The One Word Photo Challenge this week is Strawberry. As you see from the color examples above it is a lovely color (do not disagree! JK). I’m happy to say I have some great images for this of some more orchids from the Grand Valley Orchid Society 2015 Show (Click Here to see Clo. Justine Herrera from the show).
I have four different Orchids to show you, however two of them are actually the same hybrid. They’re a great example of variety that exists not only within the Orchid family but also between hybrids. When grown by seed you’re almost always going to find some difference between sibling plants, in fact they can differ tremendously a lot like people. As I’ve said before when you see all those Orchids in the big box stores that look alike what you’re seeing are clones, and of course that’s why they look alike because they are! So I’ll start with the two pics of the same hybrid.
This is Phragmipedium Seymour Tower. Phragmipediums are members of Cypripedium which also encompasses Paphiopedilum. I do have a Phrag. in my collection however it seems I’ve not been able to keep it very happy (pretty sure I don’t water it enough). (Stay tuned, in the future I will post my pic from last summer of my Phrag. Olaf Gruss.) Members of the Cypripedium tribe/alliance tend to like a lot of water, I do believe it’s fair to say especially Phragmipediums. A lot of Orchids are epiphytes, that is they grow on trees, however many if not most Phragmipediums are considered terrestrial and grow in leaf litter or light soils. For more information on how to care for Phragmipediums Click Here to visit Carter and Holmes, a reputable orchid grower. Visit Marlow’s for some more information on Phrag care.
Which Phrag. Seymour Tower do you prefer?
Next up we have Ascocenda Phairot… why the ellipses? Well unfortunately I didn’t catch the entire tag of this plant in my image, as it appears that there was something else written on it. That said, this is a Vanda, another genus I do not have in my collection. The reason I don’t collect Vandas is because they require really bright light and a lot of water. I have plants that like a lot of water sure, but add to it really bright light and I really don’t think I could keep Vandas happy although I think they have some magnificent flowers and one day I may have to make it happen, even if that means growing them under lights. Click here for Carter & Holmes Vanda & Ascocenda care advice. For the record this was one of those tricky plants for me to photograph and get the color just right. It has some strawberry in it but is also a bit more orange in hue. 😉 See Clo. Justine Herrera in the back?
Finally my last shot for this challenge is Brassolaeliocattleya or Blc. Booth Lee Venice. This is a hybrid of the Cattleya Alliance. It is considered an intergeneric hybrid, that is it has at least one ancestor species from each of the following genera: Brassovola, Cattleya, and Laelia. For more information on Blc. visit this Wikipedia entry. (Orchid names can certainly get confusing. To make matters worse there are a lot of names that have been “retired” and a new one used in its place. However people continue to use the name, so if you get into Orchids, you’ve been forewarned.)
I do have some Catt. hybrids in my collection (you may remember Lc. Mini Symphony ‘Elfin Blue’ or Slc. Jewel Box ‘Dark Waters’) though honestly I have more that haven’t flowered yet than those that have. Pretty sure at least one of those are a Blc. Hopefully this year I’ll be able to take that back and post lovely bloom pics for you. That said Catts are another alliance that prefer really bright light in order to bloom and be happy. But again, like in my last One Word Challenge for Beige Orchids exist along spectrums; some will like super bright light and others may be perfectly happy in moderate lighting not unlike conditions you’d put a Phalaenopsis in. Catts are also an alliance that can tolerate drying out between waterings, whereas some genera or species do not like to dry out at all. My problem with Catts is that I manage to rot them. This is typically caused by some bacteria or fungi but even more common this can occur if you get water inside a new growth and it doesn’t dry fast enough, too much watering (which is hard for me to do), maybe you watered too late in the day and with cooler temps and not enough air circulation a growth or the whole plant could begin to rot. Yes, air circulation is very important with Orchids, so if you’re a collector/grower and don’t already know it, get a small fan to keep near your plants (unless of course you have a ceiling fan ;)).
Cattleyas are known for some huge spectacular frilly flowers. But then there are also others that aren’t much for frilly but instant have that lovely “star” shape if you will and really waxy petals and sepals. I don’t have any of these big guys because I just don’t have the room to devote to one or two plants (they really can get pretty big as plants). My biggest one, Slc. Jewel Box ‘Dark Waters’, is considered a compact plant. This is the only one I know to have multiple blooms on a spike, that I have. All of my other Catts are minis, well I do have some compacts that are seedlings yet and won’t bloom for several years. And yes that’s how it works when you buy an Orchid seedling. So if you’re in a greenhouse, on Ebay, or at a show and you see some small plants that seem comparatively cheap, ASK because those may well be seedlings (thus there size and reduced price) which means – depending on the genus/species – it could be years before you see a bloom and that’s if you keep it happy. A blooming size Orchid is just that, it should bloom on the next new growth if its newest hasn’t already. A near-blooming size Orchid should bloom in the next 12-18 months and seedlings depend on their size/age and especially genus/species whether or not they’re a couple years away or more. This goes for all Orchids not just Catts. And again I can’t emphasize enough that they all very as my Phal. keikis bloomed around 2 years of age. I’ve even heard of some Catts & Paphs taking 10 years to bloom! Crazy… Click here to see a general Google image search of Cattleyas. And remember, stay tuned for more Orchid show pics, more of my collection, and well just more more! Visit Carter & Holmes again for how to care for Catts and their hybrids.