first flush. The flowers are held normally in clusters of 3-4 but we have known our plants to produce up to 7 on its very short spikes. The flowers of this species are famous for being blue but the quality of the blue does vary. We have two different plants of very different flower colour. The smaller of our plants (below) produces flowers of quite a dark blue (below). The larger of our two plants (above) is the most vigorous and floriferous clone and is a much lighter blue.
The plants grow in the side of a moss covered baskets where they are kept wet all year and hang in Cool Asia (min 10C). This potting method was developed by Jacob and certainly seems the way to grow this orchid to perfection.
We have several thousands of seedlings growing in our propagation lab that are the result of crossing the light and dark blue clones. They will be available in around six months time.
I have returned from a quick trip to Lundy Island and found this wonderful miniature member of the Vanda family (previously known as Acosentrum christonsonianum) in full flower.
Vanda christonsoniana is native to Vietnam where it grows in seasonally dry forest from sea level to 700m altitude. We have explored similar habitat in Laos and this forest is deciduous and semi-deciduous meaning this orchid has adapted to cope with bright light and dry periods. The leaves are almost terete and turn a red/purple colour when enjoying good light.
The sweet little flowers are on short spikes and are butterfly pollinated with a long spur. The plant here is in a 1/3litre basket which we find ideal for growing lots of miniature orchids.
Maxillaria meleagris is a lovely little floriferous orchid species. The species is native to cool forests in Mexico and Guatemala from 1500-2400m but we find that it is equally at home in both our Cool Americas and our Warm Americas section. We keep plants watered all year and find they enjoy shade and are very happy growing on benches under some of our hanging plants (such as Cattleyas) that like higher light levels.
We have found that several of our orchid growing friends find plants from this group of Maxillarias are well suited to windowsill culture, so perhaps this is a species to add to your wish list.