This unusual little species is found in riverine forests in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia from 1300-2350m altitude and so is a coolish growing species adapted for a relatively dry but humid environment.
We grow the species in Cool Americas (Min 12C) hanging on a long wire hook attached to the twig it once lived on! The plant lives up to its name and grows vertically with masses of roots and pretty little flowers along the climbing stem. It seems quite happy growing up its wire and it will be interesting to see how far it will grow.
We divided our large plant of Dracula amaliae about twelve months ago and it is pleasing to see plants flowering (five spikes on this plant) and growing strongly. The photos below show the plant before division.
This Dracula species is native to cloud forests in Colombia at around 1800m altitude. As with most Draculas it is pollinated by fungus gnats and attracts them with a fake mushroom shaped lip. This also give the ‘Monkey Face’ look shared by a number of species.
We grow the plant in Cool Americas but find we need to give a few Dracula specific conditions for the plant to flourish. Firstly it needs to be grown in a basket (as you can see here) as many of the flowers grow downwards from the base of the leaves. Secondly it enjoys being very damp and heavily shaded. We find that the easy way to provide these conditions is to hang the dracula’s basket below another plant in a basket providing shade and added moisture. The level of moisture is shown by the natural growth of moss on the basket.
The final requirement is to avoid high temperatures which cause brown patches on the leaves and leaf drop. This is also helped by hanging below another plant as the dracula is at around waist height and not it the warmer air near the top of the greenhouse.
This all sounds quite complicated but as you can see the plant grows very happily when it likes its spot and we have twenty flowers or buds on the plant this morning.
In Sarawak we saw Grammatophyllum speciosum growing in Mulu National Park and this related species is also found in Sarawak.
Grammatophyllum scriptum is a large growing species with a wide natural range including Borneo, the Lesser Sunda Islands, the Moluccas, The Philippines, Sulawesi, the Solomon Islands, the Bismark Archipelago, Papua and New Guinea, Fiji and Santa Cruz Islands. The species is restricted to areas near the coast up to 100m and so enjoys a hot climate and bright light.
We do our best to replicate the natural habitat by growing plants high in Warm Asia (Min 17C) but the species would enjoy higher temperatures and we keep plants drying in the winter to avoid damage on cooler nights.
The flower spike this year is well over 1m long with around 150 flowers each 4cm across and it makes a terrific sight.
Another species that is enjoying the wet summer and flowering more than usual is this small growing species.
Masdevallia pachyura is a multi-flowered species found in cloud forests from 1000 to 3000m in Ecuador and Peru. As could be expected from its range it is a variable species but all have pretty little flowers and in our experience the species is straight forward in cultivation and multiplies relatively quickly.
This variety is named ‘caudas orange’ and is from the Ecuagenera nursery in Ecuador and the deep orange lip contrasts beautifully with the yellow tails on the sepals.
The species does well in pots and baskets and we keep it watered well throughout the year in Cool Americas.
Congratulations to Jess for her very successful talk yesterday evening.