I have just finished preparing plants for our Glasgow Orchid Fair sales table and am delighted to have 103 species on our sales list. Thanks again must go to my wonderful team of students and volunteers for all their hard work propagating plants in the lab and the greenhouse.
Some orchids, such as this species, are very straight forward to grow and always flower reliably.
This large growing Oncidium species is native to Central America where it is found as an epiphyte in dryish forest from about 500 to 1500m altitude. The plant grows new growths rapidly during the summer and then long spikes from the new pseudobulbs in the spring. Each metre long flower spike with side branches carries up to fifty bright and long lasting flowers.
We have seen the closely related species Oncidium spaculatum growing high in trees around Laguna Yaxha in Guatemala where they are exposed to bright sunshine and long dry periods. They cope with these tough conditions by growing a mass of roots which can collect and store a lot of water from rain or dew when it occurs. As a result plants are easy in cultivation and we have had specimen plants with more than twenty flower spikes. Oncidium wentworthianum is smaller growing than Oncidium sphaculatum and has smaller spikes and so is all around easier to accommodate in a collection.
We grow this species in Warm Americas (Min 15C) where it gets well watered in summer but a dryer winter after the bulbs have matured in late November. However we never let the bulbs shrivel.
The Easter holiday is shading time for our greenhouses at home. The larger greenhouse (left) is our cool house which gets external shading and the hot house (right) has internal shading, all in 50% shade net.
You will see that the sides of the cool greenhouse are permanently shaded by withy fence panels and that I have wooded bars above my lean too greenhouse allowing me to put shading well clear of the roof and vents. External shading is perfect for reducing summer temperatures in the greenhouse but I am aware that not every one has a tall ancient wall to build their greenhouse against. (This wall is from the former garden wall of a big house and our small garden was where the old glasshouses for vines were built)
Fixing the shading requires climbing onto the wall and using drawing pins to fix the shading onto the wooden bars – there is a lovely view from up there – and the shading has already lasted for twelve years.
The hot house has some natural shade from a field maple and internal shading is easier to do when keeping temperatures low is not so important.
After a short break in flowering our specimen Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi is again erupting in flowers from its six active flower spikes.
Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi is almost always in flower with its successive flowers produces from branched flattened flower stems, and the flower stems can flower for several years. This is great for interest in the greenhouse but you need a specimen like our plant here with several spikes to get a lot of flowers at once.
The species is found in Malaysia and the Philippines and lives in deep shade in lowland hot forests. We grow the species in our warm Asia section with a minimum of 17C though it would appreciate a little more heat in the winter when our plants tend to take a little rest from growing.
Phalaenoipsis cornu-cervi is a very variable species and the clone flowering in the greenhouse is at the redder end of the range and has wider than average petals. A more common form is the striped yellow and red flowers of the plant we found in Sarawak during our 2019 visit (below)
All of the clones are beautiful, and with plants being compact growers too, this is a wonderful species to grow.
The warm Easter weekend is bringing out the fragrance in our orchids and the sweet fragrance of Tricholglottis rosea is filling our Warm Asia Section.
Trichoglottis rosea is the largest of our Trichoglottis species with alternate leaves along a thick stem, it has long lasting fragrant flowers, unusual in that they are produced in profusion and much smaller than other trichoglottis.
Trichoglottis rosea is native to the Phillipines and Taiwan where it grows in lowland forest. This habitat is much cooler than the Borneo home of Trichoglottis smithii and so we grow Trichoglottis rosea in our Cool Americas section (min 12C).
The plant seems to prefer to grow pendulously and so we grow it both mounted and in baskets.