Friday, May 11, 2012

Encyclia Orchid Jungle (Enc. alata x Enc. phoenicia)

This orchid is a hybrid, the cross of Encyclia alata and Encyclia phoenicia.  My plant is the product of a selfing of Encyclia Orchid Jungle.  My plant strongly favors the alata parent and the influence of phoenicia is mostly shown in the enhanced color of the flowers which are more colorful than those of alata.  The flowers are very flat in the sense that the petals and sepals are all in one plane, in a side photo they are barely visible, this makes for a wonderful presentation of the flower when seen from the front.  The flower segments borders are barely recurved back in contrast with those of alata.  I had an alata in which the flower segment would curl back in the mature flower.  The flowers have a dark chocolate color at the ends of the sepals and petals but the color changes into a light green toward the base the floral segments.  The chocolate and green floral segments strongly contrast with the yellow lip.  The lip has ridges and these are decorated with maroon lines, the lip margin has a narrow yellow line along its lower end.
My plant grew vigorously and bloomed well for years but sadly most of the plant succumbed to root rot during a particularly wet summer.  All that could be saved from the root rot was a single pseudobulb.  In time this pseudobulb produced new growths and started blooming again.  The lesson here is to be alert to signs that the media in which your Encyclia plants is becoming decayed and its killing the roots. This is harder that you would think as the media can look quite good on the top and be in a crummy condition under the surface.  That’s why I am planting my Encyclias now either in pots with rock or in very open baskets that allow the roots to have an extremely good access to oxigen and that lets any piece of decayed media to fall away when I water the plants.

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