Archive | November 2013

Maxillaria uncata

Like most Maxillarias, this like a fair amount of water.  However, it doesn’t need much light.  Although it’s a miniature, it does grow pretty fast, and will sprawl out a bit over time.  The needle-like leaves are about 1-1/4″ to 1-1/2″ long.  It blooms several times a year, with no real seasonality.

Dendrobium rigidum

This Australian native, also known as Dockrillia rigida, is almost bullet-proof.  It blooms two or three times a year for me, whenever new leaves mature.  It’s not picky about water, neither quality nor quantity, given its succulent growth habit.  It spends the summer outdoors, and gets as much sun as I can give it indoors the rest of the year.  As long as some of the leaves take on a bit of a purple tinge, I know it’s getting enough light to bloom.  The largest leaves are a little over 1/2″ long.  The cranberry striped creamy flowers are about 1/4″ front to back.

Pleurothallis costaricensis

As the name suggest, this species is native to Costa Rica.  Mine’s a relatively recent acquisition that has already bloomed several times for me.  It’s mounted on cork, unfortunately, which means i have to water it nearly every day.  Tree fern would have been a better mounting material for a home growing environment.  I finally got fed up with the watering schedule, stuffed the whole thing, mount and all in a pot, and packed sphagnum moss around it.  We’ll see how that does.  Shady and moist, as with any other Pleurothallis.  Some direct sun is okay in the morning or late afternoon.  The flowers are pumpkin orange.  The leaves are a little over an inch long, which gives you an idea of how small the flowers are.  Part of the attraction of this plant for me is the multi-spiking habit, with on-off blooming throughout the year.  It doesn’t have a rest period, so whenever leaves mature, they spike.

Howeara Lava Burst ‘Puanani’

This complex hybrid oncidium is an extremely reliable grower and bloomer.  Every year, I get five or six spikes, which give a first bloom, then branch and keep on blooming for at least a couple of months.  As far as oncidium intergenerics go, it’s a miniature, so it’s perfect for windowsill growing.  It doesn’t need water that often, although like any other oncidium, the leaves will “accordion” if you let it go too long without water.  It’s probably a good choice for beginning orchid growers, since it’s fairly idiot-proof.

Christensonia vietnamica x Vanda sanderiana v. alba

This is a primary cross that first bloomed for me in late Spring.  The flowers have the Christensonia size and coloring, but with a smaller, less frilly lip.  Being as far North as I am, I tend to have trouble with full sized vandaceous orchids over the winter, but miniatures do very well for me.  It probably has more to do with being potted vs. in hanging baskets than it does plant size, per se.  For a first bloom, my verdict is “not bad.”  They only get better with age.  The entire plant is only about 7″ tall, so far.

Stlma. Kelly ‘Lea’

I’ve had Stellamizutaara Kelly ‘Lea’ for many years.  It’s one of my few complex hybrids, from the cattleya family.  Really doesn’t need much water at all during the winter, but does want as much light as it can get while it’s growing.  It can bloom two or three times a year for me, but the main bloom is mid-late Summer.  It’s mounted on cork; in Summer, I hang it outside off my rose pillar, where it gets full sun most of the day.

Lycaste consobrina

I’ve had this one for years.  It’s a faithful bloomer, although I didn’t get as many flowers this year as I usually do, and it bloomed a bit late, too.  Lycastes are deciduous, so I give them a dry winter rest, and start watering again when I see new growth.  This one really needs to be potted up to a larger size pot.  That may have something to do with why the bloom wasn’t as good as it normally is.

Eria convallarioides

This one is from Kawamoto.  I don’t remember whether I got it last Spring or about a year ago.  Don’t know much about it, other than it has foot-long leaves that look like they want a lot of light, but could burn in too much direct sun.  I left it indoors over the summer, hanging right in front of the patio door.  Sure enough, it got enough light there.  It seems to be not too picky about water.  I watered it maybe once every week or two, even over the summer, and it put on plenty of new growth.  Now, it’s beginning to bloom, with four spikes altogether.  Two are starting to open flowers, and two are still at the budded emerging spike stage.  Not bad, considering the care I gave it was mostly based on guesswork.

Cochleanthes Amazing

I’ve had this one for a few years, and never could figure out whether it had a bloom schedule, other than when it’s good and ready.  Orchids Wiki says it’s supposed to bloom in late Winter to early Spring, but mine never does.  It just now finished blooming in November.  It’s a primary hybrid of amazonica and flabelliformis.  Basic conditions are intermediate for both light and temperature, but it’s not that picky other than liking to actually sit in a saucer of water, like, say, a Phragmipedium.  Some people claim it has a nice fragrance, but I’ve never noticed much from mine, unless I’m sniffing it at the wrong time of day.

Stelis viridipurpurea

This one was acquired from Parkside in July, I believe.  It had finished blooming, but has bloomed for me twice since then.  Same growing conditions as my other Stelises — shady to semi-shady, and kept pretty soggy.  Mostly, Stelises like the same conditions as Masdevallias, except are more tolerant of summer heat.  I keep mine indoors all year, so they benefit from two or three months worth of air conditioning, when it’s too hot to make do with open windows.

The flowers, as the name implies, are a rather nice reddish purple.  They’re a little less than 1/4″ across.