The Leochilus is a genus that includes about thirty species of epiphytic orchids, widespread in tropical America, from Florida to Central America.
They have rather contained dimensions; the pseudobulbs are oval, fleshy, from each of them come out 1-2 elongated leaves, arched, 10-12 cm long; by the end of winter, or in spring, from the pseudobulbs grows a long stem, at times ramified, which carries several small perfumed flowers, usually of greenish-yellow colour, with purple dots on the labellum; some species have pink, white or cream flowers.
These orchids are not very common in cultivation, even if the rather prolonged flowering and the small perfumed flowers render them very decorative.
To obtain the best results in the cultivation of Leochilus orchids, it is best to plant these plants in a fairly bright place, but not exposed to direct sunlight; these orchids need winter temperatures close to 15-18°C, therefore they should be grown indoors or in a temperate greenhouse, taking care, if placed indoors, not to place them too close to heat sources, such as radiators, and always ensuring them a good light to avoid a stunted growth and a limited 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.
- 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…
As for the supply of water to the Leochilus orchids, water regularly, placing the pot in immersion for a few minutes, until the substrate is well moist, then let it drain and place in a saucer, possibly filled with expanded clay quite moist, but not wet.
In the warmer months and during the winter, it is better to vaporize the leaves with demineralized water, in order to maintain the correct level of ambient humidity, determining factor for the vigorous growth of these plants; every 20-30 days, add to the water of the watering, the balanced fertilizer.
These orchids are epiphytic in nature, i.e. they grow by resting their roots on other plants, with their roots exposed; they therefore need a substratum made up of shredded bark, coconut fibre and sphagnum.
The pseudobulbs tend, with the years, to germinate, in order to originate new plants, for this reason it is good to repot the plant every 2-3 years, in order that it has the space necessary for growing and for replacing the substratum which, in the course of the time, tends to degrade, not providing any more a valid support for the roots.
Before proceeding with the repotting, it is best to wet the substratum and the roots, in order to make them less fragile and delicate, thus avoiding that they can break.
after the flowering, it is possible to divide the heads of pseudobulbs, taking care to keep one or more well developed roots for each portion of the head; the new plants thus obtained are to be immediately repotted individually.
Leochilus: Parasites and diseases
Sometimes cochineal lurks at the base of the leaves. To prevent it from causing damage to the plant, it is advisable to intervene quickly, using a cotton ball with alcohol to pass on the leaves to remove the parasites. Orchids can also present problems of radical rottenness, deriving from an excess of watering or from a substratum not sufficiently draining.