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Some Orchids that Flower in March


Most of the epiphytic orchids that we cultivate come from a tropical belt that circles the globe along the equator. As elevation incresases, temperatures decrease. It is those high elevation orchids that comprise this selection off cool-growing species. Tropical temperatures are not as seasonal as those in temperate climates and seasonality is often initiated by rainy and dry seasons, although in the cloud forests, there is abundant moisture from fog and dew. As a rule, high elevation orchids require pure water low in dissolved salts and this requirement may be the single most important factor for certain species. While some of these orchids will tolerate daytime highs of 90ºF (32.2ºC) for short periods, other cultural factors need to be in balance. It is far safer to grow these orchids in a range between 85ºF maximum and 50ºF at night (29.4ºC and 10ºC), although the habitats for some of these species is close to being alpine. In other words, they are better able to withstand low temperatures than high temperatures. Note that the red or orange color of some of these species is an adaptation to attract bird pollinators because insects become unreliable vectors for pollen dispersal much below 60ºF (15.5ºC).

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<a href="/images/img_content/Education/Anguloa_clowesi-lg.jpg" title="Anguloa clowesii< br> Related to Lycaste, anguloas are probably best suited to the cool greenhouse. With its large, sulphur-yellow flowers, Anguloa clowesi is the showiest member of the genus. Plants can get to be quite large. If you do have space the 'tulip orchid' will make a great addition to your collection. From the mountains of Colombia and Venezuela. <br /> Photo © 2006 Greg Allikas." rel="lyteframe"> Anguloa clowesii - © 2006 Greg Allikas <a href="/images/img_content/Education/C_coccinea-lg.jpg" title="Cattleya coccinea< br> Formerly known as Sophronitis coccinea, this orchid has a rich history of cultivation. Long favored as a hobbyist plant, it also holds a prominent place as a parent of colorful miniature cattleys, 'minicatts'. Plants are small and produce a single scarlet red flower per growth that can reach 3 inches across. From the coastal mountains of southern Brazil. <br /> Cattleya coccinea 'Fire Opal'HCC/AOS grown by Peter Lin; photo © 2006 Charles Rowden." rel="lyteframe">Cattleya coccinea - © 2009 Greg Allikas <a href="/images/img_content/Education/Comparettia_speciosa-lg.jpg" title="Comparettia speciosa - © 2009 Greg Allikas < br /> Comparettia is a genus of ten or twelve small twig epiphytes. Plants have a small pseodobulb topped by a disproportionately large leaf. A long, wiry infloresences arises from the base of the pseudobulb. Flowers are dominated by a large lip and flower colors range from orange to deep pink. This species is from Ecuador and Peru and will light up a room with its electric orange flowers. Challenging to grow but worth the effort, comparettias are best grown on small chunks of wood or tree fern and given cloud forest conditions of high humidity and cool temperatures. Like most twig epiphytes, comparettias are ephemeral and plants may last only a few years." rel="lyteframe">Comparettia speciosa - © 2009 Greg Allikas
<a href="/images/img_content/Education/Cym_tigrinum-lg.jpg" title="Cymbidium tigrinum<br /> Looking more like a Maxillaria than your typical store-bought standard Cymbidium, Cym. tigrinum is considerably more compact than its hybrid counterparts making it a good choice for the home grower with cool conditions. Plants should be grown shady and watered and fertilized regularly during the growing season (March through October). Begin to dry plants out in the fall and withold fertilizer until new growth begins in the spring. Brighter light in winter will help encourage strong flowering. <br /> Cymbidium tigrinum 'Kathleen' HCC/AOS; photo © Vern McFarland." rel="lyteframe"> Cymbidium tigrinum - © 2009 Vern McFarland <a href="/images/img_content/Education/Den_cuthbertsonii-lg.jpg" title="Dendrobium cuthbertsonii< br> One of many desirable cool-growing dendrobiums, Dendrobium cuthbertsonii is also a compact miniature making it a good choice for the home grower. Plants can have flowers in a range of colors from orange-red to fuchsia-pink. Seeing a well-grown plant with flowers that cover the foliage of a mound-shaped plant will leave you spellbound. While challenging for the beginner, if you can provide the conditions that small, high elevation species prefer, culture can seem easy. Cool temperatures that rarely reach 80 F, pure water, high humidity and good air movement are the keys to success. Grow in small pots with a moisture retentive media such as sphagnbum moss. Flowers are long lasting and plants seem to always be in bloom. From the highlands of New Guinea. <br /> Dendrobium cuthbertsonii 'Red Parrot' CCE/AOS grown by Golden Gate Orchids; photos © 2002 Michael Gallagher." rel="lyteframe">Dendrobium cuthbertsonii - photo: © 2002 Michael Gallagher <a href="/images/img_content/Education/Masd_strobelii-lg.jpg" title="Masdevallia strobelii< br> There are so many fine species in this genus that we could easily fill all twelve squares of this photo grid with nothing but masdevallias. The genus as a whole has a huge following of devotees of both the species and their hybrids. Mostly, plants are small and make a good choice as windowsill subjects in cool climates provided that humidity can be maintained. A Wardian case or vivarium can provide a temperature and humidity-controlled environment for maintaining a collection of masdevallias. Plants should never be allowed to dry out and require pure water. While there are some 'temperature tolerant' species, most prefer cool, cloud forest conditions. A few desirable species are Masd. tovarensis, Masd. rosea, Masd. ignea, Masd. hirtzii, Masd. norops and Masd. rimarina. Masd. strobelii is from southeastern Ecuador.< br> Masdevallia strobelii 'Waterford' CCE/AOS grown by Bayard Saraduke; photo © 2003 Maurice Marrietti." rel="lyteframe"> Masdevallia strobelii - © 2003 Maurice Marrietti.
<a href="/images/img_content/Education/Mtnps_vexillaria-lg.jpg" title="Miltoniopsis vexillaria< br> Among the prettiest of the miltonias, now correctly called Miltoniopsis, Miltoniopsis vexillaria is a favorite among orchid hobbyists in its native Colombia. There are many color forms ranging from white to deep pink. The thin leaves are an attractive bluish-green, While some succeed growing members of the genus under intermediate conditions, cool culture is preferred. Pot plants in as small a pot as possible using an open, medium grade media such as fir bark. grow plants under filtered shade with good air movement. < br> Miltoniopsis vexillaria var. gloriosa 'Neira' HCC/AOS grown by David Manzur; photo © 2006 Greg Allikas. " rel="lyteframe">Miltoniopsis vexillaria - © 2006 Greg Allikas <a href="/images/img_content/Education/Paph_charlesworthii-lg.jpg" title="Paphiopedilum charlesworthi< br> This beautiful, small-growing species in this popular genus is found in Myanmar, Thailand, India and southwest China at moderately high elevations. Plants require cool temperatures and should be kept below 85 F. Small pots will help prevent rot that might result from staying too wet. Grow in shady-bright light in a media with perfect drainage keeping plants slightly drier in winter. < br> Photo © 2000 Greg Allikas." rel="lyteframe">Paphiopedilum charlesworthi - photo: © Greg Allikas <a href="/images/img_content/Education/Bollea_coelestis-lg.jpg" title="Pescatorea coelestis< br> Formerly in the genus Bollea which has been changed to Pescatorea. While there are many fine species in this and related genera of fan-leaved orchid, Pescatorea coelestis is arguably the most striking with its violet-purple flowers. Plants prefer a cool, montane climate with good air movement. Use of a moisture-retentive media will help keep plants from drying out. We have found that plants in the Zygopetalinae are prone to leaf spotting of grown in too bright light. Light suitable for Phalaenopsis seems about right making this species a good subject for home growing. From Colombia.< br> Bollea coelestis 'David Manzur' grown by David Manzur; photo © 2006 Greg Allikas. " rel="lyteframe"> Pescatorea coelestis - © 2006 Greg Allikas
<a href="/images/img_content/Education/Pths_truncata-lg.jpg" title="Pleurothallis truncata < br> This unusual orchid produces 'chains' of bright orange, round flowers from the leaf axils several times per year. A high elevation species, it prefers cool temperatures throughout the year. Plants are compact and are best grown under shady, humid conditions. Pure water is essential for successful culture. From the mountains of Ecuador< br> Photo © 2000 Greg Allikas ." rel="lyteframe">Phalaenopsis schilleriana - © 2000 Greg Allikas <a href="/images/img_content/Education/Encyc_vitellina-lg.jpg" title="Prosthechea vitellina< br /> The scarlet flowers with contrasting yellow lip command attention for Prosthechea vitellina. Six to twelve flowers are borne on an upright inflorescence held above the foliage. Formerly in the genus Encyclia. Grow in small pots of well drained media. Do not allow to dry out during the growing season and allow a decided winter rest. The species comes from high oak scrub in Mexico and Guatemala. < br> Prosthechea vitellina 'Laramie' AM/AOS grown by Bruce Embury; photo © 2009 Larry Livingston. " rel="lyteframe"> Prosthechea vitellina - exhib: Bruce Embury - photo: © Larry Livingston <a href="/images/img_content/Education/Rossioglossum_grande-lg.jpg" title="Rossioglossum grande< br> This orchid lives up to its name with its large, dramatic flowers. A must-have for many hobbyists with cool greenhouses, Rossioglossum grande enjoys the same culture as other cool-growing Onciidinae. Plants are medium large when mature and will produce 4-8 large, showy flowers per inflorescence. From montane forests in Mexico and Guatemala.< br> Rossioglossum grande 'Dene B.' HCC/AOS grown by Carol Beule; photo © 2010 Arthur Pinkers." rel="lyteframe">Rossioglossum grande - © 2009 Arthur Pinkers