Pleurothallis grobyi ‘tiny’ – 365 days of orchids – day 1357

Pleurothallis grobyi is one of our true miniatures and this is a particularly small form of the species, hence the varietal name.

Pleurothallis grobyi is a species recorded from as far North as Mexico and as far south as Peru and Brazil. This tiny clone we have here in cultivation originates from Ecuador but we have seen different forms of the species in Brazil, Belize and Guatemala. We have  found the species in both mountain cloud forest and shaded spots in hot lowland forest and so this is a very variable species or possibly one that should be spilt into several separate species.

The diversity is shown by some of the plants we found growing in Brazilian cloud forests around Macae de Cima in 2005. These included dark yellow striped forms, creamy forms and white forms.

All of the plants we found in Brazil were growing in primary forest in shade with abundant moss growing around them suggesting that plants appreciate being grown wet and shaded in cultivation. We grow plants mounted on cork, in baskets and in pots and they succeed grown all of these ways with daily watering in Cool Americas.The picture below shows Callum Swift with a plant he found on a fallen branch that shows the conditions the plant grows in perfectly.

The plants we have found in lowland forests in Guatemala and Belize are restricted to mossy patches on dead fallen trees and branches and so are growing heavily shaded and much damper that the surrounding forest. The plants here also had shorter rounder leaves and white and pink flowers. (Below)

We grow the species mounted (see top) and in pots (below)

Plants seem to de equally well as long as they are kept well watered and shaded. plants eventually make great miniature specimens (below) We put some of our plants in 5.5 cm pots onto our online shop yesterday if you are interested in starting your own collection of Pleurothallis grobyi.


Three new orchids available at the online shop

Now that we are back at school we are starting to update the online shop with our propagated plants that are established and ready to go. Three new ones today:

Pleurothallis grobyi ‘tiny’ a real miniature

Ornithophora radicans, a rewarding small species from Brazil and …

Maxillaria tenuifolia a species we have seen in the lowland forests of Guatemala.


Masdevallia barlaeana – 365 days of orchids – day 1355

This intense red masdevallia flowers on long flower spikes perfectly presented for its hummingbird pollinators.

Masdevallia barlaeana is found from Colombia to Peru at high altitude (2200-3100m) as a lithophyte on rocky slopes – a similar habitat as that of Masdevallia veitchiana. The species is smaller growing and smaller flowered than its close relative Masdevallia coccinea but is a rewarding species to grow. We find that to reflect the natural habitat plants grow best cool but bright – which can be tricky in the summer – but the species is well worth the challenge.

The plant shown is growing mounted but the plant also does well in pots and the plant below in a 5.5cm pot shows off the smaller dimensions of the plant compared to Masdevallia coccinea.

We have recently propagated plants of this lovely species and they will appear on the shop later this month (when we have settled into our new hectic Covid safe term)


Aerangis mystacidii – 365 days of orchids – day 1354

This species is one of my most successful indoor plants and has flowered every year for the past four years. It is in the morning sun today on its shelf 1m from and facing our east facing bifold doors.

The plant here is growing on a cork mount that I sit in a ceramic dish. I water by spraying the roots most days with rain water/feed (I fill my sprayer from the greenhouse tank which has rain water and weak feed in it) So when I am asked “Is it possible to grow mounted orchids in a house?” the answer is yes. We also have plants mounted in the greenhouse where we find the species one of the easier Aerangis species to grow. We grow them in shade in Warm Asia though they will grow cooler.

Aerangis mystacidii is endemic to South Africa growing in forest along rivers in dryer areas and in evergreen forests in wetter areas. We have seen related species flourishing in woodland just north of Durban (see photo below) during our visit in 2011.

The photo shows several species, probably Mystacidium capense, Mystacidium venosum and Microcoelia obovata, growing together on a small branch in semi-evergreen coastal forest.

The natural habitat suggests that the Aerangis mystacidii will enjoy shaded conditions with very good drainage but some water throughout the year.

Aerangis are easy orchids to grow on from seedlings and we have seed from the plant shown de-flasked in the greenhouse so more plants will be up on the shop soon, along with a couple of other aerangis species.


Stanhopea wardii var aurea – 365 days of orchids – day 1352

This large growing Stanhopea species is one of our most impressive species when in flower with 70cm long flower spikes carrying lots of large very fragrant flowers.

The species is native to Central America down to Colombia and Venezuela  growing in wet forests from 800 to 2700m. As you can see the plant is large with leaves 1m long from large bulbs and we grow plants in large baskets with daily watering to keep plants damp all year round. The flower spikes grow vertically downward from the newer bulbs. The flowers have a strong pleasant smell which, to me, brings to mind white chocolate flavoured furniture polish – not that that exists!

The flowers only last a few days but we love the ephemeral wonder of a really grand stanhopea.