Monday, January 31, 2011

Cattleya percivaliana (?) Suggestion

Here are the two plants side by side. The one I was trying to talk myself into believing was a Cattleya percivaliana and a real Cattleya percivaliana. Seen like that, there is no question that they are not the same species. Aside from the flower comparison, the pseudobulbs and leaves are different.

Nat suggested in the comments that it might be a Cattleya lueddemanniana and I think he is right.

•   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •

Correction: both of my presentations will be 2pm this weekend. Stop by and say 'Hi' and help fill in the audience. I will be giving giving stuff away. No t-shirts, just plant bits.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sonoma County Orchid Society Show and Sale

Next weekend the SCOS is holding our annual show and sale. Click here to see a slide show from last year's show. This is a medium sized event as these things go. Lots to see and great shopping. The show fills the "big room" at the Veterans Building.

I am doing backbulb and mounting presentations at 2pm Saturday and 12 noon on Sunday. The presentations will go an hour or so and I will be giving orchid pieces away. I will be on the hall pretty much non-stop both days.

If you have never been to a club show and sale this is a good one to start with. It is big enough to give visitors plenty to do and see. And it is a good warm-up for the Pacific Orchid Exposition in San Francisco in March.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Clay Pots and Sphagnum

I am slowly becoming a convert to growing Cattleya and Laelia in clay and sphagnum. Clay pots are heavy and expensive relative to plastic and I like square pots better than round ones. But one of the best growers of this group, Steve Christoffersen, uses this method with great success.

What has stopped my from trying this method has been the wetness of my greenhouse. I have a hard enough time getting Laelia anceps through the winter in rock.

Over the 2 1/2 years I have had access to the greenhouse space in Sonoma I have had a chance to see how clay and sphagnum works and I'm impressed. The several plants I have in clay and sphagnum are doing better than any other potting method.

But I can't be certain of long-term access to Sonoma. What I am planning in the next two months is building a sheltered, unheated space. It is space I had used to summer my plants in my pre-greenhouse days. The Napa weather is fine for Laelia anceps and if I could keep them dry in winter I can grow them outdoors.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Neofinetia falcata

Neofinetia falcata - Flower photo by Richard LindbergLast August I bought a replacement Neofinetia falcata. I had a pretty nice one but when we got our dog about a year ago, it took me 3 or 4 months to get the greenhouse so that I could work in it and keep the dog out. Neofinetia falcata - Plant photo by Richard LindbergIn that time I lost a few plants because she grabbed them and took them into the back yard to play.

Neofinetia falcata grows in Japan, Korea and the Ryukyu Islands. The species grows on deciduous trees and get more light in winter. They are fragrant and tolerate a wide range of temperatures. The genus Neofinetia (Neof) contains 3 species from Japan, Korea and the Ryukyu Islands.

This plant is a single-fan seedling mounted on a 3x4-inch piece of cork bark. It was in the pot with the larger plant. My first thought was that I had broken off a fan but I don't see a rhizome. Sometimes a seedling gets lost in another plant as it grows and I think that happened here.

It is not yet attached to the cork. There are live roots but there hasn't been growth. I am hoping that the increased light as we get into spring will get growth started. The larger Neofinetia falcata has some new growth now.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rhyncholaelia digbyana

Rhyncholaelia digbyana - Flower photo by Richard LindbergI got this Rhyncholaelia digbyana in December and I was very happy to get it. My original plan was to let it stay without disturbing it until the next growth cycle. This week I changed my mind. I repotted AND divided it.

Rhyncholaelia digbyana grows from southern Mexico to Costa Rica. It is cool to warm growing, fragrant, needs bright light and blooms in summer. It is used in many hybrids. It is often called Brassavola digbyana. Rhyncholaelia digbyana divided and repotted - Flower photo by Richard LindbergThe genus Rhyncholaelia (Rhynch) contains 2 species that were formerly included in Brassavola. They grow in Central America and are fragrant tropical epiphytes needing bright light.

The reason for the change of heart was that I more closely examined the medium. I worked the plant loose and slid it out of the pot. My first impression that it was potted in lava rock was wrong. While there was lava on top, the pot contained mostly sphagnum moss.

I had cleaned off the sphagnum to get a closer look at the roots. It had seemed from looking at the plant from the top that there were pretty good roots, but un-potting told a different story. The newest growth was the only part of the plant than had live roots.

I took the lead with five pseudobulbs to be one division and the three oldest pseudobulbs as the second. Both of these are in plastic pots and rock.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Plant and flower pictures

Flower photo by Richard LindbergFor almost all of the collected species and many common hybrids it is possible to find a good flower picture. has thousands of flower pictures and Google search is fair at matching pictures to the search phrase.

Plant photo by Richard LindbergThere doesn't seem to be a resource for plant pictures. There are written descriptions that no doubt conjure up a visual for a botanist, but for me, not so much.

Pictures of my collection plants on my website don't pretend to be part of that kind of resource, but they are valuable to me. I can get an idea of the growth since the time since the picture was taken. I have made it a goal to have an overall picture of each of my plants. I am getting there but there are still plenty of listings without a plant photo.

I have decided to start taking a second picture of the plant. This will be a closeup of the mount or pot giving some interesting detail about the plant. This will be a slow process and will proceed as I update the overall picture. It is not twice as much work to do two photos of a plant, and I have worked out a way to have the new pictures added to the computer-generated web pages.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cattleya percivaliana 'Summit'?

Cattleya percivaliana 'Summit'? - Flower photo by Richard LindbergI am seldom dissapointed to see a plant bloom. I was really looking forward to seeing this plant bloom. But after seeing this flower I felt let down. This is not Cattleya percivaliana 'Summit'. I am not 100% sure it is a species percivaliana.

Cattleya percivaliana 'Summit' - Plant photo by Richard LindbergCattleya percivaliana grows in Venezuela and Colombia in the mountains above 4000 feet near rivers. It is a large sized lithophytic plant out in the full sun. It is fragrant and blooms in the fall.

Cattleya percivaliana 'Summit' - Flower photo by Richard LindbergThis is a real Cattleya percivaliana 'Summit'. Any clone or division will be very similar and mine is not even close in shape, let alone have the rich color.

Does anybody have thoughts on identifying this? I would have to re-tag it "NOID", but I will if I am not certain about what it is.

UPDATE:I have now looked at every Cattleya percivaliana picture I can find and I now think mine is a percivaliana, but not 'Summit'. I saw some that looked like it. I won't try to guess what variety, so will simply remove the 'Summit' from the tag. The flower picture will have to do. Also, I will see if the color gets stronger after a few days open.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ansellia Gigantea

Colin is a member of the orchid club in Hermanus located on the coast between the southern most point of Africa and Cape Town. He sent me a picture of an Ansellia Gigantea. It was taken near the Kruger National Park at the Jejane Private Nature Reserve, a place he goes often.

Ansellia Gigantea

I know next to nothing about African orchids. I have seen slide shows, that's about it. South Africa looks like a great place as a vacation destination and the coast east of Cape Town is now on my list of places I would like to spend a month exploring.

I particularly like Colin's picture because I can see the plant where it is growing. Sometimes in situ pictures just show a green spot on a tree trunk.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Free Laelia lobata Coerulea 'Paulo Hoppe'

Laelia lobata Coerulea 'Paulo Hoppe' - Flower photo by Richard LindbergWhen I walk around the greenhouse nothing puts a spring in my step and a twinkle in my eye as much as seeing a backbulb division sprouting. Yesterday it was Laelia lobata Coerulea 'Paulo Hoppe' that brightened my day.

The genus Laelia (L) has a few species in Mexico and parts of Central America. is still listing the lobata as a Laelia, this week at least. Laelia lobata grows in Brazil on the coast on rocks exposed to full sun and ocean spray. It is cool to hot growing, fragrant and blooms in spring.

Laelia lobata Coerulea 'Paulo Hoppe' sproutingI removed these backbulbs a few months ago. My collection plant had grown to the edge of the pot and needed to be centered. These pseudobulbs have dead roots, the result of not cutting back on watering early enough in the fall a couple of years ago.

I want to spread the joy so this is January's free orchid. Same rules as usual: someone who has not had one of these free orchids before, make a comment here before 4pm PDT Friday. You pay $5.50 shipping, continental US only. After you comment, go here to get my direct e-mail address. Include "Free Orchid" in the subject so that my spam filter know what to do with it.

PLEASE consider whether you have the conditions to grow this. It will become large and it requires very bright light and warm conditions. Not for the indoor grower, wait 'til next month.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mounting orchids on Cork bark

The wonderful thing about orchids for a lazy slow-paced person such as myself is that very little happens quickly. The Laelia lundii divisions are a perfect example. I made the divisions in October and only yesterday got around to actually mounting them. They are perfectly fine.

Laelia lundii divisions FINALLY mounted

But this post is more about mounting technique than Laelia lundii. I have a mounting rule that I broke on two of the five mounts I did yesterday. The rule is "always attach the plant in two places even if one seems like enough".

After checking the mounts to see how stable the plant was I took two of them off and reattached them. The most important thing in mounting is making sure that the plant does not move at all.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Royal Horticultural Society Horticultural Database

‘The Royal Horticultural Society Horticultural Database’, available at‘The Royal Horticultural Society Horticultural Database’, available at is an incredible resource for insight into orchid hybrids. Not all named hybrids are registered, especially Phals. Still, I find most of the plants where I am interested in are registered.

Cattlianthe Molly Tyler - Photo by Richard LindbergThe function I use most is the grex name search. When I get an orchid the first thing I do is try to verify that the tag is correct. That can be a little difficult what with all the orchid name changes. I have found that the most productive way is to enter the grex name only. For example, the tag on this plant said "Lc Molly Tyler". I searched only for "molly tyler".

In the case of "molly tyler" there is only one result but sometimes there are several. Most of them can be eliminated as obviously not the match you are looking for because of the genus name.

‘The Royal Horticultural Society Horticultural Database’, available at is often not quite this easy. The "Synonym Genus Name" matches my tag so I am satisfied I have the right plant. Both of the parents have changed genus so that genus is hard to predict. That is why I leave it out on the first search.

The next step, even if I can't find the orchid in the RHS database, is a Google search looking for plant or flower pictures and forum discussions. That sometimes yields a name that can be found in the RHS database. Sometimes, I get nothing. One tag took more than a year before I stumbled on the correct spelling of the name.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Paphiopedilum Dellaina

Paphiopedilum Dellaina - Flower photo by Richard LindbergThat this Paphiopedilum Dellaina is blooming is evidence that it is in trouble. I see this as the plant saying "OMG, I better use my energy to bloom because the end is near!"

Paphiopedilum Dellaina - Plant photo by Richard LindbergPaphiopedilum (Paph) contains 100 species in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. They have no pseudobulb so need moderate shade, good humidity and regular year round watering with good air circulation. They are generally slow growing. Leaves indicate prefered temperature with those that are mottled grow warmer, and the solid green with only one flower grow intermediate to cool.

Paphiopedilum Dellaina is Paphiopedilum delenatii x Paphiopedilum chamberlainianum.

Paphiopedilum Dellaina - Plant photo by Richard LindbergWhen I took it out of the pot I could see that it had lost a lot of root and was way over potted. Part of the problem is my lack of interest and knowledge about Paphs and Phrags. I was thinking of this plant as a terrestrial and when I looked the parents up, I see that they are lithophytes.

The flower is gone, all the brown parts are gone. It has some root and should recover. It will be in a much smaller pot this time. I am also going to inspect the other Paphs in Sonoma.