Friday, February 5, 2010

Tolumnia - Still learning

Tolumnia velutina - Flower photo by Richard LindbergThe genus Tolumnia (Tolu) contains about 20 species growing throughout the Caribbean. They grow on twigs and even grass. They are very easy to over water.

I have had 4 plants of this genus, 3 of which are dead now. I got the Tolumnia velutina to bloom once.

The problem was over watering. I went for a long time thinking that you can't over water a mounted orchid. I had them high up in the brightest part of the greenhouse, but also in the misting area.

I got a tiny piece of Tolumnia sylvestris after the SCOS potting party two years ago. I didn't know what to do with it and ended up with it sitting on the cover of my thermostat. This is in the "splash zone" but there is no direct watering.

Tolumnia velutina - Flower photo by Richard LindbergTolumnia sylvestris grows in Cuba on clumps of grass. It is warm to hot growing, fragrant and needs bright light.

During spring cleaning last year I noticed it, and it had grown! I mounted it on cork with almost no sphagnum, just one thread between the fishing line and the rhizome. I moved it to the edge of the misting zone and it has done very well. I have a real hope that it will bloom this year.


  1. I too have had no success with tolumnias. My problem is underwatering. Info I have read suggests early morning daily misting. I don't usually have time to mist any plants daily :(


  2. I grow my Tolumnia hybrid watered every day with very strong air movement; it sits directly under a fan in my vivarium. I have read that in nature Tolumnias are treated to frequent, heavy, early morning rains followed by windy and dry afternoons. After having duplicated this condition more accurately my plant responded with new growth.