Welcome to the Irish Orchid Society

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    David Morse

    Prosthechea vitellina is a highly distinctive popular small orchid species from Mexico which was for many years classified as belonging to the genus Encyclia. It has bright vermillion to tangerine orange flowers contrastingly beautifully with glaucous green leaves and pseudobulbs which are covered in a waxy film which can smudge on touching rather like the farina found on some succulents such as Echeverias. The purpose of this covering is to protect the plant surface from burning in strong sunshine. The orchid is frequently described as easy to grow and adaptable to cool/intermediate environments. Nevertheless, to my puzzlement, not to mention embarrassment, I have failed to cultivate it successfully after two attempts. Then last year, on my third effort, I purchased an overpriced pathetic rootless specimen from Kopf Orchideen which held little promise. However, to my surprise I managed to revive it into vigorous growth that went on to produce a dainty flower spray (see photo attached). I attribute my change of fortune to using New Zealand sphagnum moss instead of the standard orchid bark that was had been tried on my previous attempts at cultivation. From what I have read it seems that this orchid requires constant moisture around the roots during the growing season without drying out and so this was more achievable in the moss medium. I keep the plant in moderately bright light all year and provide summer days and nights at about 25 C and 10 C respectively and winter days around 17 C with cool nights of 8 to 10 C. Only time will tell if the plant will persevere but that is what I love about orchids there is always something new to learn. Please let me know if you have triumphed growing this species and can offer any advice!

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    Marius Simkevicius

    Hi Shane,

    That is a very nice orchid. Very nice colour. Where do you keep it to get 10C ? Do you know any local source of Spagnum Moss ? Last year I added coco coir to all my orchid media and now I regret. No issues yet but I have been watching that youtube guy Roger (with glass of wine) chanel and he claims it is not good.

    David Morse

    Hiya Marius,
    My home is not well insulated and so 10C is easily reached and in fact during very cold weather it can drop to 8C in my bedroom!
    I have obtained New Zealand moss online from Grobraschener orchideen, Germany. It is expensive!
    Over many years, I have compared growing orchids in bark and coir husk chips. If you use good quality “orchid grade” coir it is coir that is actually superior to bark! (I think Roger was using poor quality coir which I have also had problems with) Also the quality of bark can vary sometimes it can be poor too!
    I imagine potting media will be discussed in detail at the Feb meeting as it relevant to the topic of the night (repotting). Perhaps bring a sample of your coir to the meeting? See you then and I shall have those free plants for you!

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