365 days of orchids – day 356 – Pholidiota leveilleana

Researching 365 days of orchids has thrown up a few surprises and one has been this species. We have come across several Pholidota species (that are closely related to Coelogyne) in Loas, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Some species are small and attractive, others are large and straggly but all have been cool growing. As a result we have had Pholidota leveilleana growing in our Cool Asia section since we purchased it about five years ago. The plant has gown but not really flourished and this is not surprising as this species is actually a warmer growing lithophyte. The plant is native to Southern China and Vietnam where it grown on mossy rocks in deep shade from 800 to 1800m.

We have moved the plant to Warm Asia and it has responded with a flush of its small salmon/cream flowers.

Growing the plant cool and bright has produced red leaves and bulbs so it will be interesting to see how it does when it has spent a few year shady and warm.

We move our orchids around the greenhouses quite a bit. This is either because we are looking for a spot with the right conditions or giving a plant a seasonal rest. For example, we have been moving several of our Himalayan dendrobiums from Warm Asia to Cool Asia or Cool Americas for the winter. Cool Asia is a little too cool (minimum 10) for the warmer growing species (such as D. thyrsiflorum) and so the roof of Cool Americas (min 12C) is just right. As a general guide, the further a plant lives from the equator the greater the difference between summer and winter temperatures.


Happy Solstice to all our friends

Happy Winter Solstice to all our friends in the northern hemisphere and happy Summer Solstice to all our friends in the southern hemisphere. The changing day length as the year passes has a major influence on the flowering of most of our orchids with some opening their flowers on almost the same day each year. Outside climate, however, also affects flowering time and this year it looks as if the mild autumn is encouraging spring flowering orchids to bloom early in 2018. Coelogyne multiflora (above) is now in full bloom compared to January 8th Last year (see day 8 for more details). So I guess that in the Writhlington Greenhouses the spring starts here.


365 days of orchids – day 355 – Odontoglossum cristatum (Oncidium cristatum)

This species is vigorous and free flowering and in Autumn and Spring produces long arching spikes of large flowers in glossy brown, red and white.

Odontoglossum cristatum is native to Ecuador and Colombia where it is found in cloud forest from 1500-2600 m altitude and so it is very well suited to growing in our Cool Americas section. I have always known this plant as Odontoglossum cristatum but odontoglossum species have been included in Oncidium on the basis of molecular studies.

Our plants go back to a seedling purchased in 1996 and since then we have grown the species in pots, mounted and in baskets. We find that the species particularly enjoys a basket where it produces masses of roots and can grow into a specimen. The plant photographed has twelve spikes in total and will be looking amazing by about the end of January. Other plants will flower in March and so we get four to five months of these fantastic flowers.

We keep plants watered all year as they are always in growth.


365 days of orchids – day 354 – Stelis portoi

Today’s species is another that flowers for several months of the year. Stelis portoi is one of our larger Stelis species with leaves reaching 20cm and long flower stems with partially opening 1cm flowers. The flowers bloom all together and when several stems flower together they look very attractive.

The species is native to Ecuador and enjoys conditions in our Cool Americas section. We find it does well in a basket.


365 days of orchids – day 353 – Restrepia striata

Our restrepias flower throughout the year but December is a particularly good month for them. Restrepia striata is one of our favourites with medium sized (3cm) flowers produces in profusion well clear of the leaves and giving a lovely display.

The species is native to South America where it is found from Colombia to Peru in wet forest from 1200-3000m. We find this species straight forward in cultivation as it seems tolerant of a wide range of light levels and temperatures. We grow it in Coll Americas and enjoy flowers throughout the winter months.