Friday, August 30, 2013

Bulbophyllum Elizabeth Ann 'Jean'

This plant was a gift from a friend.  He gave me a bare root two pseudobulb division.    I received the plant from the USA in January 30.  The date is important because it means that I had to help establish a bare root Bulbophyllum in the low humidity environment of the local dry season.  Potting this plant in a wire basket, as I prefer to do with Bulbophyllum, was out of question as the basket, even if watered daily, would dry much too fast for the needs of a plant trying to grow a new root system.  So I planted the Bulbophyllum in a one inch deep, eight inches wide plastic dish of the kind that is put under pots to hold water.  I filled the dish with sphagnum moss and kept the moss moist all the time.  The plant didn’t show any activity for months, near the end of the dry season it started producing new growths.  The backbulb produced a side branch and the leading bulb produced two growths.

By the time the new pseudobulbs were growing at their fastest pace the rainy season had arrived (by this time it was May) and low humidity was no longer an issue.  The new pseudobulbs were smaller than the original ones, which is understandable considering the orchid produced these growths without the benefit of an established root system.  The new pseudobulbs produced abundant roots when they reached the end of their development.

All the new pseudobulbs pleasantly surprised me by producing inflorescences.  But not all inflorescences were of equal quality.  The new pseudobulb that grew from the older pseudobulb of the original plant was stronger and produced a full sized inflorescence.  The inflorescences from the two smaller pseudobulbs were also small and some of the flowers were aborted.  But I was not disappointed since the flowers from the larger inflorescence were so nice.

This particular Bulbophyllum can grow into a large specimen plant if given good consistent care.  You can find photos of impressively large plants in the internet.  I find this plant easy to grow.   Unfortunately the length of the internodes between pseudobulbs means that this plant will outgrow most pots and baskets in a relatively short time.  From what I have seen in the Internet, the best option for this plant seems to be to grow it mounted.  I plan to eventually move my plant to a tree fern pole.  I use tree fern poles because I planted a Bulbophyllum lepidum on one and the plant thrived for many years.

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