This charming orchid is native to Borneo and Sumatra and one we came across in our recent visits to Sarawak in 2019. The species is found in swamp forest and hill forests up to 1300m altitude and we found it growing in quite deep shade in coastal forest..
The plant has semi-pendulous stems with alternate 4cm leaves and the long lasting flowers appear from leaf axils towards the ends of growing stems. Over time the plant develops into a mass of growths and has the potential to become an amazing specimen if we grow it well. See vigorous new growths and roots below.
We grow the species in a small basket in Warm Asia (min 17C) where it seems happiest in a shaded spot.
We are really pleased with the response to our online shop and we are getting to know the local post office staff rather well – 12 boxes posted today and we have sold 100 plants since opening on 20th April – thanks again for all the helpful feedback.
We are adding more orchids in bud including some Prosthechea radiata plants (above) that we have seen amongst the Mayan Ruins of Guatemala, and a Masdevallia rolfeana (below) that reminds us of the cool forests of Costa Rica.
This dramatic fragrant monster orchid is flowering again – about a month earlier than usual this year – and reminding me of our wonderful expeditions to Sarawak in 2019 where we saw this species in number of the forests reserves near Kuching.
We have had our plant of Aerides odorata since 1996 and in the past 25 years it has grown to massive proportions. Aerides odorata ‘Writhlington’ has won two CCCs (Cultural Certificates from the RHS and must be one of Europe’s largest vandaceous plants at 2.5m high and 2m across and over 50 flower spikes.
We have seen the species in Borneo and the Himalayas showing the extensive natural range of the species. In Borneo we found the species flowering at the foot of Mount Pueh (below) where a pale yellow and pink form was growing on the trunks of trees in open forest,
and one of The highlights of the trek up Mount Singai was the a lovely white and yellow form of Aerides odorata(below) where plants were growing in shade amongst tall trees at 100m altitude. The first photo shows one of several flowering plants with the characteristic long curved spur.
In cultivation our plant enjoys our Warm Asia section (min 17C) with water year round but more in the summer.
Guarianthe skinneri is national flower of Costa Rica and a species we have seen growing in tall trees in open forests around 800m with plants on the tops of thick branches in very exposed positions in strong sunshine. It is a very regular late April flowering species and it always reminds me of our fantastic visits to Costa Rica in 2003 and 2007.
We have two fantastic clones flowering in the Greenhouse. The first is var. occulata alba – this is the one with white flowers apart from the purple circle in the lip and a little yellow on the lip too. The second is often called var albescens and is almost pure white except for the faintest pink blush to the end of the lip and yellow in the centre of the lip.
In Costa Rica the species is known as guaria morada and when DNA evidence suggested that it should be moved from the genus Cattleya a new genus was created that reflected the Costa Rican name. (This was thanks to US botanist Bob Dressler who I have had the pleasure or working with in Costa Rica).
Anyway, the species is is fantastic which ever name especially in these lovely almost white clones (the usual colour is predominantly pink).
We replicate natural conditions by growing plants in baskets hung high in Warm Americas where they get lots of light and dry out between waterings although plants enjoy lots of water when in growth in the summer months but much dryer winters.
We are really missing the shows that we would usually be going to at this time of the year. Early May is usually time for the Devon Orchid Show and we would like to send our best wishes to all our friends in the Devon Orchid Society. If the show was on this week then pride of place on our display would have to go to our Dendrobium victoria-regina that is exceeding its usual magnificent display this year.
This wonderful blue flowered Dendrobium species 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 produces flowers of quite a dark blue (below). The larger of our two plants 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 many 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 twelve months time.