Thursday, December 25, 2008

Stanhopea orchid – power of the flower spike

Its summer here in Sydney and my stanhopea orchids started growing flower spikes through the bottom and sides of planters. As usual during this time they require care and attention – our weather is quite erratic at this time of the year and hot and humid days followed by thunderstorms and tropical rains and winds. For me, it’s full on watering/ fertilizing routine, making sure that what appears like “delicate” flower spikes are not damaged during this time.

Its never sees to amaze me, this power of their flowering spikes. I know that many stanhopea orchid growers and collectors worry that when flower spike in its growth hits the side of the planter or when it touches any part of the basket, it can stop growing. From my experience, nothing is further from the truth…

Over the years I have seen this sheer determination and force of stanhopea’s flowering spikes to push through any object in their way to break through the orchid compost. I’ve had stanhopea plants growing in normal black plastic pots with spike winding around inside of the pot 3, 4 times and finally coming through the bottom of the pot through drainage holes – quite a site to see.

This year, one of my stanhopea plants that growing in wire basket sent out flowering shoot that hit the wire – so she’s simply turned around and kept growing and looking for an opening until it found it. I’ve captured it in the photos.

As usual during this time of the year there is a lot of anticipation in seeing these beautiful orchids flowering – early flowering varieties busy sending flowering shoots, mid season and later flowering varieties growing new leaves at amazing rate and I am looking forward to another wonderful flowering season.