Angraecum leonis

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Angraecum Veitchii "the first"

     Who was John Seden?  He was a horticulturist working for the Veitch Nurseries in the Southwest part of England in the late 1800s and into the early 1900s.  John was a hybridizer that was responsible for the first Angcraecum Hybrid.  John used Angcm. eburneum (the seed plant) and crossed it with Angcm. sesquipedale (the pollen plant).  On January 10, 1899, Angraecum Veitchii was displayed for the first time and was officially registered with the Royal Horticultural Society as an orchid hybrid that same year.  More than a hundred and ten years later, Angcm. Veitchii is one of the most popular Angcraecum hybrids grown by hobbyists today.
     With the history of the first Angraecum hybrid out of the way, I'll say there is good news, great news and of course I have a bit of bad news.  Bad news first, Angcm. Veitchii will not fit on your standard window sill for those are thinking of growing this plant in your house .  Especially those of you who have a real winter with that cold white stuff called snow and the ice that shows its freezing head.  It will however do well in a large pot (with good drainage and at least 12 inches (30cm) wide and in a north window (medium light) or an east facing window that sees the sun no later than 11am (the plant leaves can burn).

Angraecum Veitchii

     In a green house environment or the warm sub-tropical climate of South Florida, the plant will most likely not slow down in its growth.  Its parents growing period is just about year round and if the plant is being grown in warm sub-tropical weather, it will grow year round also. 
     Both the Angcm. eburneum and the Angcm. sesquipedale do not like their root systems inferred with.  Angcm. Veitchii is the same way.  It is best to put a younger plant (even a seedling) into a pot that can house it as an adult.  I started my Veitchii in a 12 inch (30cm) basket.  I chose the basket to give the root system a better opportunity to breath and air out.  The medium is an even mix of medium to large pieces of charcoal, lava rock with some smaller aliflore, coconut and broken pieces of tree fern fiber.  This mix drains well yet holds enough moisture for the roots to absorb it.
     A mature plant can have a stem of about twenty inches or more.  With the leaves arcing up from the crown, the plant will be close to 26 - 30 inches (65 - 80cm) high.  Leaves are slightly folded length wise, bilobed at the ends and have a very heavy substance about them.  They grow on alternate sides of the stem and can be up to 14 - 20 inches (35 - 50cm) long.  Use a systemic fungicide on the plant at least every 4 weeks.  The leaves of Veitchii can live quite a long time and once you have a fungus mark on any leaf, will will last as long as the leaf survives.  Use a topical fungicide at the sign of any fungus rearing its ugly head. 
     Watering takes place every 2 - 3 days during the warm summer months and is slowly backed off  to every 3 - 5 days when temps start to level off in the mid to upper seventies.  If temps drop below seventy degrees, I will water once a week.  For those of you growing this in your house, water it in your kitchen sink or bath tub and give it ample time to drain out.  You may want to keep it in a pan with some marbles in the bottom to help with humidity.  Humidity is important to the plant.  I fertilize my plants every 7 days, year round!

Angcraecum Veitchii (both sides of plant)

     You'll notice the four inflorescence in the above image on the left.  As the buds develop, they will start to weigh the inflorescence down and become pendant like.  Once the flowers have opened, notice the nectary (spurs) in the image above right, they are all just about parallel to the ground and all you see is the back sides of the flowers (all flowers are facing down).  This is an affliction being caused by the parents.  Angcm. eburneum's lip is up-right (like a hood), the flower twists around, the lip become erect and the spur hangs down.  Angcm. sesquipedale's lip is down and slightly out, yet the spur still hangs down.  Now you have Angcm. Veitchii, its confused, lost and not sure what to do.  The affliction is called "Twisty Flower" and yes, it is a real issue.  This is what we can do to improve the physical look of the flowers.  As the first flower starts to split its sepals to bloom, Put a stake in the pot or basket and attach the inflorescence to the stake.  Once that flower has opened and facing out, the remainder of the flowers will follow suit.  All will open so that we can fully enjoy their beauty.  If the inflorescence is stake prior to the first bud opening, all of the flowers will open facing down.  As old man Ripley would say, "believe it or not"!

Angcm. Veitchii

     Flowers are about 3 1/2 inches (9cm) wide by 3 1/2 - 4 inches (9 - 10cm) long.  The nectary or spur is usually 3 inches (7 - 8cm) long.  The sepals, petals and anther cap will have a greenish tint while lip is white.  They are fragrant at night and can last 6 - 8 weeks, as long as the plant is kept out of the harsh elements of weather.
     Angraecum Veitchii can be a somewhat fast growing plant if given the proper requirements.  It will start to produce basal keikis after the first blooming and then continue producing more keikis as the plant matures.  You will see keikis eventually start appearing up on the stem as well as roots.  If the plant needs to be put into a larger container, it is best to break a few of the slats on a basket and then drop that into a larger basket, adding medium to fill the voids.  If using a clay pot, break the pot at the bottom and let whatever pieces fall off just fall.  Do not attempt to pull any broken parts of the pot off of healthy roots.  The plant can go dormant and not flower for several years.
     Enjoy the post.


  1. Just got angraecum veitchill any imfo about if l will be able to keep my lovely plant as will be in-door plant and it is now winter and getting colder and haveing to be kept in central heated house which is not very bright

  2. Do you ever done revival operation on big mature adult plant with very few roots left? Besides general thing like sphagnum and stabilizing in the pot I’ll be interested in any success story. I'm about to receive Angraecum weitchii almost 30" high with very few roots left, so I'm looking for any suggestion. Thank you

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  4. My two angraecum veitchii, one a keikis I potted up in a seperate container, are growing very well but my problem is getting it to bloom. I have a small greenhouse with 65 to 80% humidity which is good and the lighting lets cats. and other orchids bloom well. So maybe my problem is fertilization. Are they heavy eaters?

    1. Is the keiki from the larger plant? It not unusual that a plants will not bloom for a time after they have been divided. The humidity and light seem perfect. My plants never get more than half strength fertilizer and do very well. You may have to wait until next blooming season. let me know how things go!

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  6. I'm so glad to have stumbled upon this post. My angraecum is marked variation leonis, so a hit different from yours, and the nursery had no information as this was his first try at this species. Everyone I've consulted says they're very hard to grow up I treat it as I do my vandas and neofinetia and all is well. My first bloom is opening, and the pot has a total of 5 spikes across the mother and 4 keikis. They seem to be very happy crowded in the pot together, and from reading your post I believe I will leave them be until they show signs otherwise. I don't think I can attach a photo here but I have several progression photos on my Instagram from September until now, user is Helen_Haven. Thanks again, so much, I appreciate the help!!

  7. I have a Veitchii and a Eburneum superbum and both plants were inherited from an older grower who was unable to look after them. They are both in quite large square pots measuring 18cm each side. I am down in the Southern Hemisphere in New Zealand and we've just had an extremely hot summer. I keep them in my shadehouse in the bush but am unsure how much warmth/light they like. I've had one for a year and the other for 2 years but no sign of flower spikes as yet. Any ideas would be much appreciated.

  8. I just purchased an Angraecum sesquipedale x Angracecum eburneum. Would this be an Angraceum Veitchii? Does it matter which was the seed parent and which was the pollen parent? This is a new plant for me and I am looking up culture so that I can take proper care of this beauty.

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