Angraecum Longidale

Sunday, September 11, 2016

First Time Bloomers (Part 3)

       It has been a while since I've posted anything... this will be the start of several articles and groups of Angraecoid images that have been waiting in the wings.  I'll give a brief description of the culture used for each plant shown here and the information regarding the species' natural habitats.

Angraecum Emily Upside Down, the hybrid was created by Lehua Orchids and registered in 2013.  The parentage is Angcm. Lemforde White Beauty (Angcm. magdalenae X Angcm. sesquipedale) X Angcm. superbum.  This image was captured in August, 2016 and shows the influence of Angcm. superbum (non-resupinated flower) and the effect it has on Angcm. Lemforde White Beauty (resupinated flower); this hybrid escapes the Veitchii effect (flowers opening parallel to the ground).  You can see the light green color in the sepals and the petals, a common trait seen in hybrids when  various eburneums are used in the cross.  Another trait is that the spur/nectary is pointing up rather than hanging down.  The inflorescence starts erect but will usually arc somewhat due to the weight of the flowers which develop at the last two thirds of the spike.
I grow these plants in six inch (15cm) terra-cota pots that are riddled with one inch (2.5cm) holes around the entire pot (fast drainage and allows more air around the root system).  Watered daily as long as the temps are at 80 degrees F or higher.  Water is backed off to every two to three days once temps drop below 80 degrees F.  A combination of medium red lava rock, hydroton and charcoal is used as the medium.  The plants receive between 3,500 to 4,500 FC of light year round.

Angraecum eichlerianum is a species from the central west coast (Nigeria) south to Angola.  In the wild it can grow to near 200 inches (508cm) in dense, undisturbed forests.  Inflorescence form at the leaf axils and range 4 - 8 inches (10-20cm) and produce 1 to 4 flowers that are long lasting.  As the plant grows in height, it produces ariel roots.  This flower developed on a seedling barely 6 inches (15cm) high and is still in a small plastic pot with a seedling medium.  It will eventually be mounted to a tree fern totem about 12 - 18 inches high (30-45cm).
As long as I keep this seedling in the small plastic pot, I will keep it in medium shade.  Once mounted to the totem (plant size about 8 - 9 inches [20-23cm]), I will gradually introduce it to a brighter light, from 1200FC to 2500FC; but no direct sunlight!  While in the small pot, I water this plant once every 2 days.  I have this plant in an area that gets a good amount of air movement.
Habitat information was obtained from

 Microcoelia stolzii, found throughout the south eastern coast into the south central sections of Africa.  Mic. stolzii grows on twigs and branches in evergreen forests and woodlands within a high rainfall area.  It is one of the few Angraecoids that will tolerate a temperature range form cool to hot.  Night time differences of over 30 degrees F, 55 - 88F (13-31C).
I grow Mic. stolzii in shade that receives spackled light throughout the day.  The plant is never exposed to direct sunlight for more than fifteen minutes at a time.  With temperatures above 90 degrees F (32C), the plant is watered early morning and then again late afternoon.  Reversed osmosis water is used each time (I have several plants that I water with RO, I get it from the super market).  I do not use any fertilizer or fungicide; the plant does well with the regiment I use.  Be sure to keep the plant in an area with air movement.   It blooms  for me in early May through June. 
Habitat information was obtained from 

Angraecum Scottish Lion is another hybrid created by Lehua Orchids, registered in 2014.  The full  parentage is Angcm. White Lioness (Angcm. leonis x Angcm. Lemforde White Beauty [Angcm. magdalenae x Angcm. sesquipedale]) X Angcm. scottianum.  
Based upon the four various species (Angcm's magdalenae, sesquipedale, leonis and scottianum) which where used in eventually creating this hybrid, Angcm. Scottish Lion requires a bright diffused light (no direct sun light).  The plants that I have are in an area which receives about 3,800 FC of light.  All but one of the species will tolerate temperatures into the high 80s (about 31C).  The plants that are in 4 - 5 inch (20-12cm) clay pots are watered every other day.  Any that are mounted should be watered every day and twice if temperatures go above 90 degrees F (32C).  The flower of Angcm. Scottish Lion takes on it's own characteristics, although you should see some influence from it's various parents.  The most noticeable flower trait is the fact that it has lost most of it's size through hybridizing.  The largest parent, Angcm. sesquipedale can have a horizontal natural spread in access of 19.6 cm.  The flower in the image above had a natural spread of 6.8 cm.  My plants are fertilized every 7 - 10 days and also in an area that has a consistent amount of air movement. 

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