Friday, August 12, 2011

Laelia purpurata 'Schristeriana'

Laelia purpurata 'Schristeriana' - Flower photo by Richard LindbergHere is another awkward potting situation. It started off as a rootless two backbulb division. Then it sprouted, but the new growth went sideways while I wasn't paying enough attention. The new pseudobulb matured and grew some roots but was a little smaller than the previous one.

Laelia purpurata grows in Brazil and needs a dry winter rest. It is fragrant, cool to hot growing and needs bright light. It can bloom any time from late spring into fall.

The next growth has started. With this one I am going to remove the oldest (leafless) pseudobulb and orient the newest one almost straight up with the second oldest tilted. The developing growth should grow up between the angles, fairly close to the angle of the newer one. I am hoping that will result in an acceptable grouping of pseudobulbs.

Instead of taking it back to Sonoma, I am leaving it in Napa in the new growing area. It can take the temperatures here at least through October and by then the direction of the growth will be establihsed. Then I will take everything except the Laelia anceps to winter in Sonoma.


  1. Forgive a neophyte's question: could you winter your Laelia purpurata outdoors like the Laelia anceps, since you're in a mild-winter area of California?

    I'm in California myself (Central Valley) and I have no access to a greenhouse. I'm hoping to collect temperature tolerant varieties that can withstand a California winter.

    Thanks! Love your blog and your orchids. :)

  2. The Mexican desert has a climate like California as far as temperature range in concerned. There are a few orchids that do fine as long as they don't get rained on. Laelia albida is one that comes to mind. A clue to look for is both 'Mexico' and 'dry winter rest'.

    In Napa we get frost but ice on puddles is rare and having the ice remain through the day is almost unheard of.

    Cymbidium hybrids will also do well. There are many smaller varieties.

  3. May I ask how do you grow the rootless backbulbs in terms of media? Do you use Sphag?

  4. The medium depends partly on the species. For all Cattleya or Laelia species or hybrids I use rocks. This is to hold the backbulb upright and to make sure water doesn't remain on it.

    As far as watering, a splash once in awhile until there is growth. Don't increase watering much even in summer until the roots are more than an inch long and you are ready to plant in bark.

    For Bulbophyllum backbulbs I use sphagnum and keep it from drying out.