Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Coelogyne rochussenii de Vriese 1854. Beautiful and with a powerful fragrance

I brought this plant about five years ago.   Initially it didn’t do well.  For reasons that I could not decipher the new growths kept dying from rot.  This is a very unusual thing to happen to a Coelogyne in my garden.   None of the other Coelogynes I grow, Burfordiense, mayeriana, parishii and an unknown one similar to schielleriana, has ever lost a new growth from black rot.   After the plant had initiated, and lost several new growths I decided that it was just not doing well in my growing area in the mountains of Puerto Rico.  I took the plant to my other growing area, which is in the lowlands near the northwest coast of the island.  It is warmer and drier that the other location.  Since the plant didn’t have that many roots and no new growths, I put it over a pond, where it would be in a humid environment but without the constant wetness of the other area in the mountains.

The plant slowly began producing new growths and thankfully they didn’t rot.  I was not paying too much attention to it since I worried that I might have been killing it with kindness.  The plant spent years over the pond, including staying there during two hurricanes, which didn’t have the slightest effect on it.

Last week as I was walking in the garden, I noticed that it had some green growths, I initially thought they were young pseudobulbs, but on closer inspection I found out they were inflorescences.  I was delighted.  The plant produced an inflorescence las year, but it was short and not impressive.

I took the plant with me to the mountains so I could enjoy the flowers.  The flowers opened today, the 22 of October.   Initially the fragrance was slight.  But by 10 am the fragrance was powerful, in fact so much so that it was cloying.   It is a nice fragrance, but as I stood close to the two inflorescences, it was so strong I could almost taste it.   In the afternoon, the flowers started to close and the fragrance abated considerably, by night fall I could detect no smell.  Many of the photos I have seen in the internet show flowers that are partly closed.
I plan to grow this orchid into a specimen plant.  It grows well with little special care.  My suspicion is that I was watering it too much.   It seems to like environmental humidity but not being wet all the time.  I plan to use a flat plate to grow it to allow it to ramble at will, the conical pseudobulbs are separated by stolon that is a few inches long.  This means that this orchid will escape from a typical pot in one or two years at most.