This has to be one of my favorite orchids…..It often appears to be the case in the world of orchids – a long, long wait for flower spikes, followed by an even longer wait for buds and then finally the bloom. They do test your patience….and over that, the tense anticipation…..is it a spike? is the bud going to blast? are slugs going to get to them first? At last, the Amesiella monticola (a miniature epiphyte native to the Philippines) bloomed this week. I don’t remember when I bought this plant or where I bought it from…though for sure, I have had it for at least 3 years. Why I remember this timeline so vividly, one might ask. Firstly, it grew one leaf in 3 years….though it has looked healthy all this while. Secondly, the spike took 3 months to turn into a bud which took another 4 weeks to finally bloom…..but here it is!
The flower is absolutely stunning. The sepals and petals are pure white, have a very crystalline texture to them and are heavy in substance. The pale green spur or nectary is about 2.5 inches long and curves outward at the bottom. IOSPE mentions the flowers to be nocturnally fragrant, but in my case, I find the flower to be fragrant all day and substantially stronger at night. The fragrance is reminiscent of the Lily of the Valley.
According to the IOSPE, the plant is native to the Philippines and grows cool to warm, preferring cooler weather for blooming. I must admit, I did have it in my warm terrarium for the first couple of years, and is probably the reason it grew so slowly. I have since moved it into my greenhouse where it seems to be much happier. Here are some notes on my culture:
- Growth: I grow this mounted on a stick with a little bit of moss to provide moisture and humidity during the hotter summer months.
- Fairly bright light (about 1,500 foot candles) under a 50% aluminet shade cloth.
- Temperatures: The plant braved the hot Sacramento summers with greenhouse temperatures in the early 100F range. With the onset of cooler weather in the Fall and Winter, I did not allow night time temperatures to drop below 55F.
- Watering: Rain or reverse osmosis water mixed with tap water and 1/4 strength 20-20-20 balanced soluble fertilizer every watering during the Summer. No fertilizer and reduced watering the Fall and Winter.
Overall, an absolute beauty to grow and enjoy! Now time to get back to admiring this flower…..!