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LAELIA anceps

Image of Laelia anceps

Michael Charters, www.calflora.net

Family

Orchidaceae

Botanical Name

LAELIA anceps

Plant Common Name

Laelia, Orchid

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Long-lasting and starry in shape, the autumnal blooms of Laelia anceps are borne atop tall slender stems that arch. Hailing from the cooler, mid-elevations of primarily eastern Mexico, this vigorous clumping tender evergreen orchid needs cool winter temperatures during its dormancy. It is an epiphyte (living upon another plant). Because of its need for winter chill, it is a popular companion for Cymbidium orchids, which have a similiar need.

The plump, oval pseudobulbs of this orchid bear one long oblong leaf that is leathery and medium green. Actively in growth (both leaf and root) fom spring through autumn, the clumping plant sends up tall, thin stems in autumn that are topped with three to six flower buds. Each opens to a star-like flower, lavender to pink or white, with a gently ruffled lip with a yellow throat. These blossoms are long-lasting. After or during flowering, the plant slides into a cool winter dormancy.

Grow Laelia anceps in partial sun to partial shade that mimics the changing broken light it would naturally receive if growing on trees in an oak and pine forest. It does not grow in soil; place in a heavy pot with coarse bark that drains water efficiently or mount upon a tree or palm or hanging slab of cork bark. Water it frequently in the warmth from spring to fall, allow to become much drier in winter when it should be exposed to cool temps, it's tolerant down to the freezing point. Higher humidity and good air circulation are important when it is in active growth, too. When very hot in summer, increase shading and humidity for certain. Consider repotting this orchid only after it is overly rambling over the pot edges or the bark is degraded and fine, and then only after flowering is done and just prior to new root growth begins in mid-spring.

The flowers can be cut and used as a table decoration, leis, hair decals. If grown as a houseplant, it needs very bright light and is well suited to a cool sunroom in winter. It will, in time, become a large specimen plant which will display many more arching stems topped with fragrant starry flowers. Overall it is a very tolerant orchid of a wide range of temperatures, which makes it popular among a wide array of plant enthusiasts.

Other natural forms of this orchid include white-flowering (alba), striped (striata), and light lavender-blue (veitchiana). Plants with white flowers and a pink lip are referred to as form semi-alba.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Epiphyte

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    18"-40" / 45.7cm - 101.6cm (20)

  • Width

    18"-28" / 45.7cm - 71.1cm

  • Bloom Time

    Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter, Winter

  • Native To

    Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Pink, Lavender

  • Fruit Color

    Light Green, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No