Odontoglossum grande: Tiger Orchid

The species is definitely one of the loveliest and showiest of orchids and one that is much in demand with beginners. It should be noted, however, that if it cannot be kept in a cold room, or one that is aired frequently the whole winter, then all efforts are doomed to disappointment, for it will grow but will not flower.

Odontoglossum grande is a plant of the mountains. It is native to Mexico and Guatemala, where it grows high up in the mountains at elevations of approximately 2,000 m (6,600 ft), and marked differences between daytime and night-time temperatures as well as the dry and cold conditions of winter are a prerequisite for flowering.

If you have a conservatory at home, however, there is no reason why you should not try growing it, either as an epiphyte with a ball of light compost or in a pot, the same as laelia. In summer it may be moved outdoors (like many other orchids), to the garden or a balcony where it should be hung in partial shade. During this period of growth it should be watered regularly and thoroughly. In the autumn or early winter, when it has been moved back inside or into a cool greenhouse, it will produce flowers about 15 cm (6 in) across. There are 4 to 8 of these on a 30-cm-(l-ft) long scape and their colour is very variable, ranging from vivid red to chestnut brown.

The genus Odontoglossum is truly a large one, for it embraces some 300 species, among which are some that can be grown in modern, centrally-heated homes, even though these will always need lots of sun, air and conditions that are not too warm. Examples are: Odontoglossum pendulum (syn. O. citros-mum), which has showy, pendulous, white flowers with a rose-tinged lip and the scent of lemon; O. krameri, which has pale pink flowers with a yellow-brown base to the lip; and O. reichenheimii (often classed in the genus Miltonia), coloured mostly chestnut red.

15. November 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, House Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Odontoglossum grande: Tiger Orchid

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