a native of Mexico but also occurring more rarely
in Guatemala and Honduras, is one of the most
common, yet one of the most satisfying orchids to
grow outdoors in San Diego. It's ease of
care makes it an ideal plant for the beginner as
well as the expert. Laelia anceps is one of the
hardiest for cold tolerance of any of the
Cattleya alliance, tolerating reported lows of
22ºF without any damage, and high temperatures
over 100ºF rarely trouble it. It's
blooming season is customarily November through
January. It is grown in pots or mounted, and in
subtropical areas is noted for being one of the
best to naturalize on trees around the garden,
where regular watering is usually adequate.
Many trees (except pines) are well suited for L.
anceps. Oaks are among the best of trees,
and jacarada, palms, citrus, fiejoa, dracinias,
and white birch are quite good. Plants
should be tied or stapled to trunks and branches.
laelia likes medium to high light, about
2000-3500 foot-candles. Bright light to
some sun must be given to the plants, but no
direct sun in the middle of the day. Leaves
should be a medium green color. Very
low light is not adequate for successful
Temperature: Laelia anceps is
one of the more temperature tolerant orchids in
cultivation today, making it a natural for
outdoor growing in southern California and
comparable climates. It has been known to
survive winter nights of down to 22ºF unharmed, higher
day temperatures can be tolerated (up to 100
degrees F), if humidity, air circulation and
shading are increased.
Water: Water frequently
throughout the growing season, which is mostly
April through November. Mounted plants may
be watered daily during spring and summer. Water
may be reduced in the winter dormant time.
Washing off the flower buds by rain or hose is
often needed to keep buds from sticking together.
Fertilizer: Regular feeding
with a balanced fertilizer will enhance growth,
particularly during the growing season of April
Potting: Potting is necessary when 1)
the rhizome of the plants protrudes over the edge
of the pot, or 2) the potting medium starts to
break down and drain poorly (usually after 2 to 3
years). It is best to repot 1) just before new
roots sprout from the rhizome, 2) after
flowering, or 3) in the spring time.
Culture information courtesy of
Barbara Orchid Estate.
Photo by Webmaster.