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Laelia pumila (Hooker) Rchb. f.

This culture sheet was provided by Charles and Margaret Baker.
Please visit their web site to find out about their Orchid Species Culture books,
Pollination Database, and culture sheet subscription service.

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ORCHID SPECIES CULTURE
Charles and Margaret Baker

Laelia pumila (Hooker) Rchb. f. 

AKA: Bletia pumila Rchb. f., Cattleya marginata Paxton, Cattleya pinellii
Lindley, Cattleya pinellii var. marginata Beer, Cattleya pumila Hooker,
Laelia praestans var. nobilis Lindley. 

ORIGIN/HABITAT: Brazil. Plants originate in the states of Espírito Santo
and Minas Gerais. Distribution ranges westward from central Espírito Santo
to far into the interior in Minas Gerais and from the vicinity of Belo
Horizonte in the south to near Pedra Azul in the north. Plants usually
grow on trees in relatively open, humid forests along rivers and in swampy
areas at 1950-4250 ft. (600-1300 m). They most often grow in rather
protected positions low on tree trunks. 

CLIMATE: Station #83592, Caratinga, Brazil, Lat. 19.6S, Long. 42.2W, at
1857 ft. (566 m). Temperatures are calculated for an elevation of 3000 ft.
(910 m). Record extreme temperatures are not available for this location. 

N/HEMISPHERE    JAN  FEB  MAR  APR  MAY  JUN  JUL  AUG  SEP  OCT  NOV  DEC
F AVG MAX        72   74   74   78   79   78   79   81   79   77   75   72
F AVG MIN        51   53   56   60   62   63   63   63   62   60   56   52
DIURNAL RANGE    21   21   18   18   17   15   16   18   17   17   19   20
RAIN/INCHES     0.2  1.1  1.4  2.9  6.8  9.3  8.4  3.1  5.3  2.6  1.0  0.6
HUMIDITY/%      N/A
BLOOM SEASON      *    *    *    *    *              *   **  ***  ***    *
DAYS CLR        N/A
RAIN/MM           5   28   36   74  173  236  213   79  135   66   25   15
C AVG MAX      22.2 23.3 23.3 25.6 26.1 25.5 26.1 27.2 26.1 25.0 23.9 22.2
C AVG MIN      10.6 11.8 13.5 15.7 16.8 17.3 17.3 17.3 16.8 15.7 13.5 11.2
DIURNAL RANGE  11.6 11.5  9.8  9.9  9.3  8.2  8.8  9.9  9.3  9.3 10.4 11.0
S/HEMISPHERE    JUL  AUG  SEP  OCT  NOV  DEC  JAN  FEB  MAR  APR  MAY  JUN

Cultural Recommendations: 

LIGHT: 2500-3500 fc. Moderate to bright light should be somewhat filtered
or diffused. Direct midday sun may cause sunburn. The McQueens (1993)
report that their plants bloom best when light is as high as possible.
Strong air movement should be provided at all times.

TEMPERATURES: Summer days average 78-81F (26-27C), and nights average 63F
(17C), with a diurnal range of 15-18F (8-10C). 

HUMIDITY: Reports are not available for this location. Records from nearby
stations indicate that humidity probably averages 80-85% year-round.
Humidity may be even higher in the stream-side and swampy habitats. 

WATER: Rainfall is moderate to heavy from late spring into autumn with
somewhat drier conditions for 3-5 months in winter. Cultivated plants
should be watered heavily while actively growing, but the roots must
always dry rapidly after watering. Water should be gradually reduced after
new growths mature in autumn. 

FERTILIZER: 1/4-1/2 recommended strength, applied weekly while plants are
actively growing. A high-nitrogen fertilizer is beneficial from spring to
midsummer, but a fertilizer high in phosphates is suggested in late summer
and autumn. 

REST PERIOD: Winter days average 72-74F (22-23C), and nights average
51-53F (11-12C), with a diurnal range of 20-21F (11-12C). Despite the
relatively cool nights at the weather station, growers report that
intermediate conditions are ideal for these plants. Rainfall in the
habitat is low in winter, but generally, some additional moisture is
available from heavy morning dew. Cultivated plants need less water in
winter. They should dry out between waterings but should not remain
completely dry for long periods. Occasional mistings between infrequent
waterings usually provide adequate moisture in most growing areas.
Fertilizer should be reduced or eliminated until heavier watering is
resumed in spring. 

GROWING MEDIA: Small pots or baskets with room for only 1-2 years' growth
may be filled with a very coarse, open, fast-draining medium. The medium
must allow enough air circulation so that roots dry rapidly after
watering. The medium in larger containers stays wet for too long after
watering. If the roots do not dry quickly, they eventually become infected
with root rot. Some growers report that plants grow best when mounted on
large tree-fern slabs, but mounted plants need high humidity and may need
several waterings a day during extremely hot, dry weather. Repotting or
dividing should be done only when new root growth is just starting. 

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: The bloom season shown in the climate table is based
on cultivation records. In nature, plants normally bloom in summer, but
they occasionally bloom at other times. 

Plant and Flower Information:

PLANT SIZE AND TYPE: An 8 in. (20 cm) sympodial epiphyte. 

PSEUDOBULB: 1.2-3.1 in. (3-8 cm) long. Pseudobulbs are erect,
elongated-elliptical, and spaced about 0.4 in. (1 cm) apart on a stout
rhizome. The smooth, plump new growths are covered by thin sheaths when
young, but as they age, the sheaths become dry and papery and fall away,
and the pseudobulbs become somewhat wrinkled. 

LEAVES: 4-5 in. (10.0-12.5 cm) long by about 1.2 in. (3 cm) wide. Each
growth produces a single rather fleshy, oblong-elliptic leaf.

INFLORESCENCE: Short. A flower spike emerges from the top of the immature
new growths. The folded young leaves serve as sheaths for the developing
flower buds. 

FLOWERS: 1-2. The showy, fragrant blossoms are usually 3-4 in. (8-10 cm)
across, but some have measured 5 in. (13 cm). The pointed sepals and
somewhat broader petals are usually 1.6-2.0 in. (4-5 cm) long. The dorsal
sepal tends to bend backward, and petals often hang down or droop and curl
back near the tip. Plants with flat-opening flowers without the drooping,
reflexed characteristics have been found, however, and are highly prized
by growers. Sepals and petals are usually a shade of rosy purple to
lavender, but flower color varies in intensity. Many color forms have been
described and vary from white to nearly blue to rosy pink. The lip may be
white or yellow in the tube, but the undulating, reflexed apical portions
of the lobes are dark purple. The 3-lobed lip is almost 2 in. (5 cm) long.
The sidelobes roll up to form a large tube around the column. On the
inside of the tube, the lip has 3-5 thickened, longitudinal, toothlike
veins that are raised but not strongly keeled. The central vein terminates
in an easily seen little tuft that protrudes from the throat. 

HYBRIDIZING NOTES: Chromosome count is 2n = 40. 

REFERENCES: 

Associação orquidofila de São Paulo. 1977. Native orchids of Brasil.
Associação orquidofila de São Paulo. 

Bechtel, H., P. Cribb, and E. Launert. 1980. Manual of cultivated orchid
species. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.

Fowlie, J. A. 1980. In Brazil: Part XVII Laelia praestans refound in
eastern Espirito Santo by Roberto Kautsky. Orchid Digest, 44(3): 113-117. 

Fowlie, J. A. 1982. In Brazil: Part XX Laelia dayana at last rediscovered
in the Serra do Rio Preto among gruta containing ridges in eastern Rio
State. Orchid Digest, 46(2): 71-76.

Hamilton, R. 1988. When does it flower? 2nd ed. Robert M. Hamilton, 9211
Beckwith Road, Richmond, B.C., Canada V6X 1V7.

Hawkes, A. [1965] 1987. Encyclopaedia of cultivated orchids. Faber and
Faber, London. 

McQueen, J., and B. McQueen. 1993. Orchids of Brazil. Timber Press,
Portland, OR. 

Miranda, F. E. 1990. Brazilian laelias - Part II: Section Hadrolaelia.
American Orchid Society Bulletin. 59(4): 339-343. 

Withner, C. 1990. The cattleyas and their relatives, vol. II:the laelias.
Timber Press, Portland, OR. 

PHOTOS/DRAWINGS: 

Associação orquidofila de São Paulo. 1977. Native orchids of Brasil.
Associação orquidofila de São Paulo. 

Bechtel, H., P. Cribb, and E. Launert. 1980. Manual of cultivated orchid
species. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.

Fowlie, J. A. 1980. In Brazil: Part XVII Laelia praestans refound in
eastern Espirito Santo by Roberto Kautsky. Orchid Digest, 44(3): 113-117. 

Fowlie, J. A. 1982. In Brazil: Part XX Laelia dayana at last rediscovered
in the Serra do Rio Preto among gruta containing ridges in eastern Rio
State. Orchid Digest, 46(2): 71-76.

McQueen, J., and B. McQueen. 1993. Orchids of Brazil. Timber Press,
Portland, OR. 

Miranda, F. E. 1990. Brazilian laelias - Part II: Section Hadrolaelia.
American Orchid Society Bulletin. 59(4): 339-343. 

Withner, C. 1990. The cattleyas and their relatives, vol. II:the laelias.
Timber Press, Portland, OR. 


Copyright 1997, Charles O. Baker and Margaret L. Baker
Sheet version 25624586

.........................................................................
Please remember that this sheet is for your use only, and though it was
provided free of charge, it may not be reproduced or retransmitted in
any way without permission.
.........................................................................

__________________________________________________________________________
 "Orchid Species Culture" Charles & Margaret Baker, Portland, Oregon USA

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Go Back to Free Culture Sheet Index -- Baker's Home Page

This culture sheet was provided by Charles and Margaret Baker.
Please visit their web site to find out about their Orchid Species Culture books,
Pollination Database, and culture sheet subscription service.