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.
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.