Sunday, April 10, 2011

Aerangis hyaloides

Miniature orchids don't get much cuter than Aerangis hyaloides. They are perfect scale miniature versions of larger more familiar species like A. biloba or A. citrata, and that of course increases their cuteness factor by many orders of magnitude.

When I saw compots of this species for sale by H&R Orchids at the SEPOS/Longwood show, for only $50, I flipped and immediately bought one. Not only were the plants all fantastically green and healthy, they were all in flower. Well not all. But nearly every one that was big enough had at least 1 spike and the pot was peppered with sweet crystalline white flowers.

Considering what individual blooming-size plants cost...yeah. No brainer. So today I finally took the compot apart, and ended up with a simply ridiculous number of mature plants and babies. 12 with spikes!! and another 10 that are nearly blooming size. I potted them in sphagnum moss in tiny plastic pots, for now. The biggest ones are solo, the next size are sharing pots in pairs; the tiniest ones got a new compot arrangement for now.

Having wonderful adorable little planties to trade or sell is a good thing! Now to find ideal spots for the big ones I'm actually keeping...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Anoectochilus albo-lineatus

Jewel orchids fill me with wonder. Even simple "ordinary" Ludisia discolor charms and amazes me with its beautiful deep velvety leaves sparkling with golden crystals.

Anoectochilus albolineatus is fairly small, I suppose, for a jewel orchid, and doesn't make many leaves before it flowers. There is nothing especially spectacular about its foliage -- as sparkly and lovely as it is, I wouldnt' be able to tell it apart from most other Anoectochilus-es at a glance. But when I spotted them for sale at the Longwood Gardens show -- at a mere $10 apiece!!!! -- I snapped up four of the little darlings. Each darling consisting of 2 tiny darlings -- so eight?

A couple of the growths were kind of limp, doubless due to the trauma of show transportation. Since drought = death to these delicate dainties, I had to figure out impromptu terraria for them. I stripped off the outer layers of sphagnum moss from their tiny root systems and carefully tucked them into clear plastic wine tumblers with a nice moist layer of fresh clean sphagnum. I covered them loosely with a little plastic wrap. The photo shows the result. (One was limper than the rest, and that one is in a larger plastic covered dish along with other plants needing a bit of spa treatment. It's perked up nicely.)

I remember a friend of mine once nursing along a tiny scrap of A. roxburghii, using fresh live sphagnum moss in a brandy snifter. Things kept nibbling at it, and finally it did rot away, but that high humidity did keep it going a long time. I appreciate the hardiness of Ludisias all the more, now.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Habenaria medusa, or Unbridled Optimism

I happen to love terrestrial orchids of all sorts, and lately have been making real efforts to grow more varieties. Modest success with fairly easy plants such as Ludisia discolor v. alba, Stenosarchos Vanguard and Stenoglottis sceptrodes is one thing; modest success with Habenaria rhodochila is a pleasant thing indeed. (I refuse to speak of my numerous attempts to cultivate Macodes petula. Suffice to say I will Try Try Again.) So I recently obtained two Habenaria medusa tubers with nice healthy sprouts. I love H. medusa. I have seen it alive and in person, and this is how it looks:

Habenaria medusae

Or at any rate, this is how it looks when my friend Lenny grows it. This is another view of another plant grown by my friend Marc:

Habenaria medusa

That is to say, when grown by people who know what they're doing. This, on the other hand, is what I have to work with:

I've potted them in the same mix in 2 different pots: Peat-Lite soil-less mix combined with seedling orchid mix (fir bark, perlite, charcoal) and scraps of osmunda (from a pretty old bag I kept around for nostalgia I guess). One is in plastic, one in clay.

Along with the other terrestrials I'll be tracking their progress pretty closely. I'd like to not screw these up...