Friday, November 20, 2015

New orchid babies

Just like everything else in my life, I seem to do orchid-growing in obsessive waves.  I mean, the orchids are always there, they will always be there, just not front and center all the time.  Then something special blooms (Aerangis punctata!), and suddenly I'm obsessed again.

(Stop laughing, Rachel!)

For the past few weeks, it's been orchid-fest here (and amaryllis, but we won't talk about that right now).  I caught up on the online bulletin board I follow, I researched different species, I browsed pictures on Flickr, I daydreamed about how broke I would be if I had a greenhouse.

And I had to get a few new pretties- here are the four most recent.  These are miniature species, which is good because I really don't have all that much room for new plants (especially after also getting five new amaryllis, but we won't talk about that right now).

I just really love having plants around me.

New orchids

First up is Haraella retrocalla, also known as Haraella odorata.  It's native to Taiwan, and has enchanting little yellow and red flowers that are sometimes fragrant and bloom one at a time.  My plant came to me with two spikes already started, one visible on the front of the plant below the third leaf from the top and the other hidden behind the leaf next to my index finger.

My new Haraella retrocalla (odorata)

The second plant is Lepanthopsis astrophora, native to Columbia and nearby Central and South America.  It produces spikes of little electric purple star-shaped flowers.

My new Lepanthopsis astrophora

As you can see, these are getting smaller and smaller.  The next is the tiniest of all.  It's Lepanthes telipogoniflora, also native to Columbia. It has amazing orange flowers that look like tiny satellite dishes.  You can see the remnants of a previous flower stalk there, and I can't wait to see this one bloom.  It's so tiny and perfect.

Tiny, so very tiny! My new Lepanthes telipogoniflora.

And last but not least, a mystery.  This is supposed to be Pleurothallis lewisiae, but it looks nothing like what I was expecting.  All the pictures I've seen (and the ones I saw in the wild in Costa Rica almost 20 years ago) had tiny 1/2" round flattened leaves that crept along the branch and hardly stood up at all.

I have a feeling this is not that plant, though the label says it is.  I could be wrong, though, and have emailed the grower to see what's up.  Whatever it is, it's a beautiful healthy plant and I'm feeling myself growing attached in the four days I've had it.  I'm curious to see what the blooms look like.  I just want to be sure I can give it the right conditions.


All these species, especially the last three which are in the Pleurothallid group, really need to be grown in a terrarium environment with high humidity.  Particularly here in eastern Oregon, which is very dry for much of the year.

Luckily I have this 10" glass globe vase that I've been lugging around for 20 years and finally have a use for.  It will be a mini-orchid terrarium of sorts for the Lepanthopsis and the Haraella.  The super tiny Lepanthes will get its own globe thingy, one of those glass teardrop window hangers from a craft store that came with a bromeliad air plant in it. I may or may not take that one to work so I can look at it all day.

So here's the start of the terrarium.

Terrarium start.  Note please the tailor-made orchid nook in the rock.

I found this lava rock on a hike a couple years ago, and it very conveniently has a little nook to hold a small orchid.

Lepanthopsis astrophora situated

There's the Lepanthopsis all nestled in.  The rock eventually will sit on a bed of sphagnum moss over a layer of expanded clay pellets to provide drainage and keep the moss from actually sitting in water.

It's a work in progress, and that's all I've done so far.  The Haraella is hanging from the rim of the glass globe for now because I can't decide if I want to take it off its stick mount, and the "Pleurothallis lewisiae" is too big to fit so it's in the aquarium (no water, just an enclosure to keep the humidity high) with my Angraecoid orchids for now.

Plants are fun and these are so special.  I really hope I can keep them alive.


Rachel said...

not laughing. really.

pretty cool. I think this is something I possibly would look into when we build. aka, when I'm actually home all the time to take care of plants that require some attention!

Anne said...

You guys crack me up! I'm trying to downsize my plant collection.