The small genus Tolumnia, belonging to the orchid family, has only recently been isolated from the larger genus Oncidium (Oncidium). This genus unites about 30 species of perennial plants. In nature, they can only be found on the islands of the Caribbean. To a large number of orchids, they are known to this day by their outdated generic name, and are sold in many flower shops as such.
Oncidium and tolumnia have clear differences, and therefore it is not so difficult to distinguish one plant from another. So, in tolumnia, unlike oncidium, there are no pseudobulbs at all or they are mild. Often, a short, thin stem grows in their place. The vaginal paired leaflets grow on the rhizome (creeping shoot of sympoidal orchids), often in close contact with each other and forming medium-sized rosettes. Fleshy leaves can have a broadly lanceolate or oval-pointed shape, and they reach a length of 5 to 20 centimeters, a width of 5 to 15 centimeters. Long (up to 75 centimeters) branched peduncles are multi-flowered. Each inflorescence bears 12-60 small flowers, the diameter of which is 1.5-3 centimeters.
The flowers are pronounced zygomorphic and have a shape characteristic of oncidiums, however, it is somewhat more complicated. 3 narrow small sepals (sepals, which are confused with petals) of a wedge-shaped or obovate shape fit into the vertices of an isosceles triangle. The 2 true petals (petals) are not as narrow as the sepals, often wavy, sometimes with a jagged edge. The three-lobed complex lip (3rd petal) is divided into 2 equal parts, narrow at the base, it opens with a wide rounded fan. The diameter of the lips, as a rule, is larger than the size of the entire flower, and sometimes it exceeds it by 2 or 3 times. A short, plump column (the reproductive organ of a flower) has processes – “wings”. sometimes have a jagged edge.
The three-lobed complex lip (3rd petal) is divided into 2 equal parts, narrow at the base, it opens with a wide rounded fan. The diameter of the lips, as a rule, is larger than the size of the entire flower, and sometimes it exceeds it by 2 or 3 times. A short, plump column (the reproductive organ of a flower) has processes – “wings”. sometimes have a jagged edge. The three-lobed complex lip (3rd petal) is divided into 2 equal parts, narrow at the base, it opens with a wide rounded fan. The diameter of the lips, as a rule, is larger than the size of the entire flower, and sometimes it exceeds it by 2 or 3 times. A short, plump column (the reproductive organ of a flower) has processes – “wings”.
Flowers can be painted in various colors, and they are also found in plain colors or with a patterned pattern. For example, on a pinkish-white calyx there are many burgundy spots of various sizes and shapes. They can be located only in the center of the flower or be scattered over the entire surface of the sepals and petals, changing their color to reddish-burgundy. Guianan tolumnia (Tolumnia guianensis) – its flowers are painted bright yellow, while at the base of the petals there are small burgundy spots. Tolumnia beautiful (Tolumnia pulchella) is a very beautiful plant with light pink flowers. On the basis of the wide lip of such a flower there are short yellowish strokes that create a torn chaotic pattern.
Many hybrids and varieties of such a plant have a more bizarre and varied color. The most popular is Tolumnia Jairak Rainbow. This spectacular hybrid is the result of crossing hybrids such as Tolumnia Catherine Wilson and Tolumnia Tsiku Vanessa. It has a rather complex color, formed by spots and strokes of white, burgundy, pink and yellow, while the combination and intensity of color shades directly depends on the variety. So, in the variety “Charming” brownish-red sepals and petals have a whitish border; the lip has a pink-crimson color closer to the edge, and in the center it is whitish-yellow with red spots, and they, merging at the base of the lip, create a uniform background of red color; there are reddish spots on the surface of the saturated yellow column.
Tolumnia orchid care at home
Tolumnia is suitable for growing at home by experienced orchids, and for them, it will not be difficult. Inexperienced flower growers should make every effort to achieve the flowering of this plant.
This photophilous plant needs enough bright light. The direct rays of the morning and evening sun do not harm this kind of orchid. But from midday scorching sunlight in the summer, she needs shading, because they can leave burns on the surface of the leaves. To accommodate this plant, a window of western or eastern orientation is suitable. It should be remembered that from the middle of autumn to the middle of spring, the flower needs illumination with special fitolamps. Light day all year round should have a duration of 10 to 12 hours, while the optimal level of illumination should be at least 6000-8000 lux.
The temperature regime for tolumnia is moderately warm, while the daily temperature fluctuations should be well pronounced. Best of all, the plant will grow and develop at a temperature of 18 to 22 degrees during the day, and from 14 to 16 degrees at night. Do not forget that the minimum difference in daily temperatures should be 5 degrees. Only in this case the orchid will bloom.
Such a flower is grown on blocks, in special hanging baskets, as well as in pots. At the same time, it is recommended to fill the pots with a mixture consisting of sphagnum and pieces of pine bark of a fine fraction, they must be taken in a ratio of 1:5. Blocks are made from large pieces of pine bark. On such a block, you need to fix the root system and rhizome of the plant, not forgetting to first cover them with a not very thick layer of sphagnum.
How to water
Watering is recommended only after the substrate is completely dry. Watering is best done by immersing a container or block in a basin filled with water. You need to get the flower in 20-30 minutes. It is put in place only after the excess liquid has completely drained.
It is necessary to water exclusively with well-defended and soft water. Orchidists with considerable experience advise to heat such water to a temperature of 30 to 35 degrees, and at the same time the flower is best immersed in the liquid during watering as a whole (i.e. pot and flower). It has been observed that a “hot shower” activates the growth of greenery and the formation of flower buds.
From the end of the autumn to the end of the winter period, this kind of orchid has a dormant period, while in their homeland at this very time there is a dry period. The plant for this period must be provided with very poor watering. Tolumnia that grows on a block should be watered once every 14 days, and grown in a pot – once every 30 days. When the first flower stalks appear, the orchid begins to be watered as usual.
If the plant does not have a dormant period, then flowering may not occur at all or it will be very scarce.
Such a flower does not require too high humidity. So, it can grow and develop normally at a humidity of 45 to 70 percent. To increase humidity, household steam generators and humidifiers are used, as well as systematic wetting of foliage from a sprayer (this procedure should be carried out only in the morning). Also, in the immediate vicinity of the flower, you can put an open vessel filled with water. It is also recommended to pour expanded clay into the pan and pour in a little water.
Tolumnia should be transplanted only in case of emergency:
- the block or container has become cramped for the flower;
- the substrate is soured or decomposed, algae appeared on its surface.
For top dressing, special complex fertilizers for orchids are used, while the dosage should be looked at on the package. It is necessary to feed the flower every 5 waterings.
Propagate the plant in apartment conditions, you can only divide the rhizome. It should be remembered that the delenka will grow and develop better if it has at least 3 pairs of leaves.
Under industrial conditions, they are propagated meristemally (cloning) and by seeds.
Diseases and pests
The flower is resistant to pests. He can get sick as a result of overflow (especially when kept cool). In this case, he develops root rot.
This plant blooms for 2-3 months. However, after flowering is over, flower stalks should not be removed. The fact is that such old peduncles are distinguished by repeated flowering, so young branches form over time. Experts advise to remove only those parts that dry out.