It may only be January 29th but it is definitely spring in the greenhouse with several spring species bursting into flower this week. Coelogyne flaccida flowers all the way through to April but we already have its lovely and fragrant flowers in our Cool Asia section.
We have seen this attractive Coelogyne on our travels to Sikkim in the Himalayas and have found it at around 1200m to 1500m altitude, growing both as an epiphyte in trees and as a lithophyte on steep rocky roadside slopes.
Coelogyne flaccida in Sikkim
In both habitats it receives very wet summers but dryer cool winter periods. The flowers are intensely fragrant with a scent that reminds me of honey one plant in flower soon fills the Cool Asia section with its scent.
As you can see the flower spikes are very pendulous and so growing the plant in a basket works well so that it can be hung up when in flower. It is a good idea to water very little when in flower as the flowers are damaged by water and of course it flowers in the dry season in Sikkim when the flowers can last for several weeks in good condition.
We also saw several cultivated plants in Sikkim showing what a plant can develop into.
Happy spring time.
We have a really graceful orchid this morning. Stelis purpurea has small creamy flowers with a picotee edge of red which is very attractive on the buds and the flowers. The name however suggests that the flowers should be dark red or purple!
Our plant came from the nursery Ecuagenera and their website shows the species growing as a terrestrial in presumably good light as the plant has much redder flowers as the picotee edge is much more marked. (below)
The grassland habitat explains the long graceful flower spikes that are sometime branched.
The species is quite large for a stelis with flower spikes 40cm long and these give a real impact.
Stelis purpurea is reported as being found from Costa Rica to Peru and from 150m-2900m which sounds rather unlikely as this is a very broad range of habitats. It seems probable that the name is used for more than one species with purplish flowers but our version of the species is a lovely thing.
Restrepia radulifera is flowering again. This is one of our largest flowered Restrepia species with 5cm flowers and the most startling deep red/pink synsepal (the fused lateral sepals that form the main part of restrepia flowers).
Like most of our restrepias this species flowers on and off throughout the year. The individual flowers last about a week but a new flush has takes over as flowers fade.
Restrepia radulifera is native to Venezuelan cloud forests at around 2500m altitude and so cool damp and shady are the culture requirements. We grow the species mounted, in baskets and in pots. Restrepia species are very variable in colouring especially as this is produced by spots and stripes and so a fantastic diverse little collection can be housed in a tiny space and we know several of our regular customers who succeed very well with restrepias indoors or in terrariums.
This is a dramatic cool growing Mexican species. Previously identified as Oncidium tigrinum.
As you can see from the photo above the species produces very long branched spikes(this one is 2.5m long)with large flowers spread quite sparsely. The delicious sulfur yellow lip is really striking even when it is high above you in the roof of the greenhouse.The species is found from 1600 to 2500m in cool oak forests which experience much wetter summers than winters but we find plants don’t appreciate dying out to much in the winter although good drainage in a basket seems to suit them best. We grow the species in a basket in cool Americas.
The spikes are pretty much self supporting and we like to let them arch naturally.
This small growing species is new to 365 days of Orchids. The charming little flowers are produced in groups from short spikes on the plants which grows like a very small Vanda.
We have seen Gastrochilus calceolaris flowering in Sikkim at Tinkitam where is grows amongst Cymbidium devonianum and Coelogyne cristata as an epiphyte in large mossy trees at 2000m. It is actually found across a really wide range from the Himalayas through South East Asia, the Philippines and Borneo, and from 230m in warm forests to 2300m and cool forest. We grow our plant in our warm Asia section where it seems very happy in shade and watered all year, but in a basket of open compost as it seems to resent getting soggy.