Sunday, October 31, 2010

In Bloom: Happy Halloween

Stapelia giganteaStapelia giganteaStapelia giganteaStapelia giganteaWhat is it??? Dead things, hairy things, fake dead things with fake worms? Ew. It sure smells like dead things.

This is Stapelia gigantea, with flowers easily 10 inches across and up to 12 inches across. The buds take weeks to develop. By the time they're the size of a small lemon you think, "It's sure to open soon!" But alas, it will still have several weeks to go. They pop (litterally) open when they get to about the size of an average orange. Then they proceed to stink and attract flies.

Most people will grow these in well drained soil, but ever the oddball, my approach is to grow it in sphagnum moss, allowing it to dry out completely between watering. Obviously, you can't keep it in constantly wet sphagnum, but regular wet/dry cycles works out just fine. They'll want bright light to full sun, such as the conditions in which you might grow Cattleyas. This beastie was grown from a cutting rooted about a year ago, and during that time it has doubled in size (and weight! heavy plant). They're easy to grow and very interesting to look at. Certainly a plant worth having, just don't put it on the dining room table when you have guests.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

In Bloom: Blue(ish) Things

Hi folks! I'm still alive in my little cave. Been busy around here, but life with the plants keeps trudging on as well.

Today I thought I'd share two sort-of blue things in bloom. The first is Lc. Cariads Mini-Quinee (C. intermedia x Lc. Mini Purple). I bought a small group of these seedlings a little while back because I rather like Mini Purple, though my favorite clone is 'Tamami', which isn't blue. This was most likely bred from one of the many coerulea clones. For those of you checking your monitor color, no, it isn't blue as in cobalt, blueberry, or anything else of that nature. Blue in orchids is this funny purple way off into the cool color spectrum.

I'm rather pleased with this plant. It is nice and compact, like you would expect from that parentage. Higher flower count would be nice, but Mini Purple being L. pumilia x C. walkeriana, you can't expect it to be too high. It is also a first bloom, so maybe on the next we'll get two or three flowers. It is very lightly fragrant.

While taking pictures of it, I realized it has about the same colors as my current weaving project. I'm going to pretend that was on purpose. :)

Our second plant only does the vague impression of blue, and is actually pink. It is Phal. Equalacea 'Leesburg Sky' x violacea v. coerulea 'Nancy's Gift'. It could have been blue, but it isn't. I've decided I don't care. This one opened kinda funny, but in general they're cute, novelty type flowers with sweet fragrance, and it intermittently throws flowers throughout the summer. I tried to breed it earlier this Summer but it didn't take. In general it hasn't been a good summer for breeding orchids for me - lots of failures which I'm rather cranky about. So instead I have some flasks on the way from Florida. Nothing beats instant gratification.

In other news, I've got ten overgrown compots of cattleya seedlings to plant out. Heaven help me. That's a lot of untangling...