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Rupiculous Laelias

Posted by orchidnick z9Ca (orchidnick@yahoo.com) on
Sat, Aug 28, 10 at 10:38

Had a talk from Tom Biggart of Granite Hills Orchids in El Cajon, California on the Rupiculous (Rupicolus?) Laelia group. Very interesting bunch of little charmers. They grow in sandy soil and debris in the cracks of Brazilian rock formations. Not true terrestrials, nor lithophytes and certainly not epiphytes but a combination of the first two.

He grows them under 30% shade cloth in the blazing heat of El Cajon, outside Summer and Winter (30F - 105F) in unique potting conditions. Using clay pots he fills the bottom to within 2 1/2" of the top with 1/2" crushed granite. Then a thin layer of sphagnum moss topped with sandy soil. For that he mixes potting soil and sand 50/50. The plant is in that soil. The moss keeps the soil from washing out the bottom. In order to keep the soil from blowing or washing away from the top he places a layer of smaller rocks on top.

I won 4 of these thing with $15 worth of raffle tickets including Laelia milleri which is supposed to be a stunner with intense red flowers. Jay Phal calls L milleri a lithophyte ( http://www.orchidspecies.com/lmilleri.htm ) but Tom warns that they will not grow well on rock alone. They need the sandy debris which accumulates in the cracks of the rocks and he had beautiful pictures of them growing in nature illustrating this point.

I have some 30% Aluminet left over so will create an area for these little buggers today. He plans to sell at a show in January and will place an order for Brazilian orchids from Eco Orchideas, Sao Paulo, Brazil prior to then. A price list will be made available and a 30% reduction of stated price is likely.

I plan to get some more of these interesting plants if the ones I have do well. If anyone wants some, contact him, he seems eager to spread the interest in this group of plants and I'm sure they can be pre-ordered for January. He provided us with a list of 49 species, all labeled Laelias, but warned that nomenclature can be confusing as some are officially called Cattleyas and some have been completely renamed recently.

Any one growing these? Stitz?

Nick


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

Yup I do. I've gotten mine from several different sources including South America. I grow them in a clay pot and Prime Agra.

Brooke


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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

Nick,

Thank you for the "heads-up" from Tom Biggart. I am familiar with Tom. Tom is apparently an "agent" for Sergio Gutfreund of eco orquideas in Brasil. We have all communicated in the very recent past. Sergio supplies excellent "local" plants such as Laelia and Cattleya, which do not have thin leaves.

My understanding of the growth habits of rupiculous Laelia is that generally these species grow in wind-blown detritus which is found in rock crevices. As long as the roots are protected from the sun and they have very free drainage, these rupiculous Laelia plants are supposedly happy.

I currently grow these rupiculous Laelia species, lucasiana and fournieri. My plants sources were Alvim Seidel and Wenzel, both Brasilian.

I grow in identical conditions to Brooke's - in a clay pot with Prime Agra as the medium. I grow mine in FULL SUN. In Maryland, that is probably the equivalent of slightly shaded sun in their natural Brasilian origin.

My Laelia lucasiana is currently in flower. One of my two Laelia fournieri appears to be getting ready to flower however, these li'l buggers can often make a fool of me. It isn't difficult! :)

Contrary to some opinions which are shared on the internet, I suggest that collectors get mature plants rather than seedlings. I am more successful with MATURE plants. I've tried both.

"He [Tom] provided us with a list of 49 species, all labeled Laelias, but warned that nomenclature can be confusing as some are officially called Cattleyas and some have been completely renamed recently."

Nick, screw the Cattleya name that has been recently applied to this group of Laelia plants. FOUR different names for the genus over an eight year period?? C'mon!!

This is the "recent" history of the taxonomic genera designations for these species:

prior to 2000: Laelia
2000: Sophronitis
2002: Hoffmannseggella
2008: Cattleya

There is a very simple solution to the nomenclature problem. Growers/hobbyist should REFUSE to label their plants according to the latest, in-Vogue name.

Why do you think that the names keep changing? People REFUSE to accept them! Taxonomists need a steady income. Continuous changes help to stabilize their income.

Tom Biggart may become an excellent source in the future for the rupiculous Laelia plants. He is DEFINITELY worth a gamble. Nick, you are on the cutting edge! :)

--Stitz--


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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

I noticed you spelled them rupiculous same as Tom. Jay Phal spells them rupicolus. Rupiculous seems to be more wide spread.

I walked away with blumenschenii, esalqueana, gracilis and milleri. I'll use Tom's method as I have all the stuff in my backyard. He said he tried them in full sun but reverted to 30% shade cloth. Maybe full sun in SOCAL is a little too much. Gracilis is supposed to be a cold grower which presents me with a dilemma. The cool GH is humid and shady. Anyplace which is sunny here is also warm. I'll probably leave it out and put it in the cool GH during a heat wave.

Nick


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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

"I noticed you spelled them rupiculous same as Tom."
Tom is obviously a scholar! :)

Re: sunlight, my latitude is 39. I doubt if that is much of a challenge to most tropical plants which are used to minimal shading in the natural habitat. Baker references up to 4500 fc for L. fournieri. IMO, Baker tends to be a little on the low side; my experiences include greater success with light levels higher than what Charles & Margaret recommend.

That's what this forum is all about, yes? Sharing info!

My rupiculous Laelia fournieri will remain outside until the temp drops to around 40F (5C). Last year, I kept it to a min of 45. I'm getting tougher....

L. lucasiana will get babied. I will bring it indoors as the temp approaches 45-50F (10C). I'm soft.

--Stitz--


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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

I checked his website and it seems out of date by a couple of years. Do you have the list of rambunctious species? I see his email address and phone number so I can contact him directly but would like to already have the list.

I am planning a trip which will start at San Diego and head north via Santa Barbara in November and I would like to add some that are not available on eBay.


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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

I have the list but it is printed, not digital. If you are passing through LA, you are welcome to stop by my place.

Nick


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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

I've been growing a few rupicolous Laelias (flava, fourneri, ghillanyi, and milleri) on pieces of wood branchs for 10 months now, and it seems to work pretty well. There's good new growth and lots of roots, but no flowers yet. I water them early every morning during the growing season.

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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

Great photos, love the look of happy roots.

I have my r.laelias in clay pots...mixture of rock and lava, and topped with thin layer of sphagnum.

The mount idea is appealling


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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

Are milleri and alaorii difficult to grow/bloom? Tom Miranda is coming to our OS in a few weeks and he has these two listed on his website. I love the bloom pics of both of these!


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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

We have had a talk on them and no mention of them being difficult. Off course he also stated that they would wilt and die if mounted and generally not do well unless grown using his method.

Nick


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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

"Tom Miranda is coming to our OS in a few weeks and he has these two listed on his website."

Will you provide the link address for this, please?

--Stitz--


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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

I don't have the milleri but do have the alaorii which I did get from Miranda. I grow it in Prime Agra, 3" clay pot and it is currently blooming for the second time this year. I grow it sitting in between my big catt pots.

Here it is blooming this spring-ish.

Free Image Hosting at www.picturetrail.com

Brooke


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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

Before this goes further, let me ask if we are talking about

Tom Mirenda, Museum Specialist, Orchid Collection Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC who writes two monthly columns for the ORCHIDS magazine of the AOS

or

Francisco Miranda, a vendor from Brasil with a penchant for Brasilian orchid taxonomy?

--Stitz--

Here is a link that might be useful: Miranda Orchids


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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

Oooop's, sorry Stitz. Yes, Francisco Miranda. We have two Toms as recent speakers at OS meetings, including Mr. Mirenda, then this Tom B. and this seems to make it absolutely too confusing for this senior mind ;)

Thx Brooke. I'll definitely try the aloarii, probably the milleri too. Now that I've THOROUGHLY read this thread, I see the potting method totally spelled out!

In defense of my mind, at least I did remember there had been a thread on these laelias started a couple weeks ago.


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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

Slight correction in the potting method. I had opportunity to talk to him again and he stressed that the layer of potting spoil/sand should be no more than 1". My initial post implies 2 1/2" which is incorrect. The depth of the clay pot is irrelevant, larger rock goes in the bottom, leaving enough room for 1" of the soil mixture plus 1/2" of the small rock on top. He prefers shallow pots but the usual clay pot would simply get more of the larger rocks elevating the rest to the surface.

He also observed that these plants resent to be disturbed and do not mind over potting. His favorite way of doing a small plant is in a shallow 6" pot which tapers to a smaller diameter near the bottom. The plant is grossly over potted but can remain undisturbed for 5 years plus. I saw him place a 2" rock on the surface for decoration which made the whole thing look like a desert preparation.

He tried the plants mounted and in straight rock and admits that like most orchids they will grow there if treated properly, he just feels that they are doing much better in his soil/sand mix which approximates how they grow in nature. They grow in cracks of base rock filled have sandy/rock/soil debris.

They can take full sun if acclimatised slowly, he grows them in 30% shade cloth and leaves will be shorter the more light they get. More light results in shorter leaves and more flowers, according to him. I'm preparing a 'desert' area for them where I'll also put my Elophias. I know petersii grows well like that but am less sure of Eloph guineense syn quartiniana. Anyone grow the later one? Dend specisoum also do well with tons of light. I have some 30% Aluminet left over and will use it for that area.

Nick


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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

Is over-potting an issue here? I have some tiny clay pots but they dry quickly and barely tall enough for the mix.

I am new to this group but am getting good growth and some flowers from mounting.


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RE: Rupiculous Laelias

My Laelia fournieri opened its first of FOUR flowers on one spike. I might learn how to use picturetrail on my new (well, almost-new; 9 months old!) pc.

It's been growing in FULL sunlight for the past 13 months, since I imported it directly from Brasil. Laelia lucasiana flowered for the second time during this period last month.

Richard, yes - overpotting rupiculous Laelia is a waste inviting a disaster. Worry more about the width than the depth. If you're using a free-flowing mix, the depth won't matter - unless you put it outside exposed to wind. Having it firmly rooted for windy conditions is a must. These li'l buggers are difficult to locate!!

--Stitz--


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