Thursday, December 26, 2013
Coelia bella (Lem.) Rchb. f. 1861, unexpectedly blooming on the winter solstice
I brought this plant a bit over a year ago. When I brought it the orchid was already a good sized plant so I was sure it was going to bloom in 2013. I had read in the Internet that it was a summer blooming species. When new growths appeared, in spring, I took special care of this plant to make sure it had the optimum regime of watering and fertilizing for this species. The pseudobulbs the plant produced in spring were much bigger than any previous ones. But summer came and went and the plant remained without flowers. I was disappointed, but being patient I knew that sometimes plant took some time to bloom. In autumn the plant produced a single growth, which I didn’t fertilize or water, and as a result it produced a small pseudobulb. I didn’t fertilize the plant because I wondered whether giving it too much fertilizer could short circuit the blooming cycle and send it into a new round of vegetative growth.
To my surprise, in the second week of December I noticed emerging inflorescences. The plant produced four inflorescences. The first flower opened on the day of the winter solstice. The flowers are delightful but I have been unable, due to a stubborn cold, to enjoy the fragrance, which is reputed to be quite pleasant.