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Ansellia africana

leopard orchid

A large sized, epiphytic, evergreen orchid with upright, cane-like pseudobulbs. Six or seven, green, leathery leaves are alternately arranged on the upper half of each pseudobulb. Each lance-shaped leaf is 15-50cm long and 1.5-5cm wide. The size of the plant may be variable, with each stem (pseudobulb) measuring 50-120cm. Upright flowering stems up to 85cm long emerge from the upper nodes of mature canes and carry few to many, 2-3cm large flowers. Yellow flowers are often covered with dark brown, irregular spots that vary in size and density.

Synonyms
Ansellia nilotica
Ansellia gigantea var. nilotica
see moreAnsellia gigantea
Ansellia humilis
Size
Ultimate height
1–1.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Yellow Brown Green
Summer Yellow Brown Green
Autumn Yellow Brown Green
Winter Green
Position
  • Partial shade
  • Full sun
Aspect

East–facing or South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered or Exposed
Hardiness
H1A
Botanical details
Family
Orchidaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Clump forming, Tufted
Name status

Correct

Plant range
Tropical Africa

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How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in an open, coarse bark-based orchid mix with addition of perlite and coconut chips. Provide bright light conditions, but shade from hot, direct mid-day sun. Ideal temperatures are 15°C minimum in winter and up to maximum 28 °C during summer day. Water and feed plants regularly during the growing season. Ensure that all water drains away, preventing the plant sitting too wet. Provide enough humidity by regular misting. Reduce watering and feeding in winter months and keep in a bright, sunny position. As with many orchids, they grow best when well-established and slightly pot-bound. Re-potting should be only done if the plant overgrows its container or before the potting mix starts to deteriorate - approximately once in 2-3 years. The plant should only be re-potted when the new growth appears in spring. See also indoor orchid cultivation.

Propagation

Mature plants may be divided when the plant overgrows its container. Each division should have at least 3 older pseudobulbs with a sufficient amount of stored energy and water, to support new growth and reduce stress after repotting.

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Conservatory and greenhouse
Pruning

No pruning required.

Pests

May be susceptible to mealybugs, aphids and scale insects.

Diseases

Generally disease-free.

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