Angraecum Longidale

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Angraecum leonis

     Angraecum leonis, "lion like" or the "lion's head".  No matter which version you grow (Madagascar / Comoro Islands); you should have a beautiful specimen plant in about 3 - 4 years.  Angcm. leonis is an easy Angraecum to grow.    

Angraecum leonis (Comoro Islands)

     Angraecum leonis grows in two very distinct areas.  One hails from the northern tip of Madagascar at about sea level.  The plant is the smaller version of the two; growing in an area that is somewhat dry.  The second comes from Comoro Islands.  It is epiphytic growing at an altitude of about 3,000 feet (900 meters) and is in an area with a heavy annual rainfall (the main reason for its larger size).

     The Madagascar version is the smaller of the two.  It will do well in either a sub-tropical climate or a cooler climate that sees cooler to cold winters; as long as the plant is kept in a room with temperatures not dropping below 65 degrees.  It should be very near a north facing window (again watching the temperature range during the winter).  The leaves can burn rather easily; keep it out of any window that will get direct sunlight for more than an hour.  It is very capable of flowering in either a bright or medium shade.
     The flowers are about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 inches (3-4cm) wide by 1 1/2 - 2 inches (4-5cm) high with a nectary or spur of about 3 inches (8cm) long.  They can last up to 4 weeks, they are fragrant and usually bloom mid April into late May.  Flowers will open with a slightly green cast but turn a pristine white within 2 - 3 days. 
     In either climate, the plant will do well as long as it is watered regularly during warmer months and less during its dry season (winter in the northern hemisphere).  There is little if any stem to the plant with the leaves being 4 - 6 inches (10-15cm) long, sickle shaped and very fleshy.  In culture, this version of Angcm. leonis will very seldom reach a width of more than 8 inches (20cm).
     Angcm. leonis can be mounted to a cork or tree fir slab and also be potted in a 5 inch pot with a medium sized perlite, aliflore, charcoal and tree fern combination.  Remember, back off the watering during the dry period in winter.  The plant will show signs of lack of water if you notice the leaves starting to shrivel or wrinkle; just increase the watering amount and everything should return to normal shortly.

Angraecum leonis (Comoro Islands)

     Unlike the Angcm. leonis from Madagascar, the Comoro Islands version can have a stem of up to 4 inches high (10cm); however you will usually only see that in very mature plants.  Leaves of this larger version can reach 8 1/2 inches (22cm) with an over-all width of the plant being close to 16 inches (40cm).  Leaves are sickle shape but not near as fleshy as the Madagascar version.  Angcm. leonis is exposed to a much heavier rain fall total in the Comoro Islands and does not need to store the moisture.  If the plant is potted, be careful not to over water the roots.  Root rot can develop during the summer months if watered to often.  If the plant is mounted, be sure to water frequently during the summer months to keep the plant hydrated.  Misting in mid-afternoon heat can be very helpful.
     Flowers from the larger version measure 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 inches (6-9cm) wide and are a little higher than 3 inches (8cm) tall.  They will often bloom in succession rather than all at once.  They are very fragrant and can last about 4 weeks if kept out of the stronger weather elements.
     I treat either version of Angcm. leonis with a systemic fungicide every 28 - 30 days.  Fertilizing every 7 - 10 days. 
     Angraecum leonis will appear to be a slow grower at first; but once it starts to become a specimen plant it will develop very well.  As with MOST Angraecums, it is best not to mess with the roots or take cuttings to share.  The plant can stop blooming for several years.  If repotting is absolutely necessary, then repot when new roots are starting to grow.  This will help the plant re-establish itself quicker.