Calypso is a genus that includes a few species of terrestrial orchids, more rarely epiphytic, originating in North America, Canada and the countries of the extreme north of Europe.
The plant is small, usually does not exceed 15-20 cm in diameter, and produces a single leaf per bulb, which usually dries completely during the hottest periods of the year, dark green in color, shiny, oval; at the beginning of spring, just at the end of the winter rigors, produces a single flower scented, with pink-purple sepals and petals, and white labellum, pointed purple and sometimes striped violet-brownish, but not in all species.
These orchids tend to form tufts formed by several specimens, but it is not uncommon to find solitary plants.
Unlike many other orchids, those of the species calypso come from cold places, so they can hardly stand the climatic conditions of our homes, for this reason they can be grown in the ground, or in containers to be kept on the terrace. Calypso are used to undergrowth, so they do not like sunlight, preferring shady places to develop at their best.
They don’t fear the cold, and the leaves vegetate perfectly also under the snow; rather the calypso fears the heat, it is therefore advisable to keep it in the shade also in spring, in order to avoid that the sun burns the leaves before the flowering.
- 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.
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This type of orchid needs abundant watering, which keeps the soil moist throughout the flowering period, from March to June, during the other periods of the year should be thinned watering, especially if the soil freezes.
From the beginning of spring until June it is advisable to provide orchid fertiliser with water from the watering every week.
If the temperatures are rather high, it is advisable to proceed with the vaporization of water on the leaves to increase the rate of humidity. Always check that the roots do not remain in contact with excessive amounts of water, as root rot could easily occur.
These orchids need a very well drained soil, soft and rich of humus; whether we cultivate it in full earth or whether we want to keep it in pot, we have to get some sphagnum and some osmunda fibre, which are to be mixed with some good soil of leaves, in order to simulate at best the conditions of the natural places of growth of the calypso.
The ideal substrate must allow the maintenance of the right level of humidity and, at the same time, avoid that water stagnations, very damaging for the orchids, can form.
In late spring we can divide the groups of bulbs, producing new plants that must be planted immediately, it is advisable to leave some roots in each portion practiced to promote the rooting.
Use the substrate described for adult plants. Place new plants in a protected and sheltered environment, away from direct sunlight.
Calypso: Past and Diseases
If the cultivation soil is poorly drained or if the watering is excessive, the calypso can be affected by radical rot. Therefore, carefully check that you do not exaggerate with the water supply and that the chosen soil has adequate characteristics for this plant.