Angraecum leonis

Saturday, September 8, 2018

NORTHEAST Programs Schedule

Dendrobium aggregatum
Sept. 11, 2018; Delaware Orchid Society (DOS); "Unusual & Natural Mounts"
     set-up 7pm
     Emmanuel Presb. Church
     1006 Wilson Rd
     Wilmington, DE  19803
Dendrobium unicum
Sept. 12, 2018; Southeastern Pennsylvania Orchid Society (SEPOS); "Buy It, Grow It, Bloom It"
     set-up 7pm
     1st United Methodist Church
     865 Main St
     Phoenixville, PA  19460
Angraecum leonis
Sept. 13, 2018; North Jersey Orchid Society (NJOS); "Angraecums"
     set-up 6pm
     Hanover Manor
     16 Eagle Rock Ave
     East Hanover, NJ  07936
      Looking forward to presenting my programs to the Delaware, Southeastern Pennsylvania and the North Jersey Orchid Societies.  I enjoy sharing the experience and the knowledge I've gained over the twenty-five plus years of growing orchids.  The biggest advantage speaking at the societies is making the numerous friends. 


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Mutant Angraecum Crestwood 'Tomorrow Star'

        Three years ago I obtained what I think is a novelty plant; an Angraecum Crestwood mutation.  I was told that it has two spurs (nectaries).  Several months later I obtained three more plants that were labeled as a mutation; but with three spurs.  The initial plant has not yet bloomed and should have the following year.  The second set of plants have developed inflorescence each year and did bloom in December of 2016.
        The flowers that did bloom never really opened completely (the image below are of flowers that were photographed at the January 2017 Fort Lauderdale Orchid Society Show); Plants and opened flowers in my personal collection were very similar to those at the show.

Angraecum Crestwood 'Tomorrow Star' (mutation) 

        While at the Fort Lauderdale Orchid Society's show, I did have the opportunity to speak to a few of the American Orchid Society's  judges the morning that judging was taking place.  My question to them was whether they would consider judging a flower or group of flowers that were considered mutations.  The first response was that they would at least look at the flower.  Another response was probably not.  The last judge said they would look at it but that the name of the plant should be changed (an issue with the name will be addressed later in this post).

        Angraecum Crestwood 'Party Girl' is the first and only  mutant Angraecum orchid to receive an American Orchid Society (AOS) award.  The award presented was a JC/AOS in February of 2016.  A JC award is a Judges' Commendation;  "Awarded to flowers or plants, individually or in groups, for a distinctive characteristic or aspect of historical or other importance which, in the opinion of the judges, is worthy of recognition. Judges' Commendations must record the specific values for which the award is given. Granted without scoring by an affirmative vote of at least 75 percent of the judging team assigned."

Angraecum Crestwood 'Party Girl'
       Regarding the culture of this novelty plant; I follow the same protocol as if it were a normal Angraecum Crestwood.  All of my plants are in either 6 - 8 inch baskets or pots (the type of pot that has numerous holes surrounding the entire pot).  I use non-organic material.  Charcoal and/or lava pieces that are about 1 - 1.5 inches in diameter.  This medium allows for fast drainage, some air movement for the root system to breath ad ample room for the development of the roots.  This mutation should grow year round as long as it is kept in a warm grow area as would the normal Angcm. Crestwood.
       Because of the fast drainage, I water my plants daily; every morning as long as temperatures are above 75 degrees.  When temperatures are above the upper 80s into the nineties, I do try to water a second time about two hours prior to sunset.  Watering is backed off to every two to three days once evening temperature drop below 65 degrees.  I water only the medium; it is not a good habit of letting water set in the leaf axels, especially during the extreme warmer months.  That setting water can over heat the plant and cause stem rot.  It is best to have the plant in an area that receives a constant amount of air flow.
       The plants are kept in an area that receive a minimum of 3,500 - 5,000 foot candles of light.  Considered Cattleya light to Vanda light.  In other words, very bright light but not direct sunlight.  This type of light will promote blooming while the watering will help the plant grow.
       I use a systemic fungicide on all of my plants every thirty days.  I will use Thyomil for three months then switch to Dythane 45 for a three months cycle before returning to the Thyomil.  Physan 20 is always available in a spray bottle as a topical fungicide.  Another chemical treatment used every seven to ten days is a balanced fertilizer such as 20-20-20 (Jacks).  I do not use any form of bloom booster.
Angraecum Crestwood 'Tomorrow Star' (mutation)
       While doing research regarding the origin (it is speculated that its origin is from Taiwan) of this cloned mutation; I found it referred to as peloric.  When an orchid is considered peloric, its petals are mimicking the lip.  The illusion is that there are three lips.  The two additional lips are somehow part of the petals. 
       Upon close examination, you can clearly see that there is only one lip and that the two additional spurs/nectaries are formed in the upper left and upper right of the actual resupinate lip.  The spurs and the lip are not connected to either of the petals.  The petals develop as they would in a non-mutated flower.
Angraecum Crestwood 'Tomorrow Star' (backside of the flower)
       Over the last three or four years this mutation has become readily more available.  Several growers here in the states will occasionally obtain some from the growers from Taiwan.  All of my plants were obtained from one of those Taiwanese growers.  It will range in price from $20 to as much as $50, depending on the size and whether it is ready to bloom.  If grown properly, it can be an unusual addition to any collection and is definitely a conversation piece.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Hurricane Irma's Impact

       Hurricane Irma made it's way through the Caribbean and up the Florida peninsula this past week and pretty much destroyed everything in it's path.  The Caribbean islands took much of the force with the hurricane being a CAT 5 storm.  So many people LOST EVERYTHING and will probably struggle for months if not years to come through.  Some may never reach the normalcy that they experienced prior to the storm.

       Below is a link to the Hand-in-Hand Benefit; an organization that is collecting monies to try and help those that lost.  All monies collected are going to hurricane relief!
         I want to let the three societies that had to postpone my presentations that I will be working on new dates and that I will eventually make it to your meetings! The schedule which appears on the Angraecum's blog will hold the PPD (postponed date until a new date has been confirmed). Once the new date is confirmed; it will appear on the schedule and the old date removed. The societies are Ft. Pierce OS, Central Florida OS (Orlando) and the OS of the Palm Beaches. Looking forward to seeing all of you soon. In the mean-time, stay safe and ALWAYS offer a helping hand to those still trying to get out from under the mess!

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

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Blooming Traits of Angraecum Longidale

Angraecum Longidale

       Although Angraecum Longidale was just registered in March of 2015, the hybrid was created in 1978 by Fred Hillerman.  The reason for the delay was due to the fact that at the time of it's creation, one of the parents was considered a variation of a sub-species; the problem was that the sub-species itself was also used to create a hybrid.  The unfortunate outcome was that both hybrids were labeled with the same name (Angraecum Memoria Mark Aldridge, registered in 1993 by C. Timm, seed parent is Angcm. sesquipedale X pollen parent is Angcm. superbum); each hybrid has their own distinctive appearance.  When the Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) did recognize each sub-species and the variations as individual species, it was time to register Angcm. Longidale (Angcm. sesquipedale X Angcm. longicalcar), the hybrid name being the wish of Fred Hillerman when the cross was created.  The name consisting parts of each parent's grex.
       This article deals solely with the development of the bud and of the flower.  The culture for Angraecum Longidale is available in the original article posted in the blog back in March, 2015.
       The initial concern regarding the creation of Angraecum Longidale was whether it would suffer from the Veitchii effect; commonly referred to as "twisty flower".  When a hybrid is created using a plant that has a flower with a resupinated lip (lip is upright and erect, considered superior, Angraecum longicalcar) with a plant that has a flower with a non-resupinated lip (lip is down and slightly out, considered inferior, Angraecum sesquipedale) it is not unusual that the hybrid's flower will face down or parallel to the ground rather than a full frontal face of the flower (much like Angraecum Veitchii, examples of this effect can be seen in the article posted here in the blog in September, 2012).

 The diagram above shows the position of six plants that have been set in one direction
for the last twelve months.

       The growth pattern of the inflorescence in the six plants all grew pointing north.  The position of the sun in September (the time the inflorescence started to develop) was already starting to be in the southern sky.  Whether that had anything to do with the development of the inflorescence remains to be seen.  Further study would need to be done to come to any hard conclusion.

Developing buds of Angraecum Longidale

       Once the buds of Angcm. Longidale have fully developed, they break free of the sheaths that protect them to an extent.  As the the bud becomes larger, the pedicel, the nectary/spur and the bud itself will grow quickly.  They grow close to a perpendicular position to the inflorescence 9with the bud tips facing slightly towards the end of the inflorescence).  Within twelve to twenty days, the buds will completely open to full blooming size.  Several other events do take place about three to five days of the bloom being open.

 The six images above show the bud positions and how they change direction as they get ready
to open completely.

The position of these buds was photographed from above.  

       If the bud on the left were to bloom as is, it would adopt the natural characteristic of the seed parent, Angcm. sesquipedale; having a non-resupinated lip.  This bud is pointing slightly towards the tip of the inflorescence.  Several days prior to the bud opening, the pedicel will start to twist.  Shortly after the twisting motion starts, it will also start to curl nearer the bud.  The combination of twisting and curling will eventually show the underside which is actually the white lip.  This characteristic is a natural trait of the pollen parent, Angcm. longicalcar; having a resupinated lip.  The bud is also changing direction as it gets closer to opening (as can be seen in the various images in this article).  

This image was photographed from the side to show a slight profile.

       When the twisting and curling motion has reached a curl of about one hundred eighty degrees, The bud is about to open.  The twisting and curling motion has also turned the bud towards the direction of the plant; some flowers do face slightly out but still face the plant to some point.
       Through observation over a five week period while the plants were in full flower, measurements were taken of flowers that had opened on first time blooming plants as well as plants that were blooming for a second time.  The measurements used were in accordance with the American Orchid Society's judging standard (section 7.5.2 Actual Measurements, Judges Handbook).  Visually the flowers appeared larger on the plants that were blooming a second year in a row than the flowers on plants blooming for the first time.
       Angraecum Longidale is an easy orchid hybrid to grow and would make a great addition to any collection; keeping in mind that you'll need ample space for a large showy Angraecum.  First signs of an inflorescence developing can be as early as July into mid-September with the flowers appearing in mid-October to early December.