Well… I did not get the actual flask to flower, that would have been quite a trick, but rather the orchid seedling in it and I am so excited! This is a very big day for me as an orchid grower. The very first flask baby that I have raised all the way from a flask to a flower is now blooming! It is a Dendrobium cyanocentrum that I bought as a very tiny seedling from Equatorial Plants in August of 2008. D. cyanocentrum is beautiful little miniature epiphyte from New Guinea where it grows in mountain forests at altitudes of 100 to 1300 meters. It was sold to me as the blue variety, but I am wondering if it is not the alba form I have since it is clearly not blue. I wrote Dick at Equatorial Plants and asked him, but have not heard back from him yet, but I will let you know what he says. In either case, it is absolutely gorgeous little thing. I think the flowers look like some sort of a bird with a yellow beak and blue eyes. It has an amazing root system and it grows very vigorously and forms into a tight ball. The leaves have a red or purple tone to the edges and undersides. I got three flowers this first time and they measure about 1,5 cm across. The whole plant is no more than 8 cm. I grow mine mounted on cork in the warm vivarium so it really likes it nice and warm with high RH and fairly bright light. I grow mine about 20 cm from the lights and keep it evenly moist all year. Equatorial Plants has a pretty good deal where they will deflask the seedlings for you and then send you a “hobby flask” of 5 freshly deflasked little seedlings. This way you you don’t have to order a whole flask at a time. Good for us with limited space who still want to give babies a try. This is what I did in 2008, and I have kept 2 of my 5 babies and sold or traded with the rest. From what I read this plant is not very common in cultivation which is hard to believe. It is sooo beautiful and does not take up much space.
So a whole bunch of the little flask babies I ordered from Equatorial Plants last summer got to move out of the nursery this week. It was a pretty big job, but really fun to see how much the little guys have grown in about 9 months. It is almost like giving birth, well I am sure my dear sister would dispute that statement… well at least I feel proud as a mother fussing about with the little flask babies. The Dendrobium cyanocentrum v.blue babies (image to the left) that I mounted back in January have gone absolutely nuts. They obviously love their new home in the warm vivarium because there are roots and shoot all over the place! Really cool! Then there is the new transplants…. drumroll please. A few got potted, some mounted on EpiWeb, most were placed into the warm vivarium, a couple got to move into the nano vivarium, and a few gets to stay in the nursery mini-greenhouse for a bit longer, but now in their own pots. Even a Phalaenopsis wilsonii is given a lease on life after arriving in really poor state from the beginning and not doing as much as quiver in the nursery. But the roots are still green so we’ll see if moving into the warm vivarium will kick start some action. There are a bunch of the smaller babies left in the community pots but they will need a few more months of maturing before they are ready. You have to be patient when you grow orchids from flasks, but it is very rewarding. I can already imagine 2-3 years from now when they will bloom for the first time. Yes, I said years.
My first flask baby orchids have grown up enough to move out into the world. They are still small, but they are off to a good home. A quite well grown little Dendrobium cyanocentrum and a Promenaea rollinsonii baby plus a little keiki off my Gastrochilus calceolaris is now on their way to their new home with Jonas in Malmö. We have been talking about this trade for a couple of months already, but it has been too cold to ship anything until now. I’m getting a division of Pleurothallis sarracenia, some really cool carpet forming Bulbophyllum sp. (nicknamed “skägget” = “the beard”) and a lovely orange Cattleya hybrid in this trade. By the way… I know I have ridiculously maternal instincts for these little guys… I call them my “flask babies” – or as my dear brother affectionately calls it – the “orchilds.” Mainly because he really sucks at spelling and thought that it actually was the name of my blog, and perhaps it should be, but that is a whole different story.
I don’t know how it happened, and I can’t remember where, but I fell in love with phal bellina about a year ago and have ever since dreamed about a vivarium for warm growing species. Now that I have one, I finally came home with my beloved bellina. I am soo happy!! I had ordered it from Marita Åkesson along with a Phalaenopsis cochlearis, but I came home with a Phalaenopsis miva fragrance (violacea x zuma gold) as well. So now I have four lovely warm loving phals in the vivarium, counting my first phal amboinensis flask baby to leave the nursery. When repotting the newbies I discovered a flower stalk on the cochlearis too – extra bonus! The Angraecum florulentum that I got from Marita back in 2007 along with one Paphiopedilum bellatulum and three Dendrobium cyanocentrum (blue) flask babies also graduated to the new viv., it’s starting to look pretty nice but I still have a lot of room in there. The florulentum has been growing fine on the windowsill, but last year the two flower stalks dried up before they could mature and now it has started two new stalks (and something that could possibly be a keiki – see img. 4 above) and I don’t want a repeat of last year. The humid environment in the viv should take care of that.
Time for another update on the flask baby project. Yesterday was a big day! The first few teenagers got to move out of the community pots and into a little pot of their own today. Granted, I still placed them in sphagnum moss and keep them in a separate mini-greenhouse in pretty much the same conditions as before but still, this is a big step. It took better part of my sunday afternoon to do it but it was very exciting. Two Cattleya schilleriana, one Phalaenopsis amboinensis, one Paphiopedilum bellatulum and three dendrobium cyanocentrum (blue) got to graduate. I mounted the dendrobiums, two on cork and one directly on the EpiWeb in the nano-orchidarium. The rest of the youngsters got a root-check, and all are looking really good!! The Promenaea rollinsonii have started growing a lot finally. Then I replaced the moss before replanting – consolidating tubs. I also went ahead and deflasked the last two flaks from Ecuagenera (Masdevallia decumana and m. infracta) since one was starting to mould and I was starting to ger a few clear leaves on the plants in the other. They came out fine and looked great! Especially the Masdevallia decumana babies looked big and really healthy (the tub in the back). Very cool!