There are approximately 30,000 different types of orchids on planet Earth, which differ in shape, size, and color. However, all of them are undoubtedly very beautiful. Since ancient times, people have been fascinated by these delightful beauties. Despite such a capricious nature, people grow an orchid at home, providing it with all the necessary conditions in order to one day admire its beautiful flowers.
So, a special place in the vast orchid family is occupied by the genus Stanhopea. And this plant stands out for its very large flowers (diameter from 15 to 20 centimeters), not quite the usual color, as well as an incredible chocolate-vanilla smell. This genus includes about 50 species of various plants. Under natural conditions, they can be found in the tropical regions of South and Central America. Such an orchid grows and develops normally in room conditions, and with proper care, it will delight the grower with its annual flowering.
Caring for a Stanhopea orchid at home
Stanhopea, like most representatives of the vast orchid family, requires high humidity and bright, but always diffused lighting.
This plant feels great in summer at a temperature of 23 to 25 degrees, and in winter – from 17 to 18 degrees. Experts recommend providing the plant with a daily temperature difference, and the difference between temperatures should be about 3-5 degrees. This promotes normal flowering. In the warm season, the Stanhopeaa can be taken out into the fresh air, while it should be placed on a loggia or balcony, and it can also be hung on a tree in the garden.
The plant responds very well to regular wetting from a sprayer. However, at the same time, care must be taken to ensure that when spraying, water droplets do not appear on the surface of young growths or flowers, as they can quickly rot. Experienced orchids are advised to spray the plant from the smallest sprayer because this type of dew falls where such an orchid comes from.
For planting stanhopea, it is best to use a hanging plastic or wooden basket; a lattice with large cells is also suitable for this purpose. Such a container will hold the flower itself well, and will also provide free access of air to its root system. Due to the fact that under natural conditions this kind of orchid prefers to grow on rocky ledges or in the forks of trees, it has flower stalks directed downwards. Therefore, such a flower should be grown exclusively in a hanging container.
To grow such a plant, two types of soil mixture are used:
- dry foliage and tree bark, sphagnum;
- tree bark, fern roots, sphagnum, and charcoal.
In this case, it is best to use the second variant of the soil mixture for planting. Such components will provide the substrate with good moisture capacity and a loose structure. And also this soil mixture has a large amount of various nutrients that the plant needs.
Top dressing of stanhopea is recommended only in spring when there is intensive growth, as well as flowering. For top dressing, you need to use a specialized complex fertilizer for orchids, while you need to take ½ of the dose recommended on the package.
How to water
This plant is very fond of moisture. In this regard, it should be watered systematically, without waiting for the soil mixture to dry out. If watering is scarce, then this will have an extremely negative effect on the roots of the orchid, while deformation of the leaf plates will occur, and there will also be a delay in flowering. If watering is excessively plentiful, then this will also negatively affect the condition of the plant. So, its pseudobulbs are crushed, and flowering may not occur at all.
With the onset of a dormant period (at the end of the autumn period), you need to water the Stanhopea somewhat less. As a rule, at this time, watering is done only after the soil dries slightly around the edges of the pot. For irrigation and moisturizing, it is necessary to use water at room temperature, which can be rainwater, well-settled or boiled.
Spider mites or scale insects can settle on this plant. If you find harmful insects on the Stanhopea, then the leaves will need to be gently washed with a tepid soapy solution, after which it is treated with an insecticide.
As a rule, such a flower can be propagated by dividing its rhizome into parts. In this case, the division is recommended during transplantation. And you need to replant the plant 1 time in 3 years in the spring. The rhizome is divided in such a way that there are several pseudobulbs on each division. For division, a well-sharpened, disinfected knife is used. Places of cuts in the stem part need to be treated with crushed charcoal to prevent infection. A fully-fledged orchid of this kind will bloom only when its rhizome grows well and there are at least 5 or 6 pseudobulbs. In this regard, the Stanhopea should be planted in a container taken “for growth”.
This is an incredibly beautiful plant. It has gorgeous large flowers with a fancy color and shape. The opened flowers of the Stanhopea are able to fascinate with their beauty.