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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Stanhopea Orchid

A few months ago, I bought several orchids from a lady who was disposing of her collection. I was told one of them flowered from the bottom, rather then the top. None of the orchids had tags but I recognized a couple, an oncidium for example.

I researched orchids that bloom from the bottom and discovered I had a Stanhopea, a new orchid for me. This species needs lots of water, moving air and bright light but not sun, which can burn the thin leaves. Obviously, this type of orchid cannot flower in a pot, and this one is in a wire hanging basket. The potting material is very loose, consisting of what looks like coco husk fiber and rolled up pieces of periole base from a palm tree frond.

I made some more of the palm base rolls (cut into thin pieces, soaked in water, then shaped into a loose roll) and topped up the basket. We hung the basket under the eaves where it gets good morning light. I fertilize all my orchids with Ever Green organic foliar nutrient that can be sprayed on leaves and potting material. Ever Green Fungicida Multiefecto is also a good multi-effect fungicide.

Not long ago, I noticed my Stanhopea had an inflorescence ("flower stem") coming out the bottom of the basket. Since this orchid was not in bloom when I acquired it, and there are approximately 65 species of Stanhopea, 5 natural hybrids, and dozens of man-made hybrids, it was exciting wondering what kind I had.

We watched the daily development of the flowers and recorded them. Yesterday, we woke up to the amazing display of the fully opened flowers and the incredible scent, which was almost overpowering. It drifted into the house all day, a sort of spicy vanilla odor. Stanhopea flowers only last a few days, and today we noticed a slight change from yesterday's robust display, with less scent.

September 30, 2013

The good news is that Stanhopea will consistently produce inflorescences all year if it is healthy and happy, so we have many more spectacular displays to look forward to.

October 2, 2013
October 2, 2013 - the first day the flowers are open.


October 2, 2013 - showing how the inflorescence emerges from the bottom of the basket.


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