Monday, December 20, 2010

For those who want to grow an eye-popping orchid, Blc. Memoria Crispin Rosales

Blc. Memoria Crispin Rosales

My hand in the back gives a scale to judge the size of this flower

This photo shows the tree fern pole, the roots and the size of the flower in relation to the size of the plant.

In recent years the interest of the more advanced orchid growers has been moving away from the traditionally grown genera and toward a rarer, more exotic fare.  That doesn’t mean that the most commonly grown genera are ignored, just that growers want to explore new and interesting forms in their flowers.  However for most of the public the Cattleya and its hybrids are still the stereotypical orchid.  I am not immune to their allure and I do grow a few Cattleya along with the orchids with weird and peculiar flowers.
But since it takes the same effort to grow a mediocre plant than a good plant I have tried to get the best Cattleya that I could afford.   One that I like a lot is Blc. Memoria Crispin Rosales, the reason is this plant capacity to produce enormous, brightly colored, eye popping flowers.  Blc. Memoria Crispin Rosales is an old hybrid produced in 1959 from a cross between Lc. Bonanza and Blc. Norma’s Bay.  There are many clones of this hybrid in the market, all are big and brightly colored but differ in details of the flower form and their shade of coloring.
But getting your plant to produce those enormous flowers demands some attention to their culture and growing needs.  My plant is rather picky when it comes to its growing media, it hates water retentive closely packed media and grows poorly on it.  For that reason I have it on a tree fern pole where its roots can roam freely in any direction they chose.  Another thing it has is that it is a pest magnet, white flies and scales seem to regard it as the most delicious meal imaginable.  I control both pests with a spray bottle full or alcohol and a Q-tip.  The alcohol kills white fly on contact and the Q-tip helps me scrape off any scale I see in the plant.  The issue here is that you have to inspect your plant from time to time to make sure it is not taken over by these pesky pests.  I recommend that every month or so you devote some time to inspect your plant for pests.  Killing the pests when they are few is much easier that when they have multiplied and damaged your plant.  Black rot has been a problem also but only when there is a spell of many rainy days that is accompanied with temperatures in the sixties.  In the years I have had this plant it has lost several pseudobulbs to rots that attacked  and propagated with surprising speed.
I have experimented with growing my plant in several light levels.  When grown in low light it won’t bloom.  I had my plant in a shadier position when it was young as I was concerned its root system was too puny to expose it to bright light that might have dehydrated it.  In middle light level my plant produces a single enormous flower as you can see in the photos.  In stronger light it usually produces two flowers of a nice but unremarkable size.  In the strongest light it can produce two or three flowers. When the plant tries to produce three flowers the last flower has been weaker and smaller than the first two.  I am sure that my plant would be stronger growing in a pot with an airy non organic media rather than in a pole but for the time being it will stay in the pole.  I water my plant every day in the summer when weather is at its hottest but only once or twice a week when temperatures are in the seventies.  I guide myself by how plump I see the pseudobulbs, if they are dehydrated I water.  I give it fertilizer weekly but only when it is producing new growth.
So if you want to grow an orchid that will reward your care with some of the largest flowers in the Cattleya alliance, Blc Memoria Crispin Rosales is really worth the modest amount of effort needed to grow it to its best.    Nowadays the staggering variation in the flowers of the Cattleya alliance means that there are flowers that can fit the taste of even the most demanding orchid grower, however Blc. Memoria Crispin Rosales has stood the test of time.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Been growing a Blc. Memoria Crispin Rosales x Bc. Pastoral 'Innocence' FCC/AOS for many years. One of the best!