Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The worst Maxillaria tenuifolia ever

I love Maxillaria tenuifolia. The flowers are interesting, pretty, and they smell exactly like coconut. It's truly uncanny. My Maxillaria tenuifolia is the worst one ever. It was given to me because the previous owner couldn't get it to bloom, but it was supposed to be an especially nice one so I took it. Then for the next five years, I tried getting it to bloom. Nothing.

It grew, but it was mature the whole time I had it, so that wasn't the issue. I read it liked more water than the average orchid, done and given, still nothing. I gave it a proper winter rest, nope, still hates me. Summers outdoors in good light and a nice breeze, no, you are terrible.

I didn't have the heart to throw it out, I love Maxillaria tenuifola, remember? Every time I saw one for sale anywhere else I considered purchasing it, just so I'd have one that I at least knew was physically capable of flowering.

While my brother, (who I've helped enable into being an orchid hoarder too,) was visiting he decided he wanted to try a piece of my Maxillaria tenuifola.I warned him, this plant will not flower. He decided he wanted a piece anyway. So I literally just grabbed a chunk and separated it from the mass of pseudobulbs and repotted the rest of the plant, while he repotted his piece.

That's when I discovered..... IT. A strange looking growth. On his piece that I tore off my plant without any consideration. I flat out told him that if it turned out to be a flower bud I would punch him in the trachea. I've never seen a bud on this stupid plant before, how am I supposed to know what it looks like just starting to grow out? I've waited five years for this plant to flower and now I won't even get to see it, because it's not actually on my plant anymore and you're leaving to go home soon? Fill the next few sentences in your mid with colorful expletives.

But all isn't lost! No one's getting punched in the trachea after all. I have one bud that flowered on the pseudobulbs that remain! I discovered it a few days later when watering

 One flower, (I guess we can count it as having had two). I'm still kind of laughing because it really only sort of redeemed itself.


  1. Haha, plants test our patience every way. I would have given your brother the half without the flower spike, but then he would have the one with the flower above anyway, hmm. Anyhow, did your brother's one flower? Beautiful orchid by the way.

    1. The spikes were just barely emerging, almost looked the same as a new growth, but the tip was just slightly different. This the quickest orchid from the start of a spike emerging to flower that I've ever seen, maybe about a week or two, so his piece already flowered days before mine.

      At the end of the day I am actually glad to give him a piece with a flower bud already on it, and would've just been happy to find out this orchid hasn't been a complete waste of my time, (even if I only got a picture back of the bloom.) Had I known at the time where the buds were emerging from I would've divided it exactly the same, so everybody got one. Really everything worked out better than expected!

  2. Ela é linda, tem um aroma gostoso e rapidinha vira uma enorme touceira.

  3. Thanks! They do grow quickly, this one has quadrupled in size since I've had it.

  4. I read that Maxillaria tenufolia, in situ, endures a dry spell in Spring. This may have something to do with flowering... lovely plants!

    1. I have given up on giving anything special treatment anymore. Everything gets a dry to dry-ish winter rest when it's cool here. This year, Maxillaria tenuifolia hasn't stopped blooming since spring so clearly my neglect over the winter is working for it. Maybe my rest period in the past hadn't been long enough or significant enough. Pictures being posted soon!