Bulbophyllum picturatum – 365 days of orchids – day 788

This wonderful and reliable Bulbophyllum species is in flower again.


This is one of our favourite Bulbophyllum species as plants are vigorous and free flowering. For us the species tends to flower twice a year in the winter and again in late spring which more than makes up for the flowers only lasting two weeks in peak condition. We grow plants in baskets in shade in our Warm Asia section and water throughout the year.

Bulbophyllum picturatum is native to lowland forest in Thailand and Myanmar where it grows as an epiphyte in evergreen trees. The intricate flowers are produces in a terminal semicircular circular umbel like group. This habit is common in a large group of Bulbophyllums once called cirrhopetalums. The large creamy yellow tube at the bottom of the flower is formed from the lateral sepals. The flowers are fragrant and have a fishy smell which is not unpleasant.


Dendrobium kingianum – 365 days of orchids – day 787

The perfect orchid to follow yesterday’s Dendrobium x suffusum is it’s pink parent Dendrobium kingianum.

Small growing, free flowering, scented and easy to propagate, Dendrobium kingianum is a brilliant little orchid. It is another of the Australian dendrobiums found on the Queensland and New South Wales coast and mountains. It grows as a lithophyte earning it the common name of Pink Rock Orchid. The colour of the flowers varies greatly from dark pinks and purples through to white.

We grow the species in Cool Asia with a minimum of 10C but it also does well in our Temperate section with temperatures falling to 6C. We have friends who grow this species very successfully on windowsills too.

The plant propagates by growing keikis (small plants) on the top of older bulbs and these can be removed and potted when they have plenty of their own roots or left on the old plant and sprayed to grow it into more of a multi story bush. We have also found the species quick to flower from seed.

Our Australian dendrobiums are flowering about three to four weeks earlier this year than in 2018 possibly due to the mild winter – I wonder if other growers are finding the same?


Dendrobium x suffusum – 365 days of orchids – day 786

Earlier this month we featured Dendrobium gracilicaule which is one of the parents of this gorgeous natural hybrid from Australia.

This is one of the prettiest and most floriferous of our cool growing dendrobiums that also benefits from having a lovely sweet scent.

The parents are Dendrobium kingianum and Dendrobium gracilicaule and it is a medium sized plant that grows into a specimen quite quickly. Pseudobulbs up to 40cm high carry spays of many 1cm flowers with a lovely fragrance. In the past this clone ‘Writhlington’ has won two Certificates of cultural Commendation from the RHS.

At school this species grows in Cool Asia(min.10C) with good light with lots of water in the summer, but with less water in the winter.


Masdevalia setacea – 365 days of orchids – day 785

One of our absolute favourite masdevallias is this very large flowered species found from Colombia to Peru.

This remarkable Masdevallia has flowers considerably larger than the plant (as long as you include the long yellow tails to the sepals which make the flower 14cm from top to bottom) For us it flowers irregularly throughout the year which probably reflects the even conditions it finds in its cloud forest home from 1400-2400m altitude.

From photographs it appears that the species is highly variable and has many colour forms so perhaps we should be on the look out for different clones.

We like to grow this species mounted on cork bark as it shows off the large flowers very well and the plant did not worry to much about the hot conditions last summer that might suggest it would prefer a pot.


Dendrobium melaleucaphyllum – 365 days of orchids – day 784

This delightful little species is bursting into flower again. As it flowers from old and new pseudobulbs together it gives a fantastic display of its small red, green, brown and white flowers.

This small growing dendrobium comes from Australia where it grows as an epiphyte in humid ravines and gullies in Queensland and New South Wales.

We grow the species mounted as plants are very pendulous and find that it enjoys a shaded and cool environment (Cool Asia or Cool Americas in our greenhouses) with a little less water in the winter but not a prolonged dry period.

The Australian dendrobiums give wonderful variety on a theme and we find many species very easy to grow. This little species is quite closely to the massive Dendrobium speciosum we featured last month which is still in flower.