Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In Bloom: Smelly Things!

Enc alata x bractescensMaxillaria tenufoliaMany orchids are fragrant, but a few really stand out. Right now on our back porch we have two that are absolutely yummy. The top photo shows Epidendrum (alatum x bractescens), also known as Encyclia (alata x bractescens), has a strong but very pleasing sweet rose-like fragrance most noticeable in our environment midday. Simply step out on the porch after lunch and inhale, and you'll smell the plant 4 feet away. Like most Encyclias, the plant has a high flower count and fat, round pseudobulbs.

The second photo shows Maxillaria tenufolia. This species always shows up whenever there is a fragrance class at a show or meeting, since it has an unmistakable and irresistibly yummy coconut fragrance. The plant likes medium to high light and is something of a climber, so is a great plant to grow mounted. You can also grow it to a nice specimen size in pots or just divide it every few years to share. I've recently divided up one plant and as soon as they seem happy in their new pots I'll be listing them on Etsy.


Designs by Jenai said...

Beautiful flowers!

Jen said...

Orchids are so complex and I love them. Thanks for a great post!

devonrose said...

Very pretty! Orchids have always been my favorite, although I can never seem to get them to bloom a second time! BTW, thanks so much for visiting us:)

SapphireChild said...

Devonrose - feel free to contact me through Etsy if you want to discuss that. The most common reason orchids don't rebloom is not enough light.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julia!
I love your orchids! And I have another question - this time about an orchid Phal Newberry Bouquet Blushing Bride. I have one too and first year it was blooming all nicely, but this year it started putting out buds and before they all would open, they all started to dry out and fall. I did water it. Maybe be I overwatered it? It is on a west windowsill. Too much sun? Now the stalk dried out too, so cut it off, but it doesn't look like it is going to make it. What am I to do with it? Help. Thanks!

SapphireChild said...

Hi Tatyana,

That is called "bud blast" and can be caused by many things, including water stress (too much/too little) but water stress has to get pretty bad with most phals for them to eject buds. If the plant is fine and the roots look good that wasn't it.

Sudden, dramatic change in temperature, especially a very hot, sunny day, can cause them to drop buds.

If the plant is young, first time bloomer, maybe it decided too much energy was being used and will try again next year.

Some plants (generally oncidiums, though, not Phals usually) will drop buds if they hang out near a pile of apples due to the ethylene gas they give off. It says, "we have ripening fruit! Quit this flowering business and concentrate on the seeds!! Think of the children!!" (hehehe)

Another possible culprit is mites. Look for spider-webby stuff and dusty type accumulation, and slightly pitted tissues.

Maybe its just in a snit.

Its hard to say without seeing it, but hopefully that will give you some ideas to get started on.