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ORCHID SPECIES CULTURE Charles and Margaret Baker Comparettia speciosa Rchb. f. AKA: ORIGIN/HABITAT: Ecuador. These epiphytic plants are found in very wet mountain forests in the southerastern provinces of Zamora-Chinchipe and Morona-Santiago. They grow at elevations of 3300-4900 ft. (1000-1500 m). CLIMATE: Station #84425, Yurimaguas, Peru, Lat. 5.9S, Long. 76.1W, at 587 ft. (179 m). Temperatures are calculated for an elevation of 4900 ft. (1500 m). Record extreme temperatures are not available for this location. Records from nearby locations indicate probable extremes near 92F (33C) and 40F (5C), however. N/HEMISPHERE JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC F AVG MAX 74 76 77 76 75 74 74 74 74 74 74 73 F AVG MIN 57 58 59 59 59 59 59 59 59 59 59 58 DIURNAL RANGE 17 18 18 17 16 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 RAIN/INCHES 2.0 2.7 3.5 4.7 6.9 5.7 5.3 5.9 7.5 7.0 5.2 2.9 HUMIDITY/% N/A BLOOM SEASON * * * * * * * * * * DAYS CLR N/A RAIN/MM 51 69 89 119 175 145 135 150 191 178 132 74 C AVG MAX 23.3 24.4 25.0 24.4 23.9 23.3 23.3 23.3 23.3 23.3 23.3 22.8 C AVG MIN 13.9 14.3 14.9 14.9 14.9 14.9 14.9 14.9 14.9 14.9 14.9 14.3 DIURNAL RANGE 9.4 10.1 10.1 9.5 9.0 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.5 S/HEMISPHERE JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN Cultural Recommendations: LIGHT: 800-1500 fc. Light should be filtered or diffused, and plants should never be exposed to direct sun. Strong air movement should be provided at all times. TEMPERATURES: Throughout the year, days average 73-77F (23-25C), and nights average 57-59F (14-15C), with a diurnal range of 15-18F (8-10C). These temperatures represent conditions in the highest and, therefore, coolest part of the habitat. They are the coolest temperatures at which this species should be grown. Because of variations in habitat elevation, plants adapt to conditions that are 3-5F (2-3C) warmer than indicated. HUMIDITY: Records are not available for this location, but averages in the wet forest habita are probably 80% or greater throughout the year. WATER: Rainfall in the habitat is moderate to heavy year-round. Conditions are somewht drier in winter, but with the additional moisture from heavy dews and mist, the habiata does not dry out completely. Cultivated plants should be kept evenly moist with only slight drying allowed between waterings. FERTILIZER: A balanced fertilizer mixed at 1/4-1/2 recommended strength should be applied every 2-3 weeks if plants are grown in sphagnum moss, tree-fern fiber, or osmunda. If grown in fir bark, the applications should be made weekly. Many growers prefer to use a high nitrogen fertilizer early in the year when plants are actively growing. They may then switch to a high phosphate or "bloom booster" formula in late summer or autumn in order to promote flowering. REST PERIOD: Growing conditions should be maintained all year. Water may be reduced somewhat in winter, especially for plants grown in the dark, short-day conditions common in temperate latitudes. They should never be allowed to dry out completely, however. Fertilizer should be reduced if water is reduced. GROWING MEDIA: Because of the pendent growth habit, plants are more easily maiaged if mounted on tree-fern or cork slabs. Humidity must be kept high, however, and plants watered at least once daily in summer. Several waterings a day may be necessary for mounted plants during very hot, dry periods. Because most growers find it difficult to keep mounted plants moist enough, they are usually grown in small hanging pots or baskets. The medium should be open and fast draining medium. Growers often recommend using materials that retain some moisture such as chopped sphagnum and perlite. Charcoal is often added to help keep the medium open and prevent it from becoming sour. Because the continually moist medium breaks down fairly rapidly, plants are probably healthier if repotted every year. Repotting is usually done in late winter or early spring. It should be done just as new root growth is starting. This allows the plant to become re-established in the shortest possible time with the least amount of stress. MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: The bloom season shown in the climate table is based on cultivation records. In nature, plants bloom in late summer and early autumn. Plant and Flower Information: PLANT SIZE AND TYPE: A sympodial epiphyte that grows to 10 in. (25 cm) tall. The pendent growths are closely spaced along a short rhizome, and visitors to the habitat report plants are often hanging from their host by only a single root. . PSEUDOBULB: The short, cylindrical pseudobulbs are protected at the base by sharply pointed, distichous, papery bracts. LEAVES: 4-10 in. (10-25 cm) long. A single stiff, fleshy leaf, often suffused with red, is carried at the top of each pseudobulb. The oblong-lanceolate leaves are up to 1.7 in. (4.2 cm) wide and taper to pointed tips. INFLORESCENCE: Up to 20 in. (50 cm) long. The spikes emerge from the base of the pseudobulb and may either branch or grow as a raceme with the flowers rather widely spaced toward the apex. FLOWERS: 7-17 . The bright orange blossoms are about 1.4 in. (3.5 cm) tall and up to1.2 in. (3 cm) across the flat-opening, widespread, 3-lobed lip. The dorsal sepal is about 0.6 in. (1.4 cm) long, 0.2 in. (0.4 cm) wide, and is held in a foreward-pointing position over the column. The lateral sepals are connected to each other to form an elongated, reflexed, slender, tubular spur that is up to 1.4 in. (3.5 cm) long. The oval petals are about 0.5 in. (1.2 cm) long, 0.2 in. (0.6 cm) wide, and have sharply pointed tips. The wingless column is greenish, and the anther is white. HYBRIDIZING NOTES: N/A. REFERENCES: . Bechtel, H., P. Cribb, and E. Launert. 1980. Manual of cultivated orchid species. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. Dodson, C., and P. de Dodson. 1982. Orchids of Ecuador, Fasc. 5, plates 401-500. Icones Plantarum Tropicarum. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, Fla. Pridgeon, A. ed. 1992. The illustrated encyclopedia of orchids. Timber Press, Portland, OR. PHOTOS/DRAWINGS: . Copyright 1997, Charles O. Baker and Margaret L. Baker Sheet version 566799 ......................................................................... 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. __________________________________________________________________________