Stelis emarginata – 365 days of orchids – day 1917

Here is another of our Glasgow show species.


Stelis emarginata makes a wonderful floriferous plant in a 6cm pot (above) or a small basket (top) and is a star of the greenhouse every April.

Some plants seem to change their name more than others. We first purchased this species in the 1990’s as Pleurothallis tubata before changing it to Physosiphon tubatus to reflect changes in Pleurothallis, before changing it back to Pleurothallis tubata, then finally changing it to Stelis emarginata.

What ever its name it is a fantastic small growing orchid that does well in pots, mounted or in baskets, producing masses of small orange or yellow flowers that cover the plant. The leaves are stiff and rather spoon shaped, lasting many years and producing fresh flower spikes when ever the plant comes into bloom.

Stelis seems to fit it well but it is a tougher plant that many of the Stelis species we grow so a great addition to any collection. We grow it in Cool Americas where the orange clone flowers in April and the yellow clone flowers in May. It is native to central America and is found from 1800 to 3500m altitude indicating that it could grow cooler or warmer than we grow it.


Miltonia spectabilis – 365 days of orchids – day 1916

This is the first time we have features this Brazilian orchid on 365 days of orchids.

Miltonia spectabilis is a warm growing species from the Mata Atlantica in Eastern Brazil – a habitat we explored in our school expeditions top Brazil in 2000 and 2006. The species is found at around 800m altitude where the open forest experiences frequent rainfall interspersed with dryer periods especially in the winter.  Temperatures are warm and the habitat is shared by Cattleya species and several other orchids we grow in our collection.

We replicate the natural habitat by growing the species in a basket hung in our warm Americas Section (min 15C) where it receives good light but is shaded in the summer. We water frequently but the basket filled with large bark dries out quickly between waterings. This regime encourages extensive rooting.

The flowers are long lasting and large (10cm top to toe) and plants quickly form large specimens although their nature is a little straggly.


Odontoglossum cristatum (Oncidium cristatum)- 365 days of orchids – day 1915

Today we have to feature our prize winning Odontoglossum cristatum. (Photographed here in Glasgow yesterday)

This wonderful orchid has been in flower since January and with 15 flower spikes will still be in flower at the end of May.


We have had this species at Writhlington since 1996 and it is always a special time when plants come into flower. Over the years it has won  Grand Champion of Europe at the Paris Show in 2018, a Cultural Certificate from the RHS and countless rosettes. The clone ‘Writhlington is a particularly large flowered and long spiked individual with deep red flowers. We have other clones too that are smaller growing and have brown flowers.

 Grand Champion in Paris

Odontoglossum cristatum is native to Ecuador and Colombia where it is found in cloud forest from 1500-2600 m altitude and so it is very well suited to growing in our Cool Americas section. I have always known this plant as Odontoglossum cristatum but odontoglossum species have been included in Oncidium on the basis of molecular studies although there is scientific support for reinstating Odontoglossum.

Our plants go back to a seedling purchased in 1996 and since then we have grown the species in pots, mounted and in baskets. We find that the species particularly enjoys a basket where it produces masses of roots and can grow into a specimen.


Dendrobium victoria-regina – 365 days of orchids – day 1914

It was fantastic to meet so many enthusiastic orchid growers at the show yesterday. We hope that those of you who are new to our website will enjoy following our daily orchid in 365 days of orchids. As you will notice we are on day number 1914 which is more that 5 years of an orchid species (in flower in our glasshouses) every day. (all the posts are still on the site if you would like to browse)

An orchid on our Galsgow display that caused a lot of interest yesterday was our Dendrobium victoria-regina with its deep blue flowers from leafless pseudobulbs. We have seedlings from this plant (crossed with a lighter blue form) in our lab and can’t wait to have them available for the people who want them.

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. 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).