Saturday, January 17, 2015

Laelia marginata also known as Schomburgkia crispa Lindley 1838

I brought this plant as a large seedling a few years ago.  I can’t say I gave it any particular attention.  It was just there in the bench with all the other orchids.   The only thing that I made sure was that the media in which it was growing was composed of good quality bark and that the mix allowed plenty of air to reach the roots.  This is very, very important in these orchids as the roots will rot if the media becomes anoxic which can happen if it becomes waterlogged.  I speak this out of sad experience, I have lost plants because I neglected to repot them timely and the media decomposed and killed all the roots.

This plant is growing in my garden in the north coast of Puerto Rico.   Temperatures in the area can soar into the nineties during the hottest part of the day, nighttime lows are around 75F but at the cusp of summer sometimes they barely go under 80 degrees.  Between the months of May and December it rains regularly, sometimes abundantly but in winter and early spring the weather can be very dry.  The trade winds are good for the plants most of the year but during the dry season they can desiccate the plants pretty fast.

This plant gets fertilized when it is in its growth phase, it gets no fertilized when it is not growing.  It is growing under shade cloth, but one that allows for plenty of light to get through, this is not a plant that loves shade.  So far I have had no problems with pests with this species, although some other Laelias in my garden have had to be treated for scale insects.

So far I have had no problems with this plant except that it grew relatively slowly, but perhaps that is partly my fault for not giving it particular attention when it was in the growth phase of its yearly cycle.   The only complaint that I can make is that it will be a pretty large plant when it reaches full adult size, this is clearly not a plant for the grower with limited space.  On the other hand it will make an impressive garden plant in places where the climate allows for growing this plant outside.

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