Angraecums

Angraecums
Angraecum Longidale

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Angraecum magdalenae Shows Herself !

 Angraecum magdalenae growing in it's natural habitat.

       Often referred to as the "Queen of the Angraecums"; Angraecum magdalenae can be a phenomenal plant to show off when in full bloom.  Whether a first time bloomer with a single flower or a group of blooms appearing in a small colony, Angcm. magdalenae is a showy orchid and well worth adding to any collection.  BUT (and this can be a rather big BUT), you can find it extremely difficult to grow let alone bloom in areas that are warm to hot.
       Angcm. magdalenae's natural habitat is at an altitude of 5,600 - 6,550 feet (1,700-2,000 meters) in the mountain range along the east coast of Madagascar.  At that altitude, the plant is growing in an intermediate to cool growing climate and can also withstand light frost during the cooler months.  It grows in pockets of decaying leaf and other plant material between rock and is exposed to very bright light but slightly shaded in the warmer months (average high temperature is about 75 degrees F (24 degrees C).  It is exposed to direct sunlight during the winter months with high temperatures averaging about 68 degrees F (20 degrees C).  Low temperatures during the drier winter months averages about 45 degrees F (7 degrees C).  During nearly a five month winter period, rain is barely a half an inch (1.2 cm) per month.  It does get some mist; keeping the plant hydrated.

 Angcm. magdalenae flower bud ten days prior to opening.

       My ultimate goal growing orchids and specializing in Angraecums was (past tense) to grow and bloom the "Queen of the Angraecums".  As I stated above, the plant prefers a cooler climate.  I have grown numerous Angcm. magdalenae over the last sixteen plus years to no avail.  South Florida's weather cycle being much to HOT for the plant.  
       About a year and a half ago (2014), Doctor Chris Johnson from the University of Utah wrote a guest article regarding watering his Angraecums semi-hydroponically.  After several tests (experiments) he was very successful.  At about the same time, I was talking to Ken and Judy Russ about growing Paphiopedilums; a genus that I have had problems growing.  Ken makes a special pot that they grow their Paphs in; a somewhat thicker pot, with a slightly domed bottom and drainage holes anywhere from an inch (2.5cm) to two inches (5cm) from the bottom of the pot (the holes being higher prevents all of the water from draining out).  The water that remains in the pot slowly leeches out through the clay pot walls.  This slow leeching process keeps the pot cooler as well as the root system within.
        In late winter of this same year I took the information that I had learned and potted Angcm. magdalenae in about a six inch (15cm) clay Paph pot.  Little did anyone know that this past year (2015) would end up being one of the hottest years in recorded history; especially here in South Florida.  Not very conducive for the intermediate to cool growing plant.

 A normal image of Angcm. magdalenae with a comparison image from a FLIR thermal camera.

       Color table for the thermal image using a Ryobi TEK4 surface reading thermometer are as follows; blue/purple measured between  75.3 - 77.1 degrees Fahrenheit (24-25 degrees C); green measured at 78.8 degrees F (26 C); yellow started at 80.5 F (27 C) going into the deep red at 86.9 F (30.5 C).  Air temperature around the plant in about 4,000 Foot-candles of light was measured at 84.2 F (29 C) using an outdoor thermometer.  The core temperature of the potting material was 74.5 F (23.6 C) using an internal cooking thermometer inserted 2/3 into the middle of the pot.
       The average monthly humidity was very similar to that of the plant's natural habitat.  That may be due to the lack of rain in the area I grow. 
       Please note that this is the first test I've used to bloom Angcm. magdalenae successfully.  I am going to plant four more identical to this and hope to post the results at the end of the year.  I used the pollen from this bloom and pollinated the flower of Angcm. Longidale (this project will be posted after the seed pod is sent to the lab for flasking).

Angraecum magdalenae

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Blooming Traits of Angraecum Longidale


Angraecum Longidale

       Although Angraecum Longidale was just registered in March of 2015, the hybrid was created in 1978 by Fred Hillerman.  The reason for the delay was due to the fact that at the time of it's creation, one of the parents was considered a variation of a sub-species; the problem was that the sub-species itself was also used to create a hybrid.  The unfortunate outcome was that both hybrids were labeled with the same name (Angraecum Memoria Mark Aldridge, registered in 1993 by C. Timm, seed parent is Angcm. sesquipedale X pollen parent is Angcm. superbum); each hybrid has their own distinctive appearance.  When the Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) did recognize each sub-species and the variations as individual species, it was time to register Angcm. Longidale (Angcm. sesquipedale X Angcm. longicalcar), the hybrid name being the wish of Fred Hillerman when the cross was created.  The name consisting parts of each parent's grex.
       This article deals solely with the development of the bud and of the flower.  The culture for Angraecum Longidale is available in the original article posted in the blog back in March, 2015.
       The initial concern regarding the creation of Angraecum Longidale was whether it would suffer from the Veitchii effect; commonly referred to as "twisty flower".  When a hybrid is created using a plant that has a flower with a resupinated lip (lip is upright and erect, considered superior, Angraecum longicalcar) with a plant that has a flower with a non-resupinated lip (lip is down and slightly out, considered inferior, Angraecum sesquipedale) it is not unusual that the hybrid's flower will face down or parallel to the ground rather than a full frontal face of the flower (much like Angraecum Veitchii, examples of this effect can be seen in the article posted here in the blog in September, 2012).

 The diagram above shows the position of six plants that have been set in one direction
for the last twelve months.

       The growth pattern of the inflorescence in the six plants all grew pointing north.  The position of the sun in September (the time the inflorescence started to develop) was already starting to be in the southern sky.  Whether that had anything to do with the development of the inflorescence remains to be seen.  Further study would need to be done to come to any hard conclusion.

Developing buds of Angraecum Longidale

       Once the buds of Angcm. Longidale have fully developed, they break free of the sheaths that protect them to an extent.  As the the bud becomes larger, the pedicel, the nectary/spur and the bud itself will grow quickly.  They grow close to a perpendicular position to the inflorescence 9with the bud tips facing slightly towards the end of the inflorescence).  Within twelve to twenty days, the buds will completely open to full blooming size.  Several other events do take place about three to five days of the bloom being open.

 The six images above show the bud positions and how they change direction as they get ready
to open completely.

The position of these buds was photographed from above.  

       If the bud on the left were to bloom as is, it would adopt the natural characteristic of the seed parent, Angcm. sesquipedale; having a non-resupinated lip.  This bud is pointing slightly towards the tip of the inflorescence.  Several days prior to the bud opening, the pedicel will start to twist.  Shortly after the twisting motion starts, it will also start to curl nearer the bud.  The combination of twisting and curling will eventually show the underside which is actually the white lip.  This characteristic is a natural trait of the pollen parent, Angcm. longicalcar; having a resupinated lip.  The bud is also changing direction as it gets closer to opening (as can be seen in the various images in this article).  

This image was photographed from the side to show a slight profile.

       When the twisting and curling motion has reached a curl of about one hundred eighty degrees, The bud is about to open.  The twisting and curling motion has also turned the bud towards the direction of the plant; some flowers do face slightly out but still face the plant to some point.
       Through observation over a five week period while the plants were in full flower, measurements were taken of flowers that had opened on first time blooming plants as well as plants that were blooming for a second time.  The measurements used were in accordance with the American Orchid Society's judging standard (section 7.5.2 Actual Measurements, Judges Handbook).  Visually the flowers appeared larger on the plants that were blooming a second year in a row than the flowers on plants blooming for the first time.
       Angraecum Longidale is an easy orchid hybrid to grow and would make a great addition to any collection; keeping in mind that you'll need ample space for a large showy Angraecum.  First signs of an inflorescence developing can be as early as July into mid-September with the flowers appearing in mid-October to early December.  

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Angraecum sesquipedale STUDY

Angraecum sesquipedale flower

       I am currently conducting a study regarding the Angcm. sesquipedale flower.  I am looking for anyone that is growing the plant and is expecting it to flower over the next two to three months.  I am specifically looking for a series of photographic images of the flower from the day it first starts to open and a follow through for a minimum of three consecutive days.  Any image(s) that I do use in the study will receive full photo credit.  
       The flower should be photographed in a full frontal format and a full profile format each consecutive day for a minimum of three days (up to five consecutive days if possible).  Shooting the spur/nectary is not necessary.  Using a black material would be most beneficial.
       Please contact me via email as well as send your images and contact information to tkangcm@live.com .  Your contribution is very much appreciated.  Looking forward to your help.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Aerangis Elro


       Almost a year and a half prior to HQ Orchids registering Angraecum Shooting Star (Angcm. florulentum X Angcm. eburneum ssp. xerophilum) [posted March 2012], they registered Aerangis Elro (Aergs. ellisii X Aergs. modesta) another Angraecoid hybrid.  Aergs. ellisii (seed parent) does grow into a rather large plant, up to about 30 inches (70cm) tall with leaves nearly 10 x 2 inches (25x5cm) in length and width.  Aergs. modesta (pollen parent) is actually a much smaller plant.  Stem height barely reaching 6 inches (15cm) with leaves no larger than 6 x 1.5 inches (15x4cm) in length and width.  Aergs. Elro (the offspring) produces plants that range between its parents.
       As I have stated in many of the posts in this blog, growing orchids is one variable after another.  What works for one may not work for another, do your research and use someone elses culture information as a starting point for your own.  I have asked two contributors of past articles published in the Angraecums blog to submit an image or two along with the data regarding their Aergs. Elro's culture.  You will see three different variables yet all successful in blooming Aerangis Elro.

 Aerangis Elro, view of entire plant, full frontal flower and three-quarter profile of flowers.

       Sarah Waddoups, the founder of the Angraecoid Alliance wrote an article back in February of 2012 introducing her organization.  The alliance concentrates on in-situ and ex-situ conservation.  She is also a phenomenal grower with an emphasis on various Angraecoids.  She is presently growing two Aerangis Elro, images of one them shown above. 
       She grows both of her plants in wood baskets.  The first is a 12 inch (30cm) shallow basket in which she has placed a small amount of moss tucked into it. "It is hardly full of moss".  The second is a 6 inch (15cm) wood Vanda basket in which she has placed some large bark chunks and coconut coir.  She placed both plants into the wood baskets during the spring so that they wood readily grow throughout the summer.  Both plants attached securely within a few months.  She found that the baskets allow the plants to become somewhat pendant which allows the inflorescence to hang down for a nice presentation of the flowers.
         The plants are placed in the same area that the vandas and large angraecums grow.  they are protected from the late afternoon sun by being in the shadows of the larger plants.  The small green house where the plants are grown is opened during the warm summer months and the plants watered every day.  Winter can bring temperatures into the teens and single digits.  The cold weather temperature is maintained at a constant 58 degrees F (14.5 C) while the greenhouse is all closed up.  The plants are watered sparingly throughout the winter.  The plants have done very well over the last couple of years being in their location and do bloom regularly in early summer.

Aerangis Elro being grown semi-hydroponically, bottom half of an inflorescence in bloom.

       Dr. Chris Johnson, a professor at the University of Utah travels extensively.  It was important to find a way to keep his collection alive while he was on the road.  After doing research and experimenting with a couple of plants, he started using semi-hydroponics to care for his collection.  Aergs. Elro has grown very well using this technique.
       The plant is in a 6 inch (15cm) plastic pot.  Holes are drilled about 1 - 1.5 inches (3-4cm) from the bottom of the pot (this allows water to sit in the bottom of the pot).  The summer temperatures in his greenhouse range 60 - 85 degrees F (16-29.5 C) while winter temperatures range 55 - 75 degrees F (13-24 C).  The plants are watered every other day during the summer and cut back during the colder months to every three to four days.  The water running through the greenhouse is reverse osmosis water and the fertilizer (MSU) is designed for RO water.  He uses a kelp supplement as well as probiotics.
       The amount of light varies depending on the seasonal position of the sun.  It is considered a medium bright light. 

 Aerangis Elro, frontal close-up, partial inflorescence and three-quarter profile.

       Sarah and Chris are growing their Aergs. Elro in controlled greenhouses in two different areas of the United States that have very distinctive seasons.  I am growing in a very sub-tropical/tropical area of South Florida.  This past summer started in mid spring (April) and is just now looking to milder temperatures (October).  Growing in an open air arbor has its advantages; such as steady air movement and Mother Nature's elixir, rain!
       Two of the plants are in 6 inch (15cm) teak wood baskets.  There is a non-organic medium (charcoal, clay pellets and lava rock) in each of the two baskets.  Allowing for fast drainage, air movement and ample room for the root system to develop.  The third plant is in a 6 inch (15cm) clay pot; one with numerous 1 inch (2.75cm) holes all the way around it (allowing for the same attributes as the wood baskets). 
       With air temperatures being above 90 degrees F (32 C) for nearly six months, the plants have been watered every morning and several times a week in late afternoons.  With milder temperatures coming soon, watering will be cut back to every other day.  If they drop below 65 degrees F (18 C), watering will be cut back to every third day.
       The two plants in wood baskets receive about two and a half hours of early morning sunlight.  After that point, they receive about 3,000 foot-candles (diffused light) for the remainder of the day.  The third plant (in the clay pot) receives about 2,500 foot-candles all day.  All three plants have bloomed in their respective areas.
       One thing that I have noticed with Aergs. Elro, is the length of time that an inflorescence starts until the time the buds actually open.  All three of my plants have taken in excess of twelve months, tow of them nearly fourteen months to being in full bloom.  I grow and have bloomed both of the parents; Aergs. ellisii (about ten months) and Aergs. modesta (about six months), neither of them taking as long as their offspring.
       
       Three different growers from three different areas of the country.  All three growing Aerangis Elro using various orchid cultures.  Yet the plants all bloom late spring into early summer.  Use this information as starting points for your plants.  If you have any questions, never hesitate to ask!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Angraecum Symposium 2017 ?

Angraecum Crestwood

Sarah Waddoups, founder of the Angraecoid Alliance and Tom Kuligowski, creator of the Angraecums blog are currently looking into the possibility of putting together an Angraecoid Symposium.  This symposium would take place sometime between early 2017 and late spring of 2017.  Topics being discussed as possible subjects are “In-situ/Ex-situ Conservation”, “Hybridizing Angraecoids”, “Climate and Culture”, “Identification and Education” and “History Of”.  They are looking for their reader’s opinions, whether the readers would attend and ideas for other subjects to be covered.  Locations have been briefly discussed as well as possible speakers.  Please comment here and let them know your thoughts regarding an Angraecoid Symposium.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Angellea Great Scott (Angraecum scottianum X Jumellea comorensis)

Pictured above are the parents of Angellea Great Scott.

       Angraecum scottianum crossed with Jumellea comorensis should prove to be an unusual hybrid when it blooms.  Hybridizing different genera has created very unique offspring.  There are numerous reasons that a grower would have for creating a specific cross such as changing plant size, flower color and/or flower shape and the number of flowers that the plant may produce.  Final results though would not be seen until the offspring bloomed for the first time.  Keep in mind that not all of the offspring will look identical.  Some will look like the seed parent, some being similar to the pollen parent and yet others will be totally different adopting traits from both parents.  This issue is dealt with in the post "The Variations Of Angraecum Lemforde White Beauty" published here in September, 2014.
       Angellea Great Scott was created by Leon Glicenstein.  I did get to ask him the reason for creating this specific hybrid.  Throwing all reason aside; it was from pure curiosity. 
       This post is the second where I will follow the development of a small group of seedlings.  I have successfully grown and have bloomed both parents.  The culture used for the seedlings is based entirely on the parent's culture.

Jumellea comorensis mounted to a cork slab. (pollen parent)

       Jum. comorensis was featured in a post in May 2012,  It is a fast growing Angraecoid that will branch and produce new plants at the base.  In it's natural habitat, it grows on the rough bark of trees in bright light and in low light.  My plants are watered twice a day throughout the warm months of the year,  When temperatures drop to below eighty degrees (27C) watering is cut back to once a day; usually in the mornings.Watering is cut back to every two to three days when temperatures are at seventy degrees (22C) or below.  Due to the amount of water the plant requires, be sure to be growing in an area with a steady amount of air movement.  If excessive water is left on the leaves for to long a period, the plant becomes susceptible to fungus and the leaves will rot quickly.  With the tropical and sub-tropical climate here is South Florida, Jum. comorensis doesn't have a dormant period.
       Plant structure can reach a height of almost twelve inches (30cm) with roots about 2cm that flatten when attached to mounting material.  It has the capability of becoming a specimen in just two or three years producing several singularly borne flowers from each stem.  Jumellea comorensis will often become pendant like.

   Angraecum scottianum is mounted to a 12" tree fern totem.  (seed parent)

       An article regarding Angcm. scottianum was posted in December 2012.  I grow this Angraecoid mounted to tree fern material; usually a tree fern totem.  According to material in the 1986 book written by Fred Hillerman, the plant should be drenched during the warm summer months.  My mounted plants are watered twice a day (early mornings and late afternoons).  Once the temperatures start to drop, watering is back off to once a day and eventually every other day during the mild winters.
       The plants thrive with this much water.  They grow upright but do become pendant with length.  I let the top third of the plants drupe until after they have bloomed; tying them up slightly higher after blooming.  Aerial roots do appear but not more than a third of the way up the plant.  The climate here in South Florida seems to be very similar to that of plant's natural habitat; the main reason it seems to thrive here.
       Angraecum scottianum grows well with very bright diffused light (about 3500 fc).  I have also had several plants in lower light (2000 - 2500 fc).  They don't seems to grow as quickly; but they have always bloomed.  I have the larger specimens growing towards the top of the arbor where they are exposed to a constant air flow.  New plants usually develop at the base of the plant and are slow in starting.  Once the plant has become an older specimen, branching does occur.
       Angcm. scottianum will grow between 8 - 15 inches tall (20-37cm).  Leaves will measure 2.5 - 4 inches long (6.5-10cm) and are teret like (tubular in shape) .  Flowering can take place anytime between late February into early November with the most productive time in June and July.  It has been reported that up to eight flowers can appear on a single inflorescence although I have never seen more than six on any of my plants.  Flowers have a rather large resupinated lip which is 1.7 inches wide (4.2cm).  The sepals and petals are thin and pointed and reach a length of 1 inch (2.5cm).  The spur/nectary is about 5 - 6 inches long (12-15cm).  Flowers are fragrant during the dark hours.

Angellea Great Scott seedlings mounted to cork, tree fern material and cypress slabs.

       The seedlings have been mounted as each of the parents.  During this very warm summer, they are watered twice a day and misted if late afternoon temperatures are still above 90 F (32 C).  They are presently receiving 2500 - 3000 fc of light (diffused bright light).  They hang from the upper area of the arbor where they also receive a constan air movement.
       The plant structure of Angellea Great Scott is very similar to that of the pollen parent Jumellea comorensis.  In the first two images of the seedlings, you can see the leaves are shaped in form and size to to the pollen parent.  There does appear to be a slight variation in plant number three.  The leaves are close to that of the seed parent; but nor fully teret.
       It will be interesting to see how the seedlings develop and hopefully bloom.  Leon seems to have created what should be a fantastic surprise!