The Ascocentrum family includes about ten epiphytic orchids from India, Nepal and Taiwan. They look similar to vandals, but the size is much smaller. Each plant produces some elongated leaves, shiny and thick, very dark, no larger than 10-15 cm; by the end of spring it produces an erect stem on which bloom many small flowers, red, yellow or pink or white; at the base of the leaves often grow numerous aerial roots.
These orchids are often hybridized with the venda to obtain the genus Ascocenda, orchids with very showy and coloured flowers, but with decidedly smaller dimensions than the vanda, therefore simpler to cultivate in not very big environments.
The ascocentrum are orchids that need very bright places, if you want you can also place them for a few hours in direct sunlight, as long as not in the middle hours of the day, especially in summer when the temperatures are very high.
The brighter the environment, the more luxuriant the leaves are and the abundant flowering; a poorly lit environment hinders flowering and causes dark spots on the leaves. These plants are afraid of the cold, and the minimum winter temperature should not drop below 12-15 ° C, during the winter season should therefore be kept indoors or in a temperate greenhouse.
- Some species of orchids have very special flowers, with a curved labellum, closed to form a kind of shoe; orchids with cup-shaped lips belong to three main genus of orchids.
- The genus cattleya orchids counts about fifty species of epiphytes and lithophytes, native to South America; they are equipped with fleshy pseudobulbs, which may have dimensions close to the 5-7 cm, with a …
- It is a genus that includes many epiphytic orchids, originating in the wetlands and mountains of South America, from Mexico to Peru. They do not have pseudubulbs and the leaves are long and narrow, they are not…
- The genus Laelia includes about 50-60 species of orchids, mainly epiphytic, native to Central America, very similar to the cattleya. These varieties form dense tufts of pseudobulbs, which are often found in the…
These orchids need abundant and regular watering, especially in the period from March to October, the soil should be kept constantly moist but not too soggy because stagnant water can quickly lead to the onset of root rot; it is also advisable to vaporize frequently the leaves to increase the humidity environment, using rainwater or demineralized, so that it is free of limestone.
If the Ascocentrum are grown with aerial roots on special rafts, it is essential to proceed with the vaporization of them in a constant manner.
Every 7-10 days add specific orchid fertilizer to the water of the watering.
To arrange orchids of this type, prepare a compound consisting of a little soil mixed with perlite, sphagnum and chopped bark. Due to their small size, these orchids are particularly suitable for growing on pieces of bark.
The substrate must be chosen in such a way that it allows good drainage of the water and, at the same time, retains a good degree of humidity, a determining factor for the health of the orchids.
In the spring it is possible to divide the heads of roots, the individual portions are immediately repotted individually and treated as adult plants, taking care to place them in a sheltered but very bright place to ensure the proper development of the plant.
Ascocentrum: Pests and diseases
The cultivation of these plants in poorly ventilated places can cause the presence of rust and cochineal. Cochineal can be removed with a manual intervention with the help of a cloth with alcohol, otherwise there are special products to be vaporized carefully on the affected plants. It is essential for the health of orchids to cultivate them in a suitable environment and with favourable environmental conditions.