Monday, December 20, 2010

Stelis purpurascens

Stelis purpurascens is a large and robust plant from Mexico, Central and South America.  The plant itself is about 25 cm tall and the flower spikes which come from the joint of leaf and stem add another 20 cm to the height of the plant.  It is really too large for my space and I am going to have to trade or sell it.

The individual flowers are slightly less than 1 cm in size, but their lack of size is made up for by the number of flowers the plant produces, each spike having as many as 75 flowers.  Interestingly, the flowers open and close in the course of day, opening when the lights go on, closing later and then opening again in the afternoon.

Masdevallia hirtzii

Masdevallia hirtzii is a small species from Ecuador and Peru and is named after a German orchid collector, Hirtz.  It is a relatively recent discovery, having been described in for the first time in 1989.  A prolific bloomer, the plant often obscured by the numerous flowers.  It belongs to the group of Masdevallias called Saltatrices, a group with tubular flowers and bright colors.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dendrobium cuthbertsonii var. semi-alba

Dendrobium cuthbertsonii is, without doubt, the crown jewel of the miniature orchid world.  It is tiny, less than 2 cm tall, and has large colorful flowers that dwarf the plant and that last six to nine months.  The flowers are trumpet shaped, about 2.5 cm long and the same across the open front of the flower.

The species is from New Guinea and comes in many different color varieties, including red, orange, pink, and various bicolor forms.  This particular plant was purchased as a semi-alba variety but is pale yellow rather than white with the typical maroon band around the edge of the lip. 

This species can be quite temperamental and is considered difficult to grow.  I have another plant of the species that has not put out new growth for over a year.  This plant, however, seems to be quite vigorous.  It is grown mounted and with the highest light I can give it, just inches from the HO fluorescent bulbs I use.

The species requires cool temperatures and simply will not do well unless this requirement is met.  It is reputed to hate fertilizer, but in my conditions gets watered with a weak fertilizer solution (a pinch of 10-30-10 in 2 gallons of water) every 2 out of three waterings.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Aerangis fastuosa

I have a weakness for white flowers, and the fact that these are fragrant at night adds to their appeal.  The species is from Madagascar and is supposed to require warm  temperatures, but it does well for me in intermediate to cool conditions.

The plant is approximately 8 cm from leaf tip to leaf tip and the flowers are about 5 cm in size with long tails.  The plant blooms in late winter to spring for me.  It is one of the smaller Aerangis species and does not seem to be at all difficult.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Masdevallia Sunny Angel

One of my favorite Masdevallia hybrids. The cross was very variable, but I love the bright yellow of this plant and the open flowers. It's small to medium size and not very fussy. Like all my Masdevallias, I grow it in sphagnum in a net pot.