Thursday, 10 March 2016

New Plants - Delivery #2 from Schwerter, Germany

This is the only trouble with making space in your growroom...the desire to fill it is very hard to resist. It is good to be replacing plants I had several of with plants I actually want to be growing. Once again, this delivery was dispatched very promptly on Monday of this week. Schwerter were very clear that they like to send early in the week so that the plants are not sitting in a cold DHL warehouse over the weekend. Just like last time, after being sent on Monday, the plants arrived on Wednesday lunchtime. There will be quite a lot of fairly boring photographs in this post, along with one or two pretty ones. So without further fiddle-faddle, here are the plants I ordered, with a little info about each of them.

Firstly, the latest addition to my growing Coelogyne collection. This appears to be an unregistered hybrid between Coelogyne salmonicolor and Coelogyne usitana.

To give some idea of scale, this plant is growing in a 15cm diameter hanging pot, so the plant is already a fair size, and still growing. No sign of old flower spikes, so maybe the next set of new growth will produce flowers. I believe there is a small error in the naming of this. The label quite clearly states Coelogyne salmonicolor as one of the parents, but I find this unlikely. Far more likely is that Coelogyne speciosa var. salmonicolor has been used, especially given the overall habit of the plant. Having never grown Coelogyne usitana, I'm not sure how big the plant gets, but this specimen looks easily large enough to bloom. At any rate, the quality is excellent once again. I have inserted a stake to hold the plant steady while those two new growths root out as it looks like this one is quite freshly potted on.

Secondly, we have Asconopsis Irene Dobkin. This is one of those random intergeneric hybrids which are quite interesting. This particular one has been on my list for quite a few years but I haven't been able to find one at a price I was willing to pay. Until now. It is a hybrid between a Phalaenopsis hybrid (i forget which one) and Ascocentrum miniatum. These two parents like completely different growing conditions, and I have read in several places that this hybrid is difficult, so I ordered with a degree of trepidation. The plant itself is nice quality, of a decent size and has several old flower spikes which I always consider to be a good sign.

As you can see, it is (or was) in a very small pot for the size of the plant. This looks like it has been imported fairly recenty from the far east, as it is in its flimsy polythene pot and rooted into tightly packed sphagnum moss. It clearly doesn't like to root into the moss, as the vast majority of roots are actually circling in the top 1/3 of the pot, and don't really penetrate the moss at all. Now I must stress that there aren't any dead roots at all in there, but the plant does seem to have a small amount of root compared to the amount of top growth, so something is out of balance. I have now removed the polythene pot and the compacted moss. I have stood the plant in a small basket with no growing media, and then potted that into a larger pond pot with coarse bark chips. From here I enter the murky realms of hypothesis. Vegetatively, the plant looks almost directly midway between its parents. The leaves are broader than Ascocentrum but much narower than Phalaenopsis, so I would assume that its light requirement is somewhere between the two, too. Growing under lights as I do gives me the advantage of being able to grow these plants under the maximum possible light without burning the leaves. The behaviour of the roots tells me that they don't like a compact growing medium and need an ample supply of air. Normally we grow Phalaenopsis in pots and Ascocentrum either in a basket with no medium as we would a Vanda or mounted on wood. Hence, when repotting, I went for the mid-point between the two.

Next we have two forms of Phalaenopsis cornu-cervi.  I am already growing Phal. cornu-cervi var. flava (the yellow form), and the plant does very well indeed and is now blooming on three flower spikes. The two new additons are Phal cornu-cervi 4n and Phal cornu-cervi var Chattaladae. The 4n form should be a heavier bloomer than the straight species, with more, larger flowers and more spikes. It was delivered with two flower spikes already, so it won't be long before I find out. Phal cornu-cervi var Chattaladae is a red flowered form. This plant is slightly smaller but is still of blooming size, so hopefully it will spike up in the near future, though it could easily wait until the nights cool off again in the Autumn.

Phal. cornu-cervi 4n

Phal. cornu-cervi var. chattaladae

Next up we have a couple of Phalaenopsis hybrids. The first is a primary hybrid called Corning's violet between P. violacea and P. corningiana. I thought it was named after the hybridizer, but it seems there are a raft of primaries based on P. corningiana crossed onto another species. I much prefer these primary hybrids to the more blousy complex hybrids based on Phalaenopsis amabilis and a few others, and I find them more botanically interesting, and they tend to take up less room.

Two flower spikes emerging on this one. The plant is a nice size and doesn't need repotting. The second hybrid is Phalaenopsis Dragon Tree Eagle 'DT168'. This is by far the smallest plant and was the most expensive. Still, should be an interesting flower, and fragrant to boot.

As you can see, this is a comparatively fresh import, just like the Asconopsis above, and has now been repotted into a 13cm clear pot with coarse bark chips, and it immediately looks happier. Flower spike just emerging, too.

And finally, after all that effort, we reach the last plant. This is another of those random intergeneric hybrids called Renanthopsis Mildred Jameson. This is actually a primary hybrid (primary hybrid = species x species) between Renanthera monachica and Phalaenopsis stuartiana. It really brings the best of both species to the table, and the flowers are gorgeous. This one arrived already in bloom, and so expertly wrapped it is still in perfect condition.

Look at that spotting. Of course, it helps that both its parents are spotted, too. Vegetatively, the plant is once again somewhere between its parents. Renanthera species tend to be tall and ungainly for the indoor grower, so I'm glad to see that the Phalaenopsis influence has reduced the height of the plant somewhat. Having said that, I haven't seen a fully grown specimen yet so it might be that the plant will be come large with time. The flower count seems rather low, too (5 or 6 on the spike) though again that could simply be that the plant is rather young.

I haven't heard of this one having a reputation for difficulty either, so I'm guessing if I grow it in with my other Phalaenopsis/Vanda alliance plants it will do well for me.

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