To the genus coelogyne belong about one hundred species of orchids, originating in central and southern Asia; c. cristata is a species of Nepalese and Chinese origin, widespread at fairly high altitudes, in cool climates.
It produces fleshy pseudobulbs, of oval shape, quite big, from each of which come out two long ribbon-shaped leaves, leathery, of a bright green colour; already during the winter, at the base of the pseudobulbs, is produced the stem which will carry the flowers, which will bloom in spring, united in an arched inflorescence, 15-20 cm long.
The flowers are big, very showy, of candid white colour, characterized by petals and arched sepals, and by a trilobed labellum, which has some golden yellow stripes. The coelogyne flowers are very striking, and a single plant can also produce some floral stems, each carrying 3-6 flowers. The flowers of the other species of coelogyne are always large, some even perfumed, and the colours are quite soft, from white to beige, from yellow to light green.
These orchids should be placed in a very bright place, possibly far from direct sunlight, although it is possible to expose these plants to sunlight for a few hours a day, during the coolest periods of the year and early morning hours.
To obtain a good flowering it is advisable to grow the plants in a place with a fairly warm climate, from March to September, while during the cold months it is best to place them in an unheated room, or even in a cold greenhouse, with minimum temperatures close to 7-10 °.C.
L ‘ambient humidity for this type of plants must be high, even at eighty percent in the hottest periods.
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From April to September we water abundantly, keeping the soil always slightly moist; in the same period we will take care to vaporize the leaves, to increase the humidity and to lower the temperature during the hottest days. During the cold months we can thin the watering, intervening only if the pseudobulbs tend to lose turgidity.
It is also good to provide for proper fertilization, using a fertilizer with a good component of phosphorus in spring and autumn to increase flowering.
The roots of the Coelogyne are quite thin and delicate, so it is advisable to use a fairly fine soil, consisting of small pieces of shredded bark, granules of perlite and pieces of vegetable fiber or peat. It is advisable to avoid too frequent repottings to avoid damaging the root system, which is very delicate. Intervene when you notice that the roots are forced inside the pot.
The multiplication of these orchids happens by division of the tufts, even if often the division leads the plants to a lasting deterioration, therefore it is to be practiced with all the due expedients, using clean and disinfected tools.
The Coelogyne also multiply by seed, taking into account the fact that new plants may not have the same characteristics as the mother plant.
Coelogyne: Pests and Diseases
These orchids fear the attack of aphids and cochineal. To eliminate the latter, if they are not present in a massive way, you can intervene manually, using a cloth soaked in alcohol to pass on the leaves. Then there are special insecticide products that guarantee good results for the elimination of the problem.