Restrepia condorensis – 365 days of orchids – day 1643

We have another floriferous miniature orchid for you today.

Restrepia condorensis is a small growing species with long thin flowers in a startling pinky-red and a real show stopper. The species is endemic to Ecuador and grows in cool wet forests with the conditions we replicate in our Cool Americas section. We find that the species does well in pots and small baskets where it will turn into a ball or leaves covered in flowers.

We also hear that lots of our customers succeed with these plants in shaded spots in doors, in terrariums and even in reptile tanks!

Restrepias are also popular because they are easy to propagate by division or from leaf cuttings (put a leaf and its stem into a pot of moss and you will usually be rewarded with a new little plant), because of their floriferous nature and the fantastic spotting and striping on the flowers.


Angraecum elephantinum – 365 days of orchids – day 1642

We are in the season of short summer nights but visiting the greenhouse after dark is a must to appreciate the heady scent of this miniature orchid with enormous flowers.

The name Angraecum elephantinum means gigantic angraecum but it is actually one of our smallest Angraecum species.

This plant is flowering for the fifth time eight years out of flask and is just 10cm high and 8cm across. Of course it is the flower that is gigantic compared to the plant and with two flowers out today the flowers  pretty much hides the whole plant.

The species comes from the mountains of Madagascar and the plant can be grown quite cool – we are growing it here at a minimum of 10C. In common with many Madagascan angraecums it has a very long spur with nectar in the end and so is pollinated by very long tongued hawk moths. The large lip is there to guide the tongue to the opening of the spur at the top of the lip. Moth pollination also explains the night scent of the species. To me the scent of this species is a mixture of Deep Heat and almonds.

This plant was one of the BOC babies given away in vitro at our first British Orchid Congress in October 2012 – this was one of the left over small ones – but well worth growing on. We mounted it on cork straight from the flask and it grows wet and bright so sprayed daily and near the top of a cool greenhouse. We will pollinate the flowers to see if we can raise some more seedlings for the future. If anyone out there has their BOC 2012 Angraecum in flower too – please send us a photo.


Still time to vote for the School students working for rainforest conservation and educational equality

The vote closes on Friday for the people’s vote in the Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize.  Six Students (Rainforest DRAGeN Project) at Mendip Studio School are in the finals of this technology innovation prize and need your vote to help them put their idea into practice.

Watch their video here and vote for their project winning the ‘peoples vote’ here

Winning the people’s vote will give the team the cash they need to set the project in motion. (you will need to scroll down the page of projects to Rainforest DRAGeN Project)


Odontoglossum multistellare – 365 days of orchids – day 1641

Odontoglossum multistellare certainly lives up to its name and every summer produces branched spikes of attractive, star shaped, flowers, and a small plant produces a lot of flower for its size. Our largest plant shown above has 300 flowers this year.

Odontoglossum multistllare is a cool growing species found in cloud forests at around 2000m altitude from Ecuador to Peru, and we grow our odontogloissums in baskets hanging in cool Americas (min 12C). The target to achieve really good plants seems to be to grow health roots and then keep the roots alive for years – this allows plants to make large bulbs that reward us with long spikes of these graceful flowers. Heavily watered baskets and a very open bark compost seems seems best for good root development in our conditions.


Vanda tricolor var. suavis ‘alba’ – 365 days of orchids – day 1640

What is white with yellow spots and has a lovely perfume – it’s Vanda tricolor var. suarvis ‘alba’ of course. This unusual variety of this lovely species is a relatively new addition to our collection and hasn’t featured here until now.

Comparing this plant with the normal coloured form (below) that flowered with us in April you can see that all the pink pigment is missing although the pattern of spotting is very similar.

This grand orchid is native to lowland forest in Java and and becomes a giant orchid over time. The plant produces stiff alternate leaves 30cm long and our alba form is still a small plant at 90cm tall while our normally coloured clone is over 2m tall. We grow plants warm (min 17C) with regular watering throughout the year.

Sometimes this plant is listed as a the species Vanda suavis, separate from the other form of Vanda tricolor (also found in Java) which has fewer, rounder flowers, but we will follow in our labelling.