Cymbidium lowianum – 365 days of orchids – day 1906

We have had lots of lovely Cymbidium species flowering since the autumn and Cymbidium lowianum is always the last of our spring flowering species to bloom.

Cymbidium lowianum is native to Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and China where it grows as an epiphyte in cool montane forest. Cymbidium lowianum grows into a very large plant and has lovely large pseudobulbs, long thick leaves and very long arching flower spikes that naturally grow out to the side of the plant. We are keen to show off the natural grace of these flower spikes and so do not stake them – though that does have issues for space. Our challenge this week will be to find a way to get it and its arching spike to Glasgow for the Botanic Garden Orchid Fair in a weeks time.

Lowianum has been used extensively in Cymbidium breeding and the red V on the lip is a dominant feature that can be seen in many hybrids.

We grow Cymbidium lowianum with our other Cymbidiums in our Cool Asia section (minimum 10C)




Porroglossum meridionale – 365 days of orchids – day 1905

This spectacular miniature species has large red/pink flowers on thin stems. We have a suspicion that it enjoys travel as the last time it was flowering for a show was the European Orchid Show in Paris 2018 where it won 2nd best Pleurothallidinae species (below), and now it is flowering just in time to travel to Glasgow next week for the Glasgow Orchid Fair.

Porroglossum meridionale is a free flowering miniature native to Ecuador and Peru where it is found from 1400-1800m. With us the plant is slow growing but flowers are very long lasting and they repeat flower from the same flower stems so the species is invariably in flower.

The has stiff glaucous leaves which suggest a natural habitat with good light and not the constant damp needed for some South American miniatures but we find that the plant resents drying out for any length of time (see moss naturally growing on the mount).


Abdominea minimiflora – 365 days of orchids – day 1904

Another April regular in our collection is Abdominea minimiflora.

Minimiflora means ‘tiny flowered’ and this species lives up to its name. The species is found in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines and grows as an epiphyte (on trees) or a lithophyte (on rocks) in hot lowland rainforest. This is habitat that we have explored extensively in Sarawak where there is a great diversity of tiny orchids that we often found low in the forest on trunks and lower branches where the shade gives protection from extreme drying by the hot sun in dry periods. There is rainfall throughout the year and so we spray this species daily but in our Warm Asia section (Min 17C) it dries out quite quickly after watering. The species is related to Vanda and so has no pseudobulbs, and uses its thick roots as water storage.

The long lasting tiny flowers are about 1mm across with many produced in succession on a pendulous spikes up to 10cm long. The span across the leaves is just 5cm but our plant seems determined to become a specimen against the odds and is developing additional growths and so eventually for a clump. The plant produces lots of roots when grown mounted and we hang it high in our Warm Asia section where it gets a daily watering from the hose.


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Dendrobium harveyanum – 365 days of orchids – day 1903

Dendrobium is a wonderful genus with so many remarkable species. One of the more dramatic species Dendrobium harveyanum. This wonderful dendrobium is native to Southern China and South East Asia where it grows as an epiphyte at around 1100-1700m in seasonally dry forest.

Dendrobium harveyanum is semi deciduous and flowers from new and old pseudobulbs together in a fantastic display of its intricate flowers with long filamented edges to the lip and petals. The flowers are produced in sprays similar to the closely related Dendrobium fimbriatum.

Books recommend a cool winter rest for the species and we keep the plant into Warm Asia (min 18C) when in growth and move it to Cool Asia for a rest when the growths are fully mature in late autumn. The cool rest then initiates an abundant flowering in late spring (April or May usually)

When we have kept the plant in Warm Asia throughout the year the flowering has been rather sparse in comparison.

We find the plant enjoys growing in a basket but kept really wet when in active growth.

The flowers are sweetly fragrant and last about a week.


Vanda pumila – 365 days of orchids – day 1902

Our fourth Vanda in a row is Vanda pumila, a small growing species with very long lasting fragrant waxy flowers.

We have seen Vanda pumila in Sikkim, growing on roadside trees at around 300-500m altitude alongside Vanda ampulacea. It grows in exposed positions in good light and survives the dry season (winter) with its thick leaves and abundant fleshy roots. The climate is hot wet summers with dryer, cooler winters and we replicate this by moving the species  around the greenhouse with the seasons. (see our culture page on growing warm asian orchids for more details)

It enjoys warm conditions and we grow it with a minimum of 20C though it can take a little cooler in the winter.

The flowers have just opened and are a green/yellow with red markings, but the flowers will soon fade to a cream colour as shown by last year’s flower (below) on the same plant.