Saturday, February 17, 2018

Orchids And Aloes

Here's where we need to make so much more progress...

1. There should be lots of really nice orchids that can easily grow from seed.

2. There should be lots of smallish tree Aloes that we can attach miniature epiphytes to.

Many, if not most, of the typical reed-stem Epidendrums can easily be grown from seed... no flasking required!   The problem is that reed-stems don't usually make the best epiphytes.  So the challenge is to find/make crosses between reed-stems and other orchids in order to find the best crosses that can easily grow from seed.

One exciting cross is Kirchara Georgie (Cattlianthe Golden Wax x Epidendrum O'Brienianum).  I received it last Fall from Fred Clarke of Sunset Valley Orchids...

There was a new shoot starting to develop when I received it.  I potted the plant in pure pumice and placed it outside.  Over the winter the new shoot matured and produced a flower spike.  I'm happy that the flowers developed on the new shoot (as opposed to developing on a shoot from the previous year).

Right now the plant doesn't have quite enough canes/stems to support a seed pod.  Seed pods are quite costly in terms of energy.  But I definitely plan to use the pollen to pollinate various reed-stems.   Here are some relevant links...

The goal for Aloes is to make some really nice hosts for smallish orchids and other epiphytes.  In the video you can see a cross that's possibly between Aloe bainesii (the largest tree Aloe) and Aloe distans (not even a small tree Aloe).  It's a really neat cross... the trunk is good sized but there needs to be more branches.  Plus, it's a little on the slow side.

Does anybody recognize the Aloe that might be a dichotoma or ramosissima hybrid?  It's also nice but too slow.

The Aloe tenuior hybrid is relatively fast but so far it falls over.  All of the potential fathers are tree Aloes... and their stems do tend to thicken with age. You can read more about the hybrid here...

Towards the end of the video you can see a phorobana that consists of a Sophronitis cernua flowering on a potted Ficus rubiginosa.  The Ficus is fast and grows easily from large cuttings. The drawback is that its flowers aren't even a little showy.  So it's possible that we can make an Aloe that's a better host.  S. cernua is a really neat miniature orchid that grows great outdoors year around here in Southern California.  The drawback is that it can't easily grow from seed.

There's so much room for improvement!  Let's pool our resources and make tons of progress!

Some useful links...

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