Posts Tagged ‘Laelia’

The orchids, especially the Catts, are budding up and blooming. Since leaving the greenhouse this spring, they’ve shed the doldrums of confinement and become lush and vigorous – well, at least most of them have. Even the ones that aren’t actually in bloom have developed numerous sheaths, harbingers of beauty for the fall and winter.

Several of the current bloomers are pictured on the Photos page:


C. maxima

Cattleya maxima is a particular favorite. I bought it several years ago on the final day of the OSGKC show when the vendors were breaking down their booths. A desiccated, bare-root C. maxima had been tossed in a heap with some other plants by the Ecuagenera salesman. The plant had a withered flower so I was hopeful that, despite my lack of experience with bare-root purchases, this plant was a viable bloomer – which it has been, every year since I bought it. I grow it in a shallow, clay pot with a medium bark, charcoal and inorganic pellets mix

The Catasetum ochraceum is also a reliable and fragrant bloomer. This year it produced a record number (for me) of inflorescences . In addition this is the first year that I’ve had a female flower on this multi-sex plant. (That’s the flower pictured on the Photos page.] (more…)


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Blooms aplenty in the greenhouse this week. The Phal. tetraspis has never had this many blossoms at once. It’s one of the species from which, even after the blooms drop, I’ll not cut off the inflorescences because they will provide more blooms next time.

Early spring always brings a  burst in flower production — it’s also a time that brings a burst in ant production.

Last weekend (March 20-21), I attended an orchid conference in Omaha. Just before I left on the trip, I quickly hosed down the greenhouse plants, hoping that foregoing my “examine each plant once a week” policy wouldn’t have any dire consequences.

Well, it did.

This weekend when I picked up my Laelia anceps’ pot , I discovered a large colony of ants and  a small mountain of their white eggs. In moments, the entire bench was swarming with ants — as was my arm that held the pot.

I spent the next 45 minutes dumping out the Laelia’s potting mix, cleaning the plant (its pseudobulbs and its roots),  and spraying the bench (and neighboring benches and pots) with my 409 insecticide mix. [See November 18, 2009 post: “Tips – Fighting the Vermin.”]

It’s possible that an ant colony could have formed in just a week. Two weeks of neglect, however, provided ample time for the problem to become a greenhouse owner’s nightmare.

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Several nice blooms this week. See the Photos page for Laelia anceps, Slc. Livingston Sunset Fire ‘Flame’, Lc. Gold Digger ‘Orglades’ and  Pleur. platystames.

Lc. Drumbeat has been blooming for about two weeks. The larger of the two plants has seven fully opened blossoms and three more inflorescences swelling in their sheaths. The second pot of Drumbeat, a division of the specimen plant, has five blooms.

That’s the oh-joy-oh-rapture news. The bad news, which isn’t really news at all, but a couple of everlasting aggravations in the form of Epi. Parkinsonianum and Bulb. echinolabium, otherwise known collectively as feed-us-water-us-but-we-will-never-bloom plants. A couple of free-loaders.

I’m not talking unhealthy plants. These are two exquisitely robust orchids, full of strong, pest-free leaves. I bought the Epi. parkinsonianum in 2004 and the Bulb. echinolabium in 2005. The Epidendrum toyed with me in 2007, putting out two lovely blossoms and then lapsing into leaf-creating but bloomless mania.

Phal. leaf with problems

On a more serious note…something is attacking a few of my phals. The photo here of an affected leaf shows the type of damage being done. Anyone know what’s happening?

Closing on some upbeat news…Several weeks ago I mentioned that I’d caught one of the long inflorescences of Pychopsis Mendenhall on a wire in the greenhouse, snapping off the bud head. I decided to leave the truncated inflorescence to see what would happen. This post’s second photo shows the newly sprouting branch, with a second bud head – now that’s an aggravation turned to rapture.

New flower stem for broken Psychosis inflorescence

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