Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Laelia ghillanyi flamea and a few other new additions

So I've been hunting for a rupicolous Laelia to try ever since I heard Roy Tokunaga of H&R Nurseries speak at a local orchid society meeting earlier this month. Although the lecture wasn't specifically about rupicolous Laelias, seeing pictures of those tiny bright flowers and cute little plants growing in the crevasses of rock faces inspired me to try these supposedly difficult to cultivate orchids. I ended up picking this Laelia ghillanyi flamea I found on eBay, as there were none for sale at the meeting. To my luck this one came potted. Any other plant and I would've asked for it to be sent bare root, but from what I've read, these hate to be repotted. The mix appears to be charcoal, tree fern fiber, and some type of white rocks (not perlite) that I'm not familiar with.

Laelia ghillanyi flamea with my hand for size reference

While Roy Tokunaga brought an impressive variety of beautifully grown orchids to sell at the meeting, another tiny beauty was the one that needed to come home with me, Cattleya aclandiae. This is another supposedly difficult to cultivate species. C. aclandiae is a dwarf Brazilian species that grows near the ocean, receiving windy days and little rain, so it likes to be grown on the dry side. I potted this one in LECA to give the roots something to wrap around and a wood slat basket to help it dry out easier. Why can't I be drawn to easy to grow species? I'm forever picking the most difficult before I even realize what I've gotten myself into. Of course I did the research on how to take care of it after I got it home.

Cattleya aclandiae 'Richter's Best' x 'Black Hole'
I also picked up this seed grown Myrmecophila brysiana at the meeting, with three new leads. Myrmecophila is quickly becoming one of my favorite genus of orchid, but due to the expense and rarity of buying mature plants, seedlings it is. One day I'll have flowers to show off, and I just can't resist picking up another species of Myrmecophila to add to my collection.

Myrmecophila brysiana 'Orange Tart'
One of my favorite things about growing plants as a hobby is there is always a new way to challenge yourself and your skills. You can even be the best at what you're currently growing, but a new addition can send you back to beginner status and you have to learn all over again. It never gets old, boring, or too easy to me, which is probably why it's the only hobby that I've stuck with for so long.

I hope you all are having a great week, and your plants are growing well! Sorry the updates haven't been as often recently, but you know how things go, sometimes you get so busy you rarely have time to sit down at all. 

13 comments:

  1. Agreed, growing new plants is challenge!..By the way I got two seedlings of grammatophyllum scriptum (one of them is in flower spike)..thanks for giving me good info...

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    1. So glad you found some! Did you find the miniature G. scriptum var kiilani, or go for the full size scriptum?

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    2. Sadly no, they are not selling the miniature one...But I think I will find one in the future (I save some budget for this hehe)

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  2. Why can't I be drawn to easy to grow [orchids]?

    I increasingly believe that no such thing exists, and that I am at the center of some kind of massive conspiracy to try to convince me otherwise. To what end, I don't know. But people are sure putting a lot of work into it, so it must be important.

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    1. Ok, I won't try and convince you to actually try more orchids, because it's not really important. I can see, with the amount of people that read your blog, that orchid people might get offended at your anti-orchid attitude and posts. They're a serious group of people. Reminds me of a quote in Eric Hansen's book, Orchid Fever, that orchid people are only second to dog show people in terms of weirdness and intensity about their hobby. Anyway, here's my opinion on your orchid issues, because I'm an outspoken person and to be fair, you did bring it up.

      There are "easy" to grow and bloom orchids, despite what Home Depot will have you believe, Phalaenopsis orchids aren't one of them. Oncidium hybrids like my hideously ugly Onc. Space Race 'Coco' is a joke to grow it's so tolerant, they're out there. Now, I think you personally have too many other plants that need considerably different culture than orchids need and you're stretched too thin to also add orchids to the mix (and have them be easy to deal with for you,) although maybe that has changed with your recent losses.

      I grow, really only 4 types of plants if you want to break it down into cultural requirements. You do a heck of a lot more than that. Then there's the problem that orchids shouldn't be watered on a schedule. That doesn't really work for them, not even if you reschedule their watering seasonally. You should also pick orchids that do well where you live, which has some trial and error (deaths) involved. That Oncidium that is easy for me may never flower for you in your conditions.

      Now I may be way off base here, but from what I've read, water and genus of orchid are just 2 of a few issues you'd have seriously trying to grow them. You would have to adapt to a totally different growing style to do well with them. It's very different from what you already do, but not any more difficult, and I think that's why people are trying to convince you that orchids are easy. They are, if you grow them how they want to be grown, which doesn't seem to be suitable for the amount of time and plants with different needs you already have going on. It just seems like one of those "you can't have it all" scenarios, and that does not make orchids hard to grow, but it does make them hard for you to grow, if you get what I mean. There might be more to it that that, but unless you are hell bent on growing them, it isn't worth getting into.

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    2. You're correct about the basic problem, of course. I can't grow as many things as I'd like, because I have too many plants to give them all individualized care. Which is both good and bad: bad because frustrating, good because I can still grow a pretty wide range of things, and from time to time that selection changes because I've changed something about the care I offer.[1] Though even when I have gone out of my way to pay extra attention to the orchids and their needs, the result has been the same, so there's also probably an element of I Just Don't Know What Orchids Need in there.

      Orchids are a particularly frustrating thing not to be able to grow, because I appreciate the flowers, and think they're interesting plants, and see them everywhere, all the time.[2] I mean, if Aspidistra doesn't do well for me, you know, big deal; it's only Aspidistra, I'm not missing out on much. But it's less easy to get away from orchids. (Especially not as of the last half-decade or so, when TV set decorators universally adopted huge, multiple-spike Phalaenopsis as a signifier of "classy/upscale."[3])

      It's not something I usually spend my afternoons angsting about or anything, but the situation with the phal has really underlined it for me. I got a couple months to think at last! I've finally rebloomed an orchid! I really can grow them!, and then whatever happened, happened, and I got a strong dose of disappointment on top of the usual and ongoing orchid frustration. Which is why it's an issue for me now, more than normal. You understand.

      -

      [1] E.g. Dieffenbachia used to be hard for me, and Sansevieria used to be easy; then they switched somehow, so now I can't do Sansevieria but Dieffenbachia is no problem.
      [2] (I should probably either come to terms with the fact that orchids and I just don't work at the moment, or stop going to the orchid show every spring.)
      [3] (And also, sometimes, "Asian.")

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    3. Oh, and --

      no orchid people have ever said anything hostile or weird or etc. about my anti-orchid sentiment; I'd hope that this is because it's obviously insincere anti-orchid sentiment. (Or at least deeply conflicted.)

      Though I suppose it's also possible that they're more a rumor-spreading, back-stabbing, passive-aggressive freezing-out bunch than they are nasty comment-leavers.

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    1. They are, I highly recommend H&R, and at least this one particular eBay seller that had the Laelias.

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  4. I like the way you placed the plants. These hanging pots are great. I think I'll get some, too.

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    1. Thank you! These work real well for the mostly constant humidity of the climate here, if you live in a similar climate or grow in a greenhouse, they work great for anything that likes to be dry by night. If your humidity isn't high most of the year, you're in for a lot of extra watering. Growing this was is something that never worked out for me in the northeast, so just an fyi to keep it in mind for your climate.

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  5. Love your rupicolous! Chaz has great plants. I went a little nutz last month and would up with 11 of his plants. I probably lost this one to you😆. Enjoy

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    1. I bought this one back in 2013, so hopefully he'll continue to have more? I do agree though, his plants come in great shape, happy to see he still has a ton of Laelias on eBay.

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