A medium-sized, evergreen, epiphytic orchid, with upright pseudobulbs, up to 75cm tall. Each pseudobulb carries one strap-shaped, dark green, leathery leaf up to 60cm long and 3-4cm wide. The orchid flowers in spring with upright, dense raceme up to 40cm tall, carrying large number of small, spirally arranged, mauve, purple-pink flowers. The flowers are arranged upside down, with each flower measuring approximately 0.8cm.
Ultimate height0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height5–10 years
Ultimate spread0.5–1 metres
MoistureWell–drained, Moist but well–drained
Colour & scent
- Partial shade
- Full sun
East–facing or North–facing or South–facing or West–facing
- Native to the UK
- Clump forming, Tufted
- Name status
- Plant range
- Mexico to Venezuela, W Indies (thoughout range of genus)
How to grow
Grow in an open, bark-based orchid compost with addition of perlite and sphagnum moss. Provide enough bright filtered light, but keep away from direct sunlight or a heating source. May be grown in intermediate to warm conditions with temperatures between 12-30 °C. Seasonal and daily fluctuations of temperatures encourage flowering. Average humidity of 50-70% is sufficient and watering should be frequent enough during growing season (approximately once per week), with being reduced by half during winter months. Large specimens produce best flowering, however it is desirable to repot plants every few years to avoid stale, disintegrated potting mix.
Propagation by seed is only possible in a controlled laboratory environment. Mature plants may be divided when the plant overgrows its container. Each division should have at least 3 older growths 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
No pruning required
Generally disease-free. Poor air movement may cause bacterial of fungal rots. Good hygiene practice and sterilising cutting tools prevent the spread of virus diseases.
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