Thursday, January 8, 2015
Sobralia callosa L.O. Williams 1946, a tiny representative of a genus know for its gigantic plants
Until a few years ago, all the Sobralias I knew were either large, or gigantic plants. When I visited Ecuador I saw Sobralia plants with fifteen feet tall canes. About two years ago I brought a Sobralia decora and was pleasantly surprised at how well it did in my garden. Encouraged by my success with Sob. decora I decided to try other species. Among the species I brought was Sobralia callosa.
At first I was overly enthused with this plant as I had never seen it in bloom in any local show or group meeting, a sign that either it was not that popular, or that few people were able to keep it alive. But I was pleasantly surprised when it grew well without any special attention. In 2014, it bloomed three times. The first time it bloomed I missed it entirely and only found out when I noticed the wilted flower. The second time it bloomed it produced a single flower, then in its last bloom of the year it produced four.
The photos here are of the flowers produced in January 7, 2015. I expect that as the plant gets larger the number of flowering stems will increase. The plant is practically microscopic by Sobralia standards, the stems barely reaching nine inches, this makes it the ideal plant for those that want to enjoy the flowers of this genus but lack the space to keep even the medium sized species.
I have yet to repot this plant from its original pot. My experience repotting these plants have been varied. I repotted Sobralia decora and it kept growing well without missing a beat. I repotted Sobralia violacea it died slowly, never producing a new growth. So my advice would be, if you are repotting these genus, to be careful and try to avoid damage to the root ball.
Sobralia callosa grows well in my climatic area, during most of the year it experiences highs in the middle seventies and low in the middle sixties. In the summer temperatures can climb into the middle eighties but remain there just for a few hours. I don’t fertilize this species often, watering is done weekly during the dry season, during the wet season it can rain daily for weeks or months on end. The plant is in a place where it gets full morning sun from 8:00 until 10:30 am the rest of the day it gets sunlight filtered thought the canopy of trees that surround the house.