Angraecum leonis

Sunday, March 25, 2012

No Generic Culture Sheets

     I talk about it at every lecture I give; when it comes to Angraecums, don't depend on a generic culture sheet.  When a hobbyist is in their starting days, the majority of the plants they (myself included) purchase are the more common plants such as oncidiums, cats, phals, dendrobiums and the occassional lady slipper.  There are thousands to choose from and the generic culture sheet has helped us grow the plants to a respectable blooming size.  We even see the fruits of our labors when the plant blooms; especially after we've had it for more than a year or so.  It gives us pleasure knowing that we must have done something right.
     I think the better and more successful orchid growers try their hardest to supply the plants to hobbyists that they may be most interested in.  Most of these growers however do specialize in various generas of plants.  When purchasing a new plant, one that may be different than anything you've seen or attempted to grow yourself; you should always ask " it going to grow and BLOOM for me here?"  Where ever here may be!  To make a sale, a staffer or an employee working for that grower will most likely say yes.  Be sure to ask them about the specific culture for that plant.  What medium, amount of light. watering requirements, fertilizers, fungicides and possible bug issues.  Ask for a culture sheet for that genera and species.
     With the more common orchids available in mass numbers, the generic culture sheet will get you by and then some.  There are only 249 species of Angraecums in the Angraecum genera.  Sixty-five percent of these plants come from the island of Madagascar (the southeast coast of Africa).  The climate will vary from cool to intermediate temps at higher elevations (up to 7,500 feet) with some dormant time during the cooler months, mid elevations (2,000 - 5,000 feet) with constant humidity in the air from the mist clouds, sea level tropical rain forest with very large amounts of rain and humidity and higher temps. to the mid elevations that are semi-arid and have a few months of drying out time.
     No matter the location on the island; you must take into consideration the placement of the plant as to it's growing area regarding the lower trunks of trees, near running water or not, the higher canopy or whether it is growing on rock and in the dead leaf and plant material between the rocks.
     Take the time to research the plant's specific requirements and then decide if it is something you wish to grow.  Just give the orchid what it requires and that plant will eventually give you years of fantastic blooms.
     In a short period of time with a small amount of research, the plants will thrive here in the sub-tropical South Florida weather.  By making a few changes, they can be grown in the cooler north part of the United States and Canada.  As well as in Europe, Russia and in Northern Asia.
     It can be and is usually very simple.  Give it what it needs and be prepared to enjoy some very unique blooms.

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