One of our coolest growing species today, a hardy species from China, Korea and Japan.- Bletilla striata can be grown as a garden plant but we keep in in our temperate section with a minimum of 6C.
We grow this species in pots in a terrestrail mix of soil based compost, composted bark and grit. The species becomes dormant in the winter when we stop watering unitl the spring when the new leaves emerge followed by the delicate flowers on thin stems.
May must be here because Coelogyne nitida is flowering. We have two distinct clones of this lovely orchid, Coelogyne nitida ‘limoniana’ (above) with a very light yellow blotch on the lip, and the more common variety with a golden yellow blotch (below)
This is a cool growing species that we have seen abundantly in Sikkim and in Arunachal Pradesh. In our experience it grows in evergreen and semi-evergreen forest from about 1000m up to 2500m mostly on the trunks and lower branches and often with moss and ferns, The photos below show the species flowering in late April near Tawang right in northern Arunachal pradesh.
The Cymbidium growing with the Coelogyne is Cymbidium elegans (an autumn flowering species I am sure we will feature in October)
In cultivation we replicate the species’ cool wet habitat and find it grows best with a minimum of 6C in our Warm Temperate zone and we water well throughout the year. This is a great species for a cool greenhouse, conservatory or a cool room in the house – I grow a lovely plant in my East facing bathroom window.
We have just offered Coelogyne nitida plants, in bud, on our shop.
Thanks again to all those buying our orchids online – and thanks for your helpful feedback. We are not currently offering plants in flower as we haven’t worked our how we could send them without damaging the flowers in transit. However we have realised, after some trial postings to ourselves, that many species are ideally suited for selling in bud or in spike. We will offer these for a short period and highlight them for anyone who needs a plant for a present or, like most of us, want to see their orchid flower as soon as possible.
In response to lots of requests for compost from our online customers we now sell our version of orchid bark in our shop. After thirty years of experimenting we use a simple compost of course pine bark for all our tropical orchids. We buy in the bark and give it an extra sieve to remove the dusts and fine particles that could block drainage and affect root growth. We are selling our bark in 8 litre waxed paper bags. We have gone for 8 litres (price £6) as it is just under 2kg and so keeps the postage down to £3.10 a bag – order yours here.
Continuing our fragrant orchid theme for May we have an orchid who’s name says it all. Lycaste aromatica has a very pungent spicy aroma and flowers in profusion from its leafless bulbs every spring.
Lycaste aromatica is native to Mexico and Central America where it grows as an epiphyte of lithophyte in semi-deciduous forest. It uses its powerful scent to attract euglossine bees (perfume gathering bees) and in common with many plants adopting this strategy has fairly short lived flowers (a couple of weeks).
The native habitat experiences a marked dry season and so the species drops all its leaves in November and remains leafless until April or May. We reduce watering to almost none while there are no leaves but in the summer once growth is underway we water heavily to support the rapidly growing lush leaves. We find that having a couple of shelves in the greenhouse especially for orchids with reduced water is a very useful thing.
It suits our temperatures in Warm Americas with a winter minimum of 15C