Saturday, October 1, 2016

Odd little Cymbidium hybrid, and keeping feet wet?

When I first purchased an unlabelled, previously unflowered Cymbidium from a local here in Townsville, I had no idea what it would be... and I still don't a year later. It is a stubby little plant with very robust leaves, similar to C. aloifolium. It flowered from a very short inflorescence which barely made it out of the potting medium. I actually thought the inflorescence was initially a new growth but it stopped growing and then split open slightly, through which emerged five small buds. The flowers are small (max about 4-6 cm or so long) and are heavy, solid, thick and waxy. The inflorescence is so short it is hard to tell if it is ascending or pendulous. Maybe the next flowering will give better results. To be honest it looks like an early primary hybrid or an incidental hybrid from some attempt at crossing some of the Australian and Southeast Asian tropical species? It's not exactly prize-winning material but it has some charm about it. I love the "teeth".

Pity the teeth aren't blue - it would then have Bluetooth...
The summer here in Townsville is hot and humid. Summer is usually the wet season while winter is usually very pleasant (like Cape Town weather in early summer) and very dry. When the humidity drops things dry out very quickly which is why many of the locals here refer to Townsville as Brownsville. I had noticed a few of my plants stressing due to  drying out rapidly, so I decided to try out a simple technique that I was introduced to by a friend of mine back in South Africa. For some of the Vandas I have, I placed individual roots into small containers filled with water, placed into the pot. Within days I could see the difference. The plants used a huge amount of water daily, so I had to keep topping up the containers. After one month or so my terete Vanda is pushing out loads of new roots, not only from those I placed into the containers of water but also all the way up the main stem. New leaves pushed out the top are also longer and broader than those previously.

I purchased a large Angraecum eburneum recently and decided to use a similar trick on this large plant too. I took a 2L plastic cooldrink bottle and punched a small hole in its base. A small hole was also made in the lid to fix a wire hook and to allow for slow equalisation of pressure in the bottle to facilitate a slow constant drip out the bottom. This bottle was suspended above the plant and delivers about 2L of water in about 12 hours. Since this introduction this plant too is pushing out new roots and side roots all over the place and the leaves on existing growth have lengthened. This plant is obviously using a large volume of water too since very little if any of it runs clear of the massive root system, which just sucks it all in and appears a constant green colour and moist. This technique is useful for fertilising too, and I fertilise using the same method once per week.

Happy Angraecum eburneum with water bottle drip system