Herself's Houseplants

Killing plants so you don't have to

Chysis bractescens




Chysis Bractescens

Chysis Bractescens

Chysis Bractescens

Chysis Bractescens

This is a brand new acquisition from the Houston Orchid Show. So details here may change.

I potted this semi-hydro ( glass pot, clay pellets, about an inch of water well below the root level ) I’ve had fantastic luck with the other orchids potted this way.

Like phalaenopsis these should not dry completely out, let them get slightly drier in the winter so they don’t rot. Like all orchids they need a good dose of fertilizer each watering.

Early searches turn up little care information, light shade, warm to hot temperatures. I’m going to treat it like a phalaenopsis and see how it does.

Fragrant at night, spring bloomer, self fertilizing, typically grown in a basket.

The leaves should get much longer as it grows 15″-16″ in length, the flower stem to about half that length. Th flowers grow from the base of the plant.

Central American native first described in 1840. It is currently a protected species. Grows in trees in wet forest ~ 350′-2000′


Dendrobium spectabile




Dendrobium Spectabile flower

Dendrobium Spectabile flower

Dendrobium specible

Dendrobium spectable

Dendrobium specible

Dendrobium spectable

Like many house plants, these were no where, then all of a sudden everywhere. These just arrived a few weeks ago, so I may change this as I have some time to experiment with them.

These arrived at about 18″, the stalks will reach 36″ when it is full grown. There are no flowers or spikes but they are large enough to bloom. It may be next year before I see flowers. You’ll need a drafty windowsill to give the the 15′ temperature drop they need to go into blooming mode.

These are from Papa New Guinea, and like most island tropicals they grow in a very narrow temperature range, 70’F-80’F. I’d keep them inside, even in the summer.

I recently shifted all my orchids to a semi-hydro ( clay pellets ), they’ve all done extremely well so these are planted that way as well. They are in 6″ glass cubes, the bottom third is pellets, the plant roots are spread around the top 2/3 and clay pellets have been worked in between and around the roots. They were extremely root bound when they arrived in their 4″ pots.

Water and fertilize less in the winter, this is supposed to help encourage blooming.

I’ve read they need quite a bit more sunlight than other dendrobiums and most other orchids. I’ve placed them in a southwest facing window with very little shading ( in Houston ). We’ll see how it goes. They’ve survived the first few weeks but it’s been cloudy. This window is bright enough to burn other orchid plants but not Venus Fly traps or other carnivorous swamp plants.


Psychopsis ( Oncidium Mendenhall)




Psychopsis bloom

Psychopsis bloom

Psychopsis flower

Psychopsis flower

Psychopsis

Psychopsis

I fell in love with these years ago, and it’s been a very long time since I’ve had one. Now I have four. The first two were lost in shipping by the PostOffice. The seller sent replacements, and three weeks later the originals turned up. The roots were dry but the plants were otherwise healthy. A few hours of soaking in water with rooting hormone and fertilizer, then a week planted in sphagnum moss, and they were as good as the two that hadn’t gotten lost. These are tough plants that clearly don’t mind a bit of neglect.

These orchids want low to medium light, I’m told they’ll bloom in light as dim as you use for your phalaenopsis, but cattleya light is better. The leaves on these are almost a dark solid green, with more light the leaves will get a brown speckling. I’m still experimenting to see how much light they can take you can see the newer leaves beginning to get some color as I increase the light. I put these in a AeroGrow Ultra LED garden, they are in a tray, planted in clay pellets (semi-hydro) and thriving.

Psychopsis leaf speckling

Psychopsis leaf speckling

Some growers say to let them dry a bit between waterings, others say never let them dry. After the PostOffice experiment I’m leaning towards letting them get a bit dry between waterings. Make sure the leaves and pseudobulbs stay firm, roots should be green to white, the greener the better.

I’ve taken to keeping all my orchids in clear glass containers so I can keep an eye on the roots. If you use bark and or sphagnum moss make sure there is no water sitting in the bottom of the container and use a shallow, wide container. If you use clay pellets ( semi-hydro ) plant the orchid so the roots are above the bottom third of the container and leave water in the bottom third of the container. I have these planted in semi-hydro, it hasn’t been very long but so far they are doing extremely well.

Each spike bears flowers one at a time, after the flower dies the spike will grow a bit longer, then a new flower will bloom on it. Flower spikes can reach 5′ in height. Flowers can be a couple inches or as large as 6″. Flowers will last about a month.

Temperatures should be between 50’F and 90’F, 60′-80F is best.

The higher the humidity the better.

Psychopsis Mendenhall is a hybrid between Psychopsis Butterfly and papilio.