Oeoniella polysthachys

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Angraecum magdalenae

     Angraecum magdalenae is very often referred to as the Queen of the Angraecums.  It is one of the parents to Angraecum Lemforde White Beauty.  A hybrid that resembles the Queen herself but only larger.  It is in my opinion to be one of the most impressive orchids in existence today.

Angraecum magdalenae (photo by mini-catts)
 
 
     One of the problems with hobbyists growing Angcm. magdalenae is that they misunderstand the label information if the grower they purchased the plant from has prepared a proper label.  You will see info such as blooming time as S (spring), SU (summer), F (fall) and W (winter).  You may see the type of light that is required and sometime watering conditions.  On many angraecum tags you will also see climate conditions such as C (cool), I (intermediate), W (warm) and once in a while H (hot).  Do not make the mistake and think that it is what the plant requires; what it means is what the plant will tolerate.  Their is a huge difference.
     Another thing to keep in mind is that reading culture information on Angcm. magdalenae or any other type of orchid is to know the differences between the northern and southern hemispheres.  Such as blooming, growing and cool/dry periods are opposite times of the year.  In the east mountains of Madagascar where the plant at one time was prolific, Angcm. magdalenae blooms from mid-December into late February.  Here in the northern hemisphere, it blooms late May into early August and will on occasion bloom into mid September in culture due to the care we give to our orchids.  That extra care that mother nature does not always extend.
     Angcm. magdalenae will do best in a 6 - 7 inch shallow pot (15-18cm) in a combination of fine and medium size mixture of sponge rock (aliflore or perlite will substitute well), charcoal, fine pieces of tree fir and sphagnum moss (helps keep the roots damp).  Do not use regular tree bark.  It breaks down to quickly and you would then have to try to re-pot.  Messing with the roots on this plant can and usually will prevent the plants from blooming for 2 - 5 years.
     The stem of a mature plant can reach 14 inches (35cm) in it's natural habitat.  Although in culture it will grow to about 10 inches (25cm).  Leaves will be alternating to each side of the stem being 8 - 12 inches long (19-30cm) and appear fan like.  A mature plant will also have numerous basal keikes which will bloom while the stems are still short; however they usually bloom after the main plant has.
     Given a very bright type of light (it can handle direct sunlight without burning the leaves), Angcm. magdalenae should flower each year.  Too little and the plant will not bloom.  Climate conditions will also come into play here. The climate conditions are C - I (I - C), cool to intermediate.  The plant will grow in warmer temps but may not flower.  It prefers a day - night variance of about 20 - 25 degrees Fahrenheit with max temps not going much higher than 80 degrees F.  With it's growing season being mid-summer here in the northern hemisphere, temps very often reach the mid 90s and even into the 100s in certain areas.  It would serve the plant well to be moved into a smoke free, air conditioned room with a window facing west or even south.
     Air movement is important also.  In the natural environment, the mountains that Angcm. magdalenae grow on have a very regular amount of breezes.  In a home or a green house, the air movement should be a cross type of breeze.  Using a circulating fan above the plant, the fan only spins the same air around rather than constantly bringing in fresh air.
     During the late spring into early fall, water the plant so that the roots are always damp or moist.  Do not let the roots dry out.  If that happens, the plant will not absorb the right amount of water or nutrients to thrive.  From late fall into mid spring, watering can be backed off slightly; but still try to keep the roots from completely drying out.
     Keep a small amount of time release fertilizer in the pot and fertilize every 7 days during the growing season and every 10 - 14 days during the winter here in the northern hemisphere.  A systemic fungicide should be used every 4 - 6 weeks.  Watch for black spots or patches on the bottom of the leaves.

Angcm. magdalenae (photo by Lynne Tyson)
 
 
     A mature blooming plant will produce numerous inflorescence with 2 - 3 flowers on each.  The inflorescence develop underneath the leaves and are short with the blooms beinging tight to the plant.  Flowers will appear on the younger basal plants but usually don't open until the main plant has already bloomed.  Flowers are about 4 inches (10cm) high by 3 - 3 1/2 inches (8-9cm) wide.  The spur or nectary is about four inches (10cm) long and is shaped slightly like an S.  The lip is broad and each of the petals and sepals are widest towards the center of the flower coming to a point at the tips.  Flowers are fragrant throughout the evening and into the first couple of hours of day light.  The fragrance is a deep spicy smell.  Flowers on a well cared for plant can last 4 -6 weeks.

4 comments:

  1. Great post! Thank you!

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  2. Your post says that Angraecum magdalenae can handle direct sun exposure. I have a small apartment patio the faces West, slightly angled to the North. I've already put my magdalenae out (closely monitoring temps of course, last frost isn't until April 26th here in Portland, OR). I gradually moved them closer to the direct sunlight and they've shown absolutely no negative signs. As of today, they had 4-5 hours of direct afternoon sunlight with temps in the 70's. Do you think this would be fine for the rest of the summer? If they're not burning now or showing any negative signs, do you think they'll adapt as the days get longer and have more sun exposure?

    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Angcm. magdalenae grows on rock, usually in a very nutrient filled humus and leaf litter. Because of the high altitude, it deals well with cooler weather including small bits of frost. It will take direct sun light but keep a very close eye on the leaves. When watering the plant, try to avoid letting water sit in the leaf axils; water that gets heated by the summer sun can work its way into the thick stem material and eventually rot that stem. It should do very well in that afternoon sun light. Good luck and please keep me informed!

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