January, 2019

Show and Tell

From Scott McGregor:

I grow all of my orchids outside, in coastal southern California. My only modifications to what nature provides are to "subtract light and add water." I use reverse osmosis water on all orchids.

Fernandezia subbiflora. Flowers are only 5 mm (note finger for scale). Fernandezia has a reputation for hating heat and therefore difficult to grow, but this one survived 112 deg F. last summer.

Oerstedella wallisii. In bloom 365 days a year.

December/January is the peak time of year for Laelia anceps, as well as some other Mexican laelias that everybody should grow, they're perfect for our climate.

Laelia anceps 'Royal Flush' x 'Deja Vu'. Line-bred, large and shapely flowers.

Laelia autumnalis

Laelia gouldiana

Laelia superbiens

Mediocalcar decoratum. A fun one, though the candy-corn flowers are maybe more appropriate for Halloween... These like sun and cool to grow well.

Variegated-leaf form of Mediodalcar decoratum

Pleurothallis leptotifolia

Pths. leptotifolia last year. It really likes that mount.

I got a compact (12-16”) and nice looking plant labelled “Sobralia macra” at a show from Andy Phillips, and it bloomed for me in October, again in November and now again today (late December).  When it opened, it was indeed beautiful as advertised, but I had a hard time with the wide variety of pics on the web that claimed to be S. macra.  I spoke again with Andy and he said this has been determined to be a new species, not yet named, stay tuned.  Most people think of Sobralias as large, tall plants, but there are a number of compact species that only get 12-18” in height and have beautiful flowers.  These grow outside here in Southern CA and others I’ve had good success with include : callosa, fimbriata, maduroi, and undatocarinata.  Sob. callosa is epiphytic and claimed to be a “warm grower”, but thrives and blooms off and on throughout the summer for me.  Sob. fimbriata is even more fringed than Rhy. digbyana and while the flowers only last a single day, has the most compelling fragrance of any orchid I know of.  These are a bit hard to find, but rewarding and worth the effort.


Sobralia macra (Not!)

Sobralia fimbriata

Sobralia maduroi

Sobralia maduroi (left) with Sobralia undatocarinata. They bloomed at the same time, and last longer than most.

While some of these Sobralias have a reputation for needing warmth based upon their origin, I’ve come to believe these guys are more fussy about water quality than they are about temperature.


From Roberta Fox:

I grow most of my orchids outside in coastal southern California. I also have a small (and very crowded) greenhouse. Plants grown in the greenhouse are noted, all others are outside. I use reverse osmosis water for Pleurothallids and some other sensitive groups, especially small species and most mounted plants. Cattleyas, Cymbidiums, and other large plants get city water and don't seem to object.

As Scott noted, this is this time of year when Laelia anceps and its relatives are blooming like crazy. While some of my other orchids have had their schedule thrown off by our very long summer and warm autumn, Laelia anceps plants are pretty much on schedule although in a bit of a different order than in prior years. Spikes also don't seem to be as long as they have been in the past.

Laelia anceps 'Royal Flush' x var. guerrero

'Royal Flush' is also one parent of the L. anceps that Scott has, and clearly it produces great offspring. I have had poor success growing and blooming L. anceps var. guerrero (it does seem to have somewhat different needs than the typical L. anceps) but this cross (still the species though a pollinator would probably not recognize it) has the spectacular dark lip of the var. guerrero, but is very easy to grow and bloom.

Laelia anceps var. veitchiana

This is the coerulea form of the species, with white (or possibly a slight coerulea blush) segments and that intense coerulea lip.

Cattleya forbesii

The flower isn't spectacular, though I love the pattern in the throat. But unike most species in the Cattleya group, this one puts out new growth and blooms about three times a year. It also tolerates whatever weather it encounters and needs no pampering.

Laelia praestans

I got this at the auction last year, and this is the second time that it has bloomed for me. Its roots were totally entangled in a small plastic basket, so I just popped the whole thing into a wood basket. The new roots are adhering to the wood - I think of wood baskets as three-dimensional mounts.

Mediocalcar decoratum

While Scott grows this in the sun, mine is in the shady area at the back of my patio. It seems to be growing and blooming quite happily. Conclusion? it is highly adaptable. I have had it for nearly three years, and it has at least trippled in size. It is growing in (or mostly on) a wood basked containing sphagnum. It is growing over the sides, and I hope that eventually it will form a ball.

Restrepia condorensis

This plant blooms on and off much of the year, one or two flowers at a time. This month it produced one of the nicest flush blooms that I have seen from it.

Leptotes pauloensis

Bought as Leptotes harryphillipsi but later determined to be synonym for Leptotes pauloensis.

Coelia bella

Dendrochilum cobbianum

It just keeps getting bigger and better. The species ranges in color from yellow to white.

Coelogyne assamica

The pattern in the throat shows insects exactly where to go.

Angraecum distichum

Grown the greenhouse. Blooms several times a year.

Bulbophyllum medusae

Grown in the greenhouse