Vanda falcata – 365 days of orchids – day 1970

Today we feature another of our award winners at last weekend’s show .

Vanda falcata  is a cool growing orchid from Japan with very fragrant flowers and we grow our plants in Cool Asia in baskets where we keep them wet in the summer and damp in the winter. For us the species flowers from June right through to September and and our large white clone is usually the last to open. We have had this plant growing in its 8cm basket for at least 20 years – not long compared to the centuries that the species has been grown in Japan where Vanda falcata is called Fūki-ran or ‘orchid of the rich and noble people’.

The long spur holds the nectar and the flowers are pollinated by moths. With the flowers so fragrant we not only encourage students not only to breath on the plants, but to have a good old sniff.

The clone here is unusual with a pink stem. The normal form is all pure white (below)




Pleurothallis sarracenia – 365 days of orchids – day 1969

Yesterday I mentioned that this little beauty won 2nd Pleurothallis here at the Malvern Show.

Pleurothallis sarracenia is a small growing species from the Mata Atlantica, Brazil with 1cm long leaves that hug the bark it grows on, and unusual dark purple flowers with just a tiny opening for the pollinating ant to enter the flower.

The species enjoys conditions in our Cool Americas section providing it grows high up and so keeps a little dryer than some of our Pleurothallis species.

We haven’t yet identified what the ants find attractive about the flower and have never seen a British ant visiting flowers so perhaps the reward is specific to the local Brazilian ants.


Awarded plants at the Malvern International Orchid Show

Lots of p[eople have been asking for plant details on our display so here are the award winners

1st Laeliniae – Cattleya purpurata ‘venosa’

1st Dendrobium – Dendrobium victoria regina

1st Phalaenopsis – Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi and 2nd Phalaenopsis – Phalaenopsis equestris

1st Pleurothallis – Scaphosepalum verrucosum, 2nd Pleurothallis – Pleurothallis sarracenia, Merit – Pleurothallis fulgens

2nd Vandae – Vanda falcata

All awards in ‘Trade Class’

Students were very impressed with the Best Amateur Display – Bournemouth – it even has a real boat, lobster pots and shells



Orchid project wins Best Trade Display Malvern International Orchid Show

Pupils are celebrating winning ‘Best Trade Display’ at this year’s Malvern International Orchid Show.

Congratulations to the ex-students who put together the wonderful display and all the students, staff and volunteers responsible for growing the plants.

Todays show team from Years 7, 9 and 12 have done a wonderful job presenting our orchids to the public and selling from the sales table.

The Malvern International Orchid Show continues tomorrow, with displays by Orchid Societies from across the UK and trade from across the world. We would love to see more of our orchid friends at the event – come up and say hello.


Dracula bella – 365 days of orchids – day 1968

We are on our way to the malvern show in the school mini bus (more photos later) but had time to water the greenhouse and find the dramatic flowers of Dracula bella to greet us.

We have a number of Dracula species in the school collection but this is the plant with the largest and most dramatic flowers. The species is native to dense cloud forests in Colombia and Ecuador at altitudes from 1700-2000m. We have seen other draculas growing in Costa Rica where we found plants restricted to wet mossy positions in low light. In common with most draculas, Dracula bella has strongly pendulous flower spikes and so basket culture is important, both to display plants, and to stop flowers becoming trapped in pots.

When mature the species makes fantastic specimens (below) but needs to be grown cool and wet to avoid heat stress in the summer.