Monday, September 30, 2013

Bulbophyllum rothschildianum (O’Brien) J.J. Smith (1912) , not difficult to grow in Puerto RIco, but susceptible to scales

This species comes from India and Thailand.¹  I brought some small seedlings about a decade ago.  They proved to be easy to care for and grew well under the climatic conditions (warm) that are prevalent in my local area.  Unfortunately the plants turned out to be vulnerable to infestation by hard brown scale.  The plants were successfully treated for this insect pest but they apparently suffered considerably and were weakened by the scales.  Scales are an insidious and persistent pest that needs constant vigilance to keep under control.

My plants spent several years without blooming.  The flowers in the photos of this post are the first ones since the infestation.  My plants come from seedlings that were the product of crossing two plants, not from meristem cloning of a selected plant.  As a result my two plants produce somewhat different flowers.  One produced mostly red flowers whose petals at times separate.  The other produces flowers that are variable and can be solid red, stripped in red and green and even have one red sepal and one green/red stripped sepal in the same plant.

The flowers in this blooming of my plant are few and small compared with the inflorescences of an awarded clone that is in optimum conditions.  However I expect that in coming years my plant will grow stronger and better.    A selected clone of this species can have lateral sepals measuring from 13.5 to 15 cm, hopefully my plants will some day approach this size.¹

¹Siegerist, Emly S. 2001. Bulbophyllums and their allies: A grower’s guide

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