Thursday, November 20, 2008

Laelia anceps

Laelia anceps grows in Mexico and Honduras. It is warm to hot growing and needs a dry winter rest and bright light. If it is dry it can winter outside if there is no hard freeze.

The genus Laelia contains about 60 species from Mexico through South America. They are highly varied. Just by looking at them you can't tell them apart from Cattleya.

I have eight varieties of Laelia anceps. I didn’t set out to collect them particularly. In fact, one guideline I have is to own only one of a species. But the beautiful, long lasting flowers call out to me. The variety of shapes and colors are wonderful.

Laelia anceps is not a good candidate for indoor growing. The plants themselves are large and the spikes are very long. Even in my greenhouse with its 9-foot ceilings, I have to watch the top on the spikes as they develop and be ready to move the plant to a lower hanger. At the end of each spike there is a group of fragrant flowers each four inches wide.

'Rare' is an over-used word in the orchid world. None of my Laelia anceps plants are rare. The 'Bolder Valley', however, is a little bit special. This plant is a division of the plant exhibited by Pat Trumble of Boulder, Colorado, which was awarded the HCC by the AOS in 1983.

Even with the size of the plants and the length of the spikes, I find them well worth the space. I just may have gone a bit overboard having as many plants as I do, but having flowers open all winter is very nice.

If you have the space and really bright light, I recommend getting one for your collection. You will be glad you did.

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