Autumn and winter is a great time for masdevallias with plants enjoying the cool temperatures and flowers lasting longer than they do in summer.
Masdevallia triangularis is a striking small plant with relatively large flowers that are kind of triangular (of course most masdevallias have flowers that are kind of triangular). The flowers have lovely red/orange spots and long, dark red tails.
The species comes from Venuzela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru and with such a wide distribution it is not surprising that the species is quite variable with colours from yellow through to dark orange.
Some orchids are too perfect for words – but I will try. Aerangis luteo-alba var. rhodosticta is small growing (the plant is 10cm across) but has large dramatic flowers that a gorgeously presented on arching sprays.
This small growing species is native to tropical Africa from Cameroon across to Kenya and Tanzania. It is pollinated by moths and so is fragrant at night as well creamy white to show up in the forest at night. The red column helps the moth to locate the entrance to the spur full of nectar (look just below the red column).
This is a lovely orchid to grow – it likes a warm and shady environment and we grow the species mounted and in small baskets (the plant is only 12cm across) in our Warm Asia section (although it is from Africa) with a minimum of 17C. It comes from riverine forest (the humid forest found along rivers) from 1200m altitude to 2200m altitude and so it would also grow happily a little cooler. Like Aerangis and related species we have seen in coastal forest near Durban (South Africa) this species is found on twigs and small branches with roots running long distances to collect available moisture.
The first of our Guarianthe bowringiana clones is in flower. This exuberant orchid reminds me of our wonderful school expedition to Guatemala back in 2005 when this was one of the many species we found in the lowland forests around Yaxha.
Guarianthe bowringiana is native to Guatemala and Belize in Central America. and the plants we found we in open forest at around 300m altitude where the climate is hot and dryish – though when it rains there it really rains. Plants come into flower during autumn and winter and produce long spikes with many flowers from the robust pseudobulbs.
We find the species enjoys a basket of well draining compost but heavy water when in active growth during the summer. We hang plants higher (and so drier) in the roof of its Warm Americas Section for flowering and over the winter months until growth starts again in the spring.
Look our for our other clones of Guarianthe bowringiana over the next few weeks.
It was pitch dark this morning when I went into the greenhouse to photograph today’s orchid – the second Trisetella species in a row.
Regulars will know that at the Orchid Project we are passionate about miniature orchids, and this is one of our classic cloud forest species, the tiny miniature Trisetella hoeijeri.
The leaves of this species are just 8mm long and the tiny roots spread no further than 10mm from the plant. The flowers however are gigantic in comparison at nearly 4cm across.
The species is native to cloud forests in southern Ecuador at around 1800m altitude where it grows in moss and shade on trunks and lower branches.
We grow the species mounted and do not add moss when mounting as we find that moss can out compete the tiny plant but, as you can see, moss grows naturally under the conditions we give plants. Our plants grow in deep shade and water daily. We find that plants benefit from splitting before they get too large and start to go down hill when leaves start to die off and drop.
Another plant is shown below showing the fantastic display the species can give.
It is mini-miniature time in the greenhouse and the star of the greenhouse this morning are a group of Trisetella cordeliaes.
Trisetella cordeliae which is really small both in terms of its leaves – just 10mm long and short spikes with small (but relatively large) attractive hairy pink flowers. The flower spikes produce a succession of flowers over a long period.
The species is endemic to Peruvian cloud forests and we treat it the same as other Trisetella – cool, damp and shaded.