March 2022


From Kurt Shanebeck:

Outdoors coastal north of Los Angeles, or indoors under lights

Cyrtochilum retusum

Grown mounted, outdoors. An intense and uniform "burnt orange" color

Encyclia dichroma

Grown mounted, outdoors. Long-lasting blooms

Rhynchostele rossii
(syn. Lemboglossum rossii)

Grown mounted, outdoors

Oncidium cheirophorum

Grown indoors, under lights but it is reported to grow up to 2500 m elevation so it would probably do okay outdoors. It is a very compact plant (<6” tall) which makes it convenient to grow under lights.


From Lynn Wiand:

All orchids grown outdoors, coastal southern California

Cattleya loddigesii

Native to Brazil. The true color of this orchid is actually captured in my photo… ….perhaps because I took it late in the afternoon.

Dendrobium tetragonum


From Scott McGregor:

All orchids grown outdoors, coastal southern California

Ada (Brassia) aurantiaca

Not great form, the flowers don’t fully open, but easy to grow, and ORANGE!

Bonatea speciosa

This robust African terrestrial grows well outside and appreciates at least a few hours of full sun for best flowering and to encourage sturdy canes.  Grow in large pots (18” shown here) so it doesn’t dry out in the sun, use a mix with at least 50% sand, and fertilize when in active growth.  It is semi-deciduous and forms potato-sized tubers that will completely fill a pot over time, displacing the media.

Pterostylis curta

Perhaps the easiest of the Australian winter-growing deciduous terrestrials.  Get some tubers in August from a friend (thanks, Roberta!), plant in terrestrial mix, water in the Fall, avoid direct sun, and you’ll get multiple, long-lasting ‘greenhoods” in early Spring.

Cattleya (Sophronitis) cernua

Cute mini Sophronitis.  Grows best outdoors and mounted for me.

Cattleya (Sophronitis) coccinea 4N

I find these do best for me mounted, although many experts recommend pots to preserve moisture on hot/dry days.  The red flowers are intensely saturated and the flower grows in size for several days after opening.  The 4N (tetraploid chromosome) lines have fewer, but larger flowers.

Maxillaria sophronitis

If you have trouble growing Sophronitis, try this one instead—easy rambling outdoor grower with that color you crave, and it blooms multiple times per year!


Diuris amplissima

First flower opening...  This and D. magnifica are my two favorite Diuris species.

Ophrys iricolor

Dark iridescent lip with blue spots and fine hairs.

Diuris magnifica

This and D. magnifica are my two favorite Diuris species.

Satyrium coriifolium

A new species for me, blooming for the first time this year (it only put up one stiff leaf last year).  From the western cape of South Africa, which has a winter-rain Mediterranean climate.  It is about 18” tall and the flowers are fragrant.

Himantoglossum robertianum

Himantoglossum robertianum isn’t the most beautiful orchid, but has interesting flowers.  Close-up of the flower and showing the full plant in a 6” pot next to a (beautiful) Satyrium coriifolium.

Ophrys lutea

First flower opening…

Ophrys regis-fernandii

An Ophrys with an iridescent lip and “fur” that resembles the blue iridescence of a female wasps wings and her red body hair, tricking male bees into pollinating the flowers.

Ophrys sphegodes

One of the easier species of a challenging genus.  Usually this one is the first to bloom, but this year it is near the last.  Got to work on those spider webs!

Thelymitra Melon Glow

An early Thelymitra; a primary cross (antennifera x luteocilium).  This one’s not blue!

Caladenia Colorful

Editor's Note: The Caladenias shown are hybrids and rather complex ones a that, but the genus is difficult to grow, interesting and unusual. It is shown here because it is our opportunity to see examples of this beautiful genus.

Caladenias are tricky, but this came up with two growths and two spikes this year, so doing ok with this one.  Not a species though…

Got one more Caladenia to open yet.  Down to two of these.

Caladenia Harlequin x applanata erubescens

My other Caladenia—the applanata erubescens really dominates, especially the lip.  ‘Harlequin’ is a primary hybrid of C. flava x latifolia.


From Roberta Fox:


Outside in the Back Yard:

Coelia bella

Flowers come as the new growth is developing. This species tends to rapidly outgrow the container. Native to Mexico and Central America, it can be either an epiphyte or terrestrial.


Maxillaria serotina (chrysantha)

Front view and bud/back view look like completely differnt flowers, both quite lovely.


Osmoglossum pulchellum

A very reliable winter bloomer, routinely producing 8 to 10 spikes that open over a period of several weeks extending the bloom. Flowers are long lasting, so it's in bloom for about two months. It is extremely fragrant.


Dendrochilum parvulum

Lots of flower power in a compact package. There are somewhere around 40 spikes, with lots of tiny flowers.


Maxillaria bradeorum

Big starry flowrs with heavy substance. This plant is mounted, and just keeps getting taller. It is also branching, but stays mostly vertical so that it doesn't take up TOO much room. Flowers emerge from between the leaves of new growth.

Gastrochilus calceolaris

The fringed lip is concave, forming a pouch filled with spots. The flowers tend to emerge on the underside of the plant, so photographing it takes some contortions.

Ada rolandoi

Flowers aren't dramatic, but it blooms reliably with multiple spikes. Flowers are quite long lasting.


Campanulorchis (Eria) globifera

The backs of the sepals of these cute little flowers are wooly. The buds are little bundles of wool. The plant is a rambler. It stayed in the pot for about a year, then has escaped and is blooming even better. The species is native to Vietnam.

Dendrobium speciosum ssp. grandiflorum

The season for Den. speciosum and related Australian Dendrobiums is starting! This subspecies is one of the larger plants. Thick canes make the plant top-heavy, and to keep it from falling over I have tied it to one of the shade-structure supports.

Dendrobium vexillarius

This is a cross of two color forms of the New Guinea species. The orange form is more common and somewhat easier to grow (though I have killed one). The blue form is less common, more expensive, and harder to keep alive. While this is officially still the species (just two color forms) it has what seems like hybrid vigor. It grows and blooms well for me. These flowers are on two different growths - one seems to favor the orange parent, the other the blue one though both colors show in both places.

Dendrochilum coccineum

Flowers are large for the genus, and they open slowly so the spikes never get the "foxtail" look. But color is dramatic. (That is how I was attracted to the plant, wandering in Andy's Orchids cool greehouse and spotting the flash of orange) It blooms two or three times a year,

Pholidota cantonensis

This one came to me mislabelled - I was expecting a Coelogyne. When I asked the seller, I got the correct ID, turns out to be a much more unusual species! The plant is a rambler, and is growing very nicely on a hapu'u slab hung horizontally. There were many infloresences, that opened over a period of almost a month. Flowers are tiny, about 1/4 inch (0.5 cm). the upper right photo shows a photo-bombing thrip, included to show the scale of the flowers.

Diuris orientis

From eastern Australia (hence the name). My terrestrials are starting to put on a show. This is my first Diuris of the season.

Thelymitra x-macmillanii

From Australia, a natural hybrid... whose parentage looks like it's up for debate. From the  Flora of Victoria website, "A presumed hybrid between Thelymitra antennifera and either T. carnea, T. rubra or members of the T. nuda/T. pauciflora complex."  Or, "Who's your daddy?" Color is pink-red. (So a not-blue Thely...) Getting the camera to see the color correctly is another issue. Like all Thelymitras, the flowers are open only in bright sunlight. If it is overcast or they get shaded, the flowers close up until the next time that they get bright sun. Note the curious little visitor to the left.

Ophrys iricolor

The Mediterranean "bee orchids" are also starting to put on their spring show. Once they bloom and die back, they'll get no water until around October.

Ophrys mammosa

Ophrys sphegodes

These two are closely related, may be varieties of one species. The taxonomy of the European bee orchids is confusing, and in flux.

Ophrys tenthredinifera

One of my favorites in this genus. The color contrast (as well as the fuzzy lip) are particularly dramatic.

In the greenhouse...


Zelenkoa onusta (Oncidium onustum)

Long-lasting flowers, blooms several times a year, and briliiant, clear color. What's not to love?

Angraecum sesquipedale

The "Darwin orchid". Darwin predicted the sphinx month that would be the polinator of this flower with its long nectary, which was discovered some 40 years after his death. The moth was named Xanthopan morganii praedicta in recognition of that prediction, a powerful piece of evidence for the theory of evolution by natural selection. This plant is relatively compact for the species. I grow it outside most of the year, but move it to the greenhouse for winter, particularly since that is its bloom time. It grows fine outside through the cold, but sometimes I lose the flower spike, so a bit of protction is helpful.


Trigonidium egertonianum (Maxillaria egertoniana)

This native of Mexico and Central America blooms multiple times during the year. sometimes producing a flush bloom of multiple flowers open at once, other times just one or two at a time.