Schoenorchis gemmata – A Spotlight on the Species

In an attempt to encourage growers to try miniature species I’ve decided to highlight some of these plants from time to time. Miniature orchids are under no less threat than their larger, showier cousins. They are prone to the same problems, loss of habitat and illegal collecting. I view orchid growing as more than a hobby, it is also an important reservoir of endangered species, not only of plants, but other wildlife that is linked to them, but for some reason we reserve our energies to support and highlight species such as the large , scented flowers of plants like Angraecum sesquipedale and it’s association with the moth, Xanthopan morganii. How sad if some miniature species like the subject of this post, Schoenorchis gemmata should be lost because it is “just a miniature”. This species alone makes heads turn in astonishment at it’s myriad of flowers, on a well grown plant numbering in the hundreds. The length of the flowering season never fails to amaze me, remaining in flower long after most other plants have finished. But I have no romantic tales with which to share with you like the story of Angraecum sesquipedale.

This miniature to small species from East Nepal to South China and Indo-China grows as an epiphyte in humid, mossy cloud forests at altitudes from near sea level to well over 2.000 metres. I grow it here in the cool house with a winter minimum of 10c, occasionally dropping to 8c or 9c for brief spells and with full shade. It gets watered every day with the hose. Flowering starts in June and continues to October for some plants while others even continue beyond. In winter the plant doesn’t get a rest, just a reduction in water. When the root system dries out it is watered again, along with this the plant is misted several times per day starting at first light, stopping in early afternoon to ensure the plants are dry before dark. These are ideal plants for growing in vivariums or nanovivs, which are becoming very popular. Greenhouse or tank, they don’t take up much room and they will be in flower long after your other plants have stopped for the year. Eventually, I’m sure they will grow quite bulky, but I’m certain that you will be more likely to remove a plant of larger habit than this jewel.

I’m confident enough that you will be happy with this addition to your collection that I’m now offering it for a limited period at a 10% discount. The price in the store is showing the discount.

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