The Botanical Orchids


Plants in this orchid genus produce drooping inflorescences that bear wonderfully shaped flowers. Gongora is native to the American tropics and their pseudo bulbs are deeply ribbed. These pseudo bulbs produce thin-textured leaves that are heavily veined. The flowers, however, are small, fragrant and have a complex structure.

They are arranged neatly, instead of formally, on the dangling stems. You should grow these orchids in temperatures ranging from intermediate to warm and in light shade. Ideally, the plants need to be grown in hanging pots or baskets packed with a loose and fast-draining growing medium.

These plants flourish in high levels of humidity and have a preference for frequent watering. When the plants are in their bud stage, you need to provide them with a rest period and hold back watering for some time. Here is a warning for buyers: The names of the species belonging to genus Gongora are very confusing as well as confused.

Gongora armeniaca (G. cornuta)

The color of the flowers of Gongora armeniaca (also known as G. cornuta) orchids varies from yellow to orange having red spots. The individual flowers measure about 2 inches across. The plant is in bloom in summer.

Gongora galeata

The inflorescence of Gongora galeata orchid are drooping and it bears rust-colored or yellowish brown flowers having a hooked lip.

Gongora horichiana (G. armeniaca bicornuta)

Gongora horichiana (also known as G. armeniaca bicornuta) orchids bear bright red flowers.

Gongora quinquenervis

Gongora quinquenervis is a variable species and may comprise plants such as G. maculata and G. bufonia. The flowering spikes of this species of orchids may grow up to a length of 3 feet. The flowers appear in various colors, including white, red, yellow, or greenish. They may or may not have spots and stripes.

The Botanical Orchids


The plants of genus Lockhartia comprise groups of unbranched stems, which may either be erect or drooping. They produce short leaves whose broad bases cover the stems. As a result, they appear like a braided watch chain. The flowers of these orchids appear in clusters on small spikes that bear resemblance to those of oncidiums.

Species in the genus Lockhartia have a preference for a humid atmosphere, bright light and intermediate temperatures. You should grow these orchids in bark and provide them with generous amounts of water. However, you need to hold back some water during the winter months. These plants flower over long periods and sometimes all through the year.

Lockhartia lunifera

The stems of this orchid species are erect and grow up to a height of one foot. Usually, the flower spike appears at the stem terminal and bears a couple of golden yellow blooms, with sprinkling of minute purple dots. The individual flowers are small, measuring just half-inch across.

Lockhartia oerstedtii

The stems of Lockhartia oerstedtii are erect and grow up to a height of about 1 ½ feet. The flowers may appear singly or in pairs. The individual flowers of this orchid species are small and measure less than an inch across. The flowers have a vivid yellow hue with and ornately shaped lip that are marked with brown distentions.

Ludisia discolor (Haemaria discolor)

Orchids in the genus Ludisia discolor (also known as Haemaria discolor) are grown for their foliage instead of their flowers. Perhaps, these orchids are easiest to grow. The plants flourish when grown under the conditions that you would provide an African violet.

They require loose, rich, house plant potting mix, moderate intensity of light, temperatures ranging from cool to warm, plenty of water with a well drainage growing medium and infrequent light feeding. The stems are branching as well as creeping and rosettes of broadly oval shaped, bronze colored leaves with velvety texture emerge from the ends of the stems.

The individual leaves measure about 3 inches in length and are veined with red. The slender flower spike grows up to a height of 6 inches and bears numerous miniature white blooms with yellow lips. It is very easy to propagate these orchids and also an excellent plant that you may share with your friends.

Small broken pieces of the roots readily give rise to new plants provided the potting mix is moist. Sometimes, these plants are sold as L. dawsoniana or L. discolor dawsoniana.


The orchids in genus Lycaste may either be deciduous or semi evergreen and they shed leaves in arid winter months. These orchids produce large, thin-textured leaves that are pleated. The flowers emerge from the pseudo bulbs' base earlier than the leaves develop or just as the leaves start expanding.

The flowering stem is short and each carries a solitary flower. However, the pseudo bulbs produce several such flowering stems. The flowers of this orchid genus comprise three large sepals in addition to two small inner petals (generally the sepals and petals are of contrasting hues). The sepals form a hood either on top of or around the lip.

Usually the flowers last for a long period when on the plants, but once cut they get bruised easily. You should grow Lycaste orchids in partial shade and in temperatures ranging from cool to intermediate. In addition, you should use the same potting mix that you use to grow cymbidiums. Alternatively you may also use a bark-based mix.

During the winter months, the plants require very little water, but you must provide them with heavy watering when they are in bloom and also when the leaves appear. Heavy watering should be continued till the plant's new growth is complete. Aside from the Lycaste species mentioned below, this genus comprises several other species, many hybrids. In addition, you may also avail selections occasionally.

Lycaste aromatic

The flower stems of Lycaste aromatic orchid grow up to a height of 6 inches and each carries a solitary flower measuring about 3 inches across. The pseudo bulbs of this species may produce about a dozen such stems. While the petals have a bright yellow hue, the sepals are yellow with a touch of green. The flowers have a potent cinnamon fragrance when they open either towards the end of winter or in spring.

Lycaste brevispatha

The flower stalks of this Lycaste species grows up to a height of 4 inches and each bears two-inch blooms. While the color of the petals varies from white to rose, the sepals are pale green with pink spots. The lip of the flower is white.

Lycaste campbellii

The flowers of this orchid species are small. While the petals are yellow, the color of the sepals is green. The lip has a deeper yellow hue.

Lycaste cruenta

This Lycaste species bears resemblance to L. aromatic, but its flowers measure about 4 inches across.

Lycaste denningiana

The stems of Lycaste denningiana are drooping and grow up to a length of 20 inches. The flowers are large, each measuring 5 inches to 6 inches in diameter. The flowers have pale green segments and the lip is bright orange hued. The leaves remain on the orchids from one season to another. This orchid species has a preference for cool, dry conditions. The plants are in bloom in winter.

Lycaste deppei

The plants of Lycaste deppei are similar to those of L. aromatic, but the sepals of this orchid are green with close red spots. The petals are white, while the lip is yellow. The individual flowers measure about 4 inches across. The plants are in bloom from spring to fall.

Lycaste macrobulbon

This orchid species is in bloom in spring and summer. The individual flowers measure 2 ½ inches across and their petals are whitish yellow. The sepals are greenish yellow, while the lip is yellow with a few brown spotting.

Lycaste macrophylla

The petals of Lycaste macrophylla are white with pinkish spots, while the sepals are green with their edges having pinkish brown hue. The lip is white with pink dots. The individual flowers measure about 3 ½ inches across. Usually the plants are in bloom in spring or summer, but some of them may bear flowers at any time of the year.

Lycaste skinneri (L. virginalis)

The flower stems of Lycaste skinneri (L. virginalis) can grow up to a height of 6 inches and they produce leaves that may be as long as 30 inches. The color of the sepals varies from white to deep pink, while the petals have a deeper pink to red hue. Even the color of the lip varies from white to light pink and has deeper pink spotting.

The individual flowers measure about 6 inches across. In fact, a variety, L. s. alba, bears pure white blooms. There are a number of named selections of this species. This orchid is the national flower of Guatemala. Different from other Lycaste species, these plants do not require a rest period during the winter. The plants are in bloom in fall and in winter.

Lycaste trifoliate

This orchid species bears small flower having apple green hue. The lip of the flowers is heavily fringed.

The Botanical Orchids

Phaius tankervilleae (P. grandifolius)

The orchids in the genus Phaius are also known as "Nun's orchid". This genus comprises 50 odd species of orchids, but only the species Phaius tankervilleae (P. grandiflora) are seen. This species is a large terrestrial plant that has its origin in a vast range extending from China to Australia.

The plants that are native to the northern region are capable enduring temperatures as low as 40°F (5°C) or may be even lower. While the plants in this species generally have a preference of a temperature range between intermediate and warm, in order to produce flowers satisfactorily, they also require a chilling period during the winter months.

During their winter chilling period, the plants require very little water. The pseudo bulbs grow up to a height of 3 inches and carry two to four large, evergreen leaves that are heavily pleated. Each leaf measures anything between 1 foot to 3 feet in length.

The flower of Phaius tankervilleae emerges from the base of the pseudo bulbs and grows up to a height of 4 feet. Each flower spike bears as many as 20 fragrant, brownish red flowers with a white lip. The individual flowers measure about 4 inches to 5 inches across. The plants are in bloom in spring.

You can grow this orchid species in a loose, rich, soil-based potting mix along with a fine organic content. These plants can be grown outdoors in deep South as well as Southern California. In other places, the plants can be kept outside during the summer. However, you need to ensure that they are grown in a light shade.


Plants in the genus Pleione are dwarf orchids. They are deciduous and bear showy blooms. These orchids have their origin in the high mountains in China and India and are somewhat hardy. These plants may be grown outdoors in light shade in places were frosts rarely occur and the temperatures during summer are moderate.

However, you need to ensure that the plants are grown in a rich peaty soil having excellent drainage. They also require some protection during the winter months when they are grown outdoors. In other words, these orchids need to be protected from deep freezing and excessive rain.

The pseudo bulbs of the plants in this genus are small and are top or round-shaped, each producing one or two slender and pleated leaves. The flowers are large compared to the plants' size and bear resemblance to those of cattleyas. In most Pleione species, the flowers appear as soon as the leaves being to emerge.

These plants need to be repotted every year prior to their new growth. While repotting the orchids use highly organic, rich and well drained soil mix. You can plant several of these orchids in clusters in a shallow pot for a wonderful display of their flowers. While repotting just bury one quarter of the bulb's base in the soil mix.

Water the plants to encourage new growth. These plants are in bloom in spring and the blooms are followed by foliage. Watering should be continued and the plants need to be fed well till the color of the foliage turns yellow. Subsequently, the foliage dries off.

Pleione bulbocodioides

The flower stalks of this orchid species grow up to a height of 6 inches and bears purple blooms with a white lip having reddish spots. The individual flowers measure about 3 inches across.

Pleione formosana

The flowers of Pleione formosana are purple with a fringed lip with a yellow center and brownish red markings. The flowers measure about 3 inches to 4 inches across.

Pleione forrestii

The flowers of this Pleione species are yellow, while the lip has brownish red spots.

Pleione praecox

The plants of Pleione praecox bear resemblance to those of P. bulbocodioides. However, one or two the flowers of this orchid species are borne on the spike. The plants are in bloom in autumn when the color of their leaves changes to yellow.


Pleurothallis is a very large genus comprising more than 1,000 orchid species. Nearly all the plants in this genus are small (in fact some are tiny) bearing small, ordinary flowers. However, the blooms are interesting owing to the oddity of their form, particularly when seen under a magnifying glass.

The foliage of many of these is also atypical. Although the orchids in genus Pleurothallis are an acquired taste, several people gather these plants keenly. The plants in this genus do not have pseudo bulbs. The leaves emerge directly from the rhizome clusters.

The flowering stems of many species seem to rise from the middle of the leaf. In fact, the leaf stalk and the midrib that encircle most of the length of the flower stalk give this weird impression. These orchids need to be grown in temperatures ranging from cool to intermediate and in partial shade.


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