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ORCHID SPECIES CULTURE Charles and Margaret Baker Coelogyne nitida (Wallich. ex Don) Lindley. AKA: Coelogyne ochracea Lindley, Cymbidium nitidum (Lindley) Wallich ex Don. ORIGIN/HABITAT: Nepal through Sikkim and Bhutan to the Khasi Hills in northeast India, upper Burma, Yunnan Province of southwest China, Thailand, and Laos. Throughout their habitat, plants are found at 4900-7550 ft. (1500-2300 m). They grow on moss-covered trees and rocks in regions characterized by the presence of fog and mist almost year-round. Plants found in the subtropical zone in the lower elevations of the habitat grow mostly on trees in mixed forests and secondary scrub in regions with cool, sunny and dry winters. CLIMATE: Station #42295, Darjiling, India, Lat. 27.1N, Long. 88.3E, at 7431 ft. (2265 m). The record high is 77F (25C), and the record low is 27F (-3C). N/HEMISPHERE JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC F AVG MAX 47 48 57 62 64 65 66 65 64 61 54 49 F AVG MIN 35 36 42 49 53 56 58 57 55 50 42 37 DIURNAL RANGE 12 12 15 13 11 9 8 8 9 11 12 12 RAIN/INCHES 0.5 1.1 1.7 4.1 8.5 23.2 31.4 25.1 17.6 5.1 0.9 0.3 HUMIDITY/% 83 82 73 78 88 93 95 95 93 87 79 78 BLOOM SEASON * ** ** *** * * * * DAYS CLR N/A RAIN/MM 13 28 43 104 216 589 798 638 447 130 23 8 C AVG MAX 8.3 8.9 13.9 16.7 17.8 18.3 18.9 18.3 17.8 16.1 12.2 9.4 C AVG MIN 1.7 2.2 5.6 9.4 11.7 13.3 14.4 13.9 12.8 10.0 5.6 2.8 DIURNAL RANGE 6.6 6.7 8.3 7.3 6.1 5.0 4.5 4.4 5.0 6.1 6.6 6.6 S/HEMISPHERE JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN Cultural Recommendations: LIGHT: 1500-2500 fc. Strong air movement should be provided at all times. The heavy cloud cover associated with summer monsoons indicates that some shading is needed from spring through autumn, so that light is somewhat filtered or diffused. Plants should not be exposed to direct midday sun. In the habitat, light is brightest during the winter dry season when skies are clear for more than half the days each month. TEMPERATURES: Summer days average 65-66F (18-19C), and nights average 56-58F (13-14C), with a diurnal range of 8-9F (5C). Plants adapt to warmer afternoon temperatures if humidity is kept high, if air movement is strong, and if the plants are able to cool down in the evening. HUMIDITY: 85-95% most of the year, dropping 75-80% from late autumn into spring. WATER: Rainfall is very heavy from late spring into autumn, but diminishes rapidly in autumn into a 3-5 month dry season. Cultivated plants should be watered heavily while actively growing, but the medium must not be allowed to become stale or soggy. Water should be reduced after new growths mature in autumn. FERTILIZER: 1/4-1/2 recommended strength applied weekly during periods of active growth. Most growers use a balanced fertilizer during most of the growing season. They often switch to a fertilizer lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorus in autumn to promote better blooming the next season and to allow the new growths to harden before winter. In order to prevent salt buildup, the medium should be leached every few weeks during periods of heavier fertilizer applications. This is especially important in areas with heavily mineralized water. Leaching is performed by first watering the plant normally to dissolve any accumulated salts. Then, an hour or so later flushing the media with water equal to about twice the volume of the pot. REST PERIOD: Winter days average 47-49F (8-9C), and nights average 35-37F (2-3C), with a diurnal range of 12F (7C). In the habitat, rainfall is very low for abut 3 months in late autumn and early winter, but additional moisture is usually available from frequent heavy dew, fog, and mist. Water should, therefore, be reduced for cultivated plants in winter, but they should not be allowed to remain dry for long periods. In most growing areas, a light watering every 3weeks or so with occasional mistings between waterings will meet the plant's requirements. The cool, dry rest is essential for healthy growth and flowering, but it need not be quite as long or severe as the rest period indicated by the climate data. We have found that low temperatures of 48-50F (9-10C) along with reduced water for about 3 months is sufficient to meet the rest requirements. GROWING MEDIA: Plants may be mounted on cork or a tree-fern slab providing humidity is high and plants are watered several times a day during the hot, bright weather. Most growers prefer to use baskets or pots, however, and open baskets lined with sphagnum moss generally produce excellent results. Because of the heavy water requirements, the medium should be open and fast draining but still hold considerable moisture. Growers have found that most Coelogyne species should be disturbed as seldom as possible. The plants grow best if repotted only when absolutely necessary. Growers report that transplant shock may delay blooming for as long as 3 years, and some suggest that thinning old bulbs by cutting them out may be preferable to repotting. Shredded tree-fern fiber mixed with about 10% perlite, 10% chopped sphagnum, and 10% charcoal produces excellent results for most growers and breaks down very slowly. Fir bark may be used if moisture retaining additives are included in the mix, but repotting is required more frequently because it deteriorates more rapidly. When repotting is required, it should be done only when new root growth is evident, usually immediately after flowering. MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: The bloom season shown in the climate table is based on cultivation records. In the habitat, plants bloom in late spring and early summer. Plant and Flower Information: PLANT SIZE AND TYPE: A 9-12 in. (22-30 cm) sympodial epiphyte. PSEUDOBULB: 3-4 in. (7.5-10.0cm) long. The cylindrical-oblong pseudobulbs become furrowed with age. Growths are spaced 0.9-1.0 in. (2.0-2.5 cm) apart on a stout rhizome. LEAVES: 6-8 in. (15-20 cm) long including the 1-2 in. (2.5-5.0 cm) channeled petiole at the base. Two elliptic to lanceolate leaves are carried at the top of each pseudobulb. They are about 1 in. (2.5 cm) wide and sharply pointed at the tip. INFLORESCENCE: About 8 in. (20 cm) long. The erect to drooping flower spike emerges from the center of new growths before the leaves or pseudobulbs develop. FLOWERS: 3-8. Blossoms are carried on the upper half of each flower spike. Flowers, which are 1.6 in. (4 cm) across, are white marked with a yellow disc and yellow eyelike spots on the sidelobes of the lip. The relatively wide-spreading, sharply-pointed sepals and petals are 1.0-1.4 in. (2.5-3.5 cm) long by 0.2-0.3 in. (0.5-0.7 cm) wide. Sepals are usually a little longer and wider than the petals, however. HYBRIDIZING NOTES: Chromosome count is n = 20. REFERENCES: Banerji, M., and P. Pradhan. 1984. The orchids of Nepal Himalaya. J. Cramer, Vaduz, India. Bechtel, H., P. Cribb, and E. Launert. 1980. Manual of cultivated orchid species. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. Hamilton, R. 1988. When does it flower? 2nd ed. Robert M. Hamilton, 9211 Beckwith Road, Richmond, B.C., Canada V6X 1V7. Hawkes, A.  1987. Encyclopaedia of cultivated orchids. Faber and Faber, London. Pradhan, U. 1976, 1979. Indian orchids: guide to identification and culture, vols. I-II. Udai C. Pradhan, Kalimpong, India. Copyright 1997, Charles O. Baker and Margaret L. Baker Sheet version 7005701 ......................................................................... 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 Orchid Culture & Pollination site http://www.orchidculture.com email <email@example.com> __________________________________________________________________________ "Orchid Species Culture Vol. 1 - Pescatorea, Phaius, Phalaenopsis, Pholidota, Phragmipedium, Pleione" 250 pages of culture information. "Orchid Species Culture Vol. 2 - Dendrobium" 850 pages of culture information for more than 1230 Dendrobium species. "The genus Paphiopedilum--Natural History and Cultivation" - Part 1 Dr. Guido Braem, Charles and Margaret Baker ISBN 0-9665337-0-4 Full page color photograph of each species. "The genus Paphiopedilum--Natural History and Cultivation" - Part 2 Dr. Guido Braem, Charles and Margaret Baker ISBN 0-9665337-1-2 Full page color photograph of each species. "Orchid Species Culture Vol. 3 - The Laelia/Cattleya Alliance" coming in a few months. __________________________________________________________________________