June 2020

Show and Tell

From Glenda Urmacher:



Epidendrum parkinsonianaum

Have had this for 7 years and this is the first blooms. Grown outside under grape arbor. Killed 3 others before this one.


From Scott McGregor:



Angraecum teretifolium

Great flower to plant ratio on this Angraecum!

Ansellia africana 'Kenya Dark'

This one gets big (mine is still small at 42” tall), but has big sprays from the top and sides of the maturing pseudobulbs, with long-lasting flowers.  It prefers very bright light and can handle some hours of full sun.  Stiff roots grow upward from the base, forming a basket that catches leaves and other nutritious debris.


Barbosella cucullata

Lots of vertical green 1.5” flowers!

Bulbophyllum wendlandianum

A relatively easy outdoor-growing Bulbophyllum that has an attractive compact growth habit.  The preposterous 4” red and yellow flowers are festooned with odd ornamentations.

Bulbophyllum yasnae (thaiorum, papillos yellow form)

Nice saturated colors on this easy-to-grow Bulbophyllum, and mercifully scent-less too!

Cattleya (Laelia) harpophylla

This is a great species with cheerful, fully saturated, long-lasting, bright orange flowers.

Capanemia uliginosa (superflua)

I find this micro-mini twig epiphyte to be challenging—it needs to be mounted, grown bright and with frequent watering.  An entire flower spike is about an inch with quarter-inch flowers, and if you can get close enough, fragrant as well.

Cynorkis uncinata

Pretty 1.5-2” flowers adorn this deciduous terrestrial from Africa. I find it to be the easiest and most reliable Cynorkis—I leave it outside on the patio all year in a 10” pot, water/fertilize and give it some sun when growing, stop watering when the leaves die back after flowering and that’s about it.

Dendrobium falconeri

A very pretty Himalayan species with red, yellow, white and magenta flowers.

Dendrobium hancockii

Lots of small but pretty yellow flowers…

Dendrobium wilsonii

From China, pure white flowers with a yellow throat.

Diplocaulobium arachnoideum

Compare with D. aratiferum, which booms around the same time.  I suspect these are either the same or related species.

Diuris drummondii

The last of my Australian “donkey orchids” to open.

Domingoa (Nageliella) angustifolia

A long-blooming mini that re-blooms off dry and seemingly dead spikes from prior years—don’t cut them off until you’re sure!

Dracula simia

A fun one—monkey face flowers!

Encyclia (Cattleya) citrina

This is an odd plant that grows completely downward—new growths, and one large, heavy, waxy flower on a floppy stem that points straight down.  It must be grown mounted, and prefers bright light, good water and cool conditions.  The flower smells strongly of lemons.

Sarcochilus falcatus ('select' x 'SanBar Marvel')

For some reason I have trouble with Sarcochilus.  I originally got some species that came virused and had to be destroyed.  The new ones seem to grow well enough but just don’t flower much for me growing outside.  Cultural advice welcome!  Here’s my line bred species S. falcatus, with one fragrant flower.

Maxillaria minuta

An aptly named mini-Maxi.  The dark red flowers are nestled into the leaves, and strongly fragrant of cinnamon.

Maxillaria (Christensonella) vitteliniflora

A very tiny Maxillaria—cute plant.

Thelymitra cyanea

My last Thelymitra to bloom—the “swamp sun orchid” has pretty blue and violet veining.  This one is only briefly deciduous in the summer. It wants to be blue, but ends up a mix of blue, purple and rose.

Sobralia xantholeuca

My first Sobralia of the season!  I love Sobralias and have over a dozen species and a handful of hybrids.  They range in height from 1’ to 10’ and while their individual flowers may only last a day or two, they rebloom repeatedly on each cane such that they put on a show from May until October each year.  S. xantholeuca is a variable species, sometimes with fringe like this one, flowers about 4” across, somewhat fragrant, and a reliable all-summer bloomer.  They are easy outdoor growers, and like about the same conditions as cymbidiums (but are much prettier, both in-bloom and out).

Two species!

Our native Pseudacris hypochondriaca hiding inside Nepenthes hamata.  Both good companions for your outdoor orchids!



From Roberta Fox:


Outside in the Back Yard:


Oncidium harrisonianum
( Grandiphyllum auricula)

Flowers are only about 1/2 inch, but lots of them, on lots of spikes. This Brazilian native is bulletproof. I have had it for at least 12 years, and it blooms reliably every spring. It doesn't seem to care about water quality (having gotten city water for most of the time that i have had it), with no concern about either heat or cold. Leaves are stiff and hard, it grows on a mount with no moss so clearly it's not fussy about the amount of water it gets either.

Ada glumacea

Since the flowers are not dramatic, sometimes I smell this before I see that it is blooming. The fragrance reminds me of over-ripe peaches.

Sedirea japonica

Now classified as Phalaenopsis. It has a pleasant lemony fragrance.

Epidendrum parkinsonianum

The plant on the left (above) is actually several plants, established in a sphagnum-filled inverted wood basket. When I got it, these were just past seedling size. Each plant has grown well, roots are entwined around ths slats of the basket, and now it puts on an elegant show, with flowers visible on all sides. The one on the right is a single plant, that grew only slowly until I added a pad of sphagnum around the roots to improve the moisture level, when it really took off. With its vertical growth habit it must be grown mounted. The roots tend to grow upward, and it is clear that they do need a bit of extra moisture. It grows in bright shade or filtered sun, and the red color of the leaves indicates that both plants are growing near the upper level of their light requirement. These are sweetly fragrant in the evening.

Epidendrum falcatum

This is a close relative of Epi. parkonsonianum. It has similar downward-growing leaves. However, the new growths stick out horizontally farther than those of Epi. parkinsonianum. Those growths are extremely brittle, breaking off wtih any little bump (making it difficult, if not impossible, to take to meetings.) Broken-off growths do root quite easily, especially in an inverted basket, or with the base of the broken growth poked up into the hole of a clay pot filled with sphagnum.

Vanda barnesii

This was purchased as V. javierae. There was a group of these that turned out to be the new species V. barnesii. This was the subject of an Orchid Digest article 8 or 9 years ago, shortly after I acquired it. I'd still like to acquire V. javierae too. Both come from the Philippines, from an elevation of about 1200 m.

Coelogyne speciosa

When I first got this about 10 years ago, it was a very prolific bloomer. Then starting about 4 years ago, it sulked, growing some but not blooming. It seems to have re-awakened.


Renanthera pulchella

2 inch flowers on a 6 inch plant. It grows in bright shade. Not much information about it... IOSPE says it's a hot-growing epiphyte from Myanmar. But for me, it grows just fine outside.


Epidendrum lacustre 'Wow Fireworks' AM/AOS
(purple Panama form)

This plant is my pride and joy. It is super-vigorous - it was divided about 3 years ago, and the two pieces that I kept, each in a 2 gallon pot, are climbing out their pots again. The secret to this species is "full sun, sopping wet". I grow it hanging in the brightest spot in my yard, with the L. anceps. One year, I thought maybe too heavy to hang, placed it just below this area on the bench with the Cymbidiums, and the color was very pale. To get this intense purple, it needs to toast. To handle the "sopping wet" part, I have it potted mostly in spaghnum, filled in with some small bark. So the L. anceps (mounted or in baskets with little medium) dry out, the Cyms in small bark stay damp, and Epi. lacustre stays quite wet, with the same watering for all.

Angraecum urschianum

A 1 cm (3/8 inch) flower with a 10 cm (4 inch) spur. Grows shady and damp.

Dendrobium loddigesii

Blooms on old, leafless canes. I dry it out somewhat in winter. The contrast of the pink flower with the egg-yolk yellow throat is dramatic.

Dendrobium toressae

Note thumb for scale. This species forms a mat. Color in the leaves indicats that it is getting close to the maximum light, though it is grown quite shady.

Dendrobium rindjaniense

Interesting bumpy canes. it seems to bloom just on the tip of an old, leafless cane.

Scaphosepalum swertifolium ssp. exiguum

Flowers are only about 1/2 inch, but it is now producing quite a few of them. The yellow is the first thing one sees, butg the detail revealed by a photograph is quite beautiful.

Sophronitis bicolor (Cattleya dichroma)

A casualty of the reclassification process... when Sophronitis got lumped into Cattleya, the species name "bicolor" was already taken. A switch from Latin to Greek kept the concept. The briliant yellow sidelobes of the lip make the colors really "pop". This is the best blooming by far for me - along with the three flowers open initially, there are two more buds that will open about the time that the first batch fades.

Masdevallia colossus

An approximately 4 inch flower, with heavy substance.

Luisia morsei

Flowers cluster at the base of the terete leaves of this Vandaceous species from southern China. 1/2 inch flower, best appreciated in a photograph.

Arpophyllum giganteum

The inflorescences remind me of candles. Hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers - a few years ago one hung around enough for a photo, but usually they are so fast that they disappear faster than the thought to snap a picture.

Maxillaria fractiflexa

A large,and intriguing flower. Three or four spikes, so this one will be in bloom for awhile.

Dendrobium regium

Delicate flowers float above the plant.

Coelogyne nitida

A compact plant with crystalline white flowers, the golden pattern in the throat is a beautiful contrast. Grows fairly shady and damp.

Maxillaria scalariformis

This plant blooms at least twice a year, in the fall as well as the spring. Andy Phillips is able to grow these outside all year, but I have lost several in the winter and can't figure out why. Now, I move the plants into the greenhouse for the coldest months, and have been rewarded with vigorous growth and blooming. It is critical that these never dry out - I grow them in sphagnum.

Trichopilia tortilis

I have found Trichopilias to be tricky - they tend to prefer a fairly narrow temperature range. I grow it very shady, and try to keep it as cool as possible.

In the greenhouse...

Zootrophion alvaroi

The flowers look like little baloons. This is as open as they get. Wonder what could possibly be the pollinator!

Dendrobium capituliflorum

Not much color, but LOTS of flowers, arranged like pompoms, mainly on old leafless canes.

Dendrobium auriculatum

This plant blooms on and off all year. Flowers are sometimes sweetly fragrant. I have two of these, one mounted and one in a pot. The one in the pot grows and blooms much better, it seems to appreciate the extra moisture. It can bloom on both leafed and leafless canes.

Psychopsis papilio

One of my oldest (about 20 years) orchids. It grew in the upstairs hallway of the condo that I used to have, and now lives in the greenhouse. It doesn't like to be repotted, so I have done that very seldom. The spikes are 3-4 ft long, and bloom sequentially for years. (Don't cut spikes until they are crispy all the way down, even when the tip of a spike is done, it can produce side branches).