Masdevallia pandurilabia – 365 days of orchids – day 1141


This lovely little orchid is flowering again although we are about to cut all the flowers off, and divide the plant as it has outgrown its basket. We find that Masdevallias grow very actively during February, March and April and so now is the perfect time to divide plants. The active growth over the next few months will ensure that plants establish quickly, get new roots into fresh compost, and not suffer a setback.

Today we have already split Masdevallia coccinea ‘Writhlington’ (below) into 12 plants and these should be for sale and flowering at the Malvern Show in July, for all of those who have been asking every year if we have any divisions for sale 🙂

Back to Masdevallia pandurilabia, it is a small growing species native to Peru. Masdevallia pandurilabia grows in cloud forest above 2600m altitude and loves it cool and moist with good air movement. Some species from similar habitats are a challenge to grow well in a greenhouse, but this species seems to be a vigorous grower and as you can see from the photo on the left produces lovely glossy leaves too. We grow this species in baskets of bark and moss and give it a minimum of 10C.

The flowers are produced in some abundance on long flower spikes and have dramatic spotting and crossed legs (tails). Despite the unusual spots and crossed legs the species gets its name from its lute shaped lip (its actually rather small so a teeny weeny lute). Plants of this will also be for sale at Malvern.



Schoenorchis juncifolia – 365 days of orchids – day 1140


Diversity has always been at the heart of the orchid project and here is a species from a diverse and interesting genus. This pretty orchid flowers several times each year from its long pendulous stems and was last in flower in February. The species is native to Java and Borneo and in the wild it is found at around 1000m altitude. We find that the species is tolerates a wide range of temperatures and it grows well both in Cool Americas (minimum 12C) or in Warm Asia (minimum 16C).

We grow plants in baskets and let the stems hang downwards. Plants seem to enjoy regular watering and we spray them daily.

Schoenorchis is an interesting genus related to Vanda that includes some very small species such as Scoenorchis fragrans as well as large growing plants such as todays orchid of the day.


Calanthe vestitia – 365 days of orchids – day 1139

 Another sign of spring today with Calanthe vestita opening.. This species is a terrestrial found across South East Asia, form sea level up to 1000m, and requires a really dry winter rest after the leaves have turned brown and dropped. We put plants up on the electrical control box in the classroom section to make sure it is not watered by mistake. During the summer we keep plants wet and warm in Warm Asia.

The species was loved by the Victorians as it flowered with no leaves and so was tolerant of being brought into dry conditions in the parlour.

We grow plants in pots and repot every year as new growth commences though we are careful not to water too heavily until plants new growths are well established. We have found the species easy to raise from seed.


Coelogyne multiflora – 365 days of orchids – day 1139


Coelogyne multiflora from the island of Sulawesi just east of Borneo is one of our large, warm growing Coelogynes. The broad leaves are 70cm long but conveniently upright and the dramatic flower spikes form from the centre of new growths in the early spring. This year we have four spikes each with around 300-400 of the white, yellow and orange flowers. Multiflora is certainly an excellent name.

We grow the plant in Warm Asia with a minimum of 17C which will be similar to the natural habitat in lower montain forests at around 1200m altitude. It is reported as growing on fallen tree trunks and we grow it in a large pot where we keep it damp all year and well shaded from direct sun.

Relatively few orchid species live on fallen dead trees but those that do, appreciate additional feed to replicate the relatively nutrient rich environment they are evolved to suit. It is worth giving this species additional feed when in growth to build large bulbs that flower well the following year.

The species is very scented but it is not the most attractive of scents to my nose – a little musty.


Cuitlauziana pulchella – 365 days of orchids – day 1138 (Osmoglossum pulchellum, Odontoglossum pulchellum)



This lovely species has both beautiful flowers and a gorgeous scent. It even makes it into my personal top 10 species!

This exquisite and sweetly scented species species from Mexico and Central America is a cool growing species found in high altitude cool mossy forests from 1200 to 2600m and so we grow plants in our Cool Americas section, shaded and watered throughout the year.

The scent is reminiscent of almonds and is very popular amongst the noses of Orchid Project students. The flowers are long lasting is they are not water damaged which is unusual for such a scented flower and a plant which is diverting valuable resources to producing fragrance oils. The flower stems are thin and flattened, and over time they become attractively arching and we avoid the widespread habit of fighting the graceful habit by enforcing vertical spikes with canes and ties.

We grow the species amongst our masdevallias (with which it shares its habitat) in our Cool Americas section with a minimum of 12C and lots of water throughout the year. It does particularly well in baskets. I first grew this species as a boy (45 years ago) and it is a species I wouldn’t be without.

The name Cuitlauziana pulchella reflects recent molecular studies into the Oncidium family and this species started life in the Orchid Project as Odontoglossum pulchellum and then Osmoglossum pulchellum before taking on its current name. Either way, ‘pulchellus’ is latin for ‘pretty’ which is a great choice for this pretty little orchid.