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Bloom Highlights

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Sources for "What's in Bloom: Bloom Highlights" listings include the Chicago Botanic Garden's staff and database, as well as the publications and records of other botanic gardens, institutions, and the scientific community.

Gower Ramsey Dancing Lady Orchid

The small, pure yellow Gower Ramsey dancing lady orchid (Oncidium Gower Ramsey), with long, arching flowering stems comes into flower in midwinter in the Chicago area. Dancing lady orchids adapt to home cultivation if they receive bright light, humidity, and very well-drained soils.

Gower Ramsey dancing lady orchid has been frequently studied by plant physiologists investigating the role of genes in flower development.

The orchid family consists of a large number of genera, each with its own unique characteristics. A common characteristic, however, is the basic form of the flower, which consists of three petals surrounded by three sepals—often in dramatic and contrasting colors and in a variety of shapes and sizes. Although some orchids are native to temperate zones, most orchids tend to prefer a semitropical or tropical environment (USDA Zones 9-11) and have epiphytic roots—meaning they derive moisture and nutrients from the air and support from another plant; few orchids grow in soil. Orchids usually prefer a diurnal temperature fluctuation—meaning warmer days and cooler nights—though the absolute temperature range (cool, intermediate, or warm) varies by genus and is consistent with their natural habitat. While requiring adequate sunlight for a stunning bloom display, most orchids will not tolerate sustained direct sun.

Many varieties have pseudobulbs, a portion of the stem between leaf nodes that stores water to help sustain the plant through dry periods. Other varieties are monopodial, meaning upward growth is from a single growing point.

There is an exception to almost every general statement one can make about orchids. The family continues to challenge taxonomists.

Jade Vine

Jade vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys) is a rare find in U.S. botanical gardens. Aside from the Chicago Botanic Garden, only the Fairchild Botanical Gardens, south of Miami, Florida, and the Waimea Botanic Gardens in Hawaii have this interesting plant. The unusual color of the jade vine's blooms is the result of pigments in two different color classes being modified by high pH in the sap of the stems.

Native to the Philippines, only old, mature plants produce flowers. Jade vine is a member of the pea family (Fabaceae) and is bat-pollinated in the wild. The brilliantly colored, oddly shaped flowers are adapted for bats to hang upside down and sip the nectar within.

제이드 덩굴나무는 미국내의 식물원에는 흔하지

Khaoyai Blue Vanda Orchid

Stout upright stems produce large spikes of dark purple flowers with light lavender highlights between the veins. This genus of orchids produces a single growing stem that uses aerial roots to cling to surrounding vegetation and hold it upright in the hot, humid jungles of the Philippines and surrounding southeast Asia. Given the ultimate height, these orchids are a struggle for homeowners who do not have a greenhouse in which to grow them.

The orchid family consists of a large number of genera, each with its own unique characteristics. A common characteristic, however, is the basic form of the flower, which consists of three petals surrounded by three sepals—often in dramatic and contrasting colors and in a variety of shapes and sizes. Although some orchids are native to temperate zones, most orchids tend to prefer a semitropical or tropical environment (USDA Zones 9-11) and have epiphytic roots—meaning they derive moisture and nutrients from the air and support from another plant; few orchids grow in soil. Orchids usually prefer a diurnal temperature fluctuation—meaning warmer days and cooler nights—though the absolute temperature range (cool, intermediate, or warm) varies by genus and is consistent with their natural habitat. While requiring adequate sunlight for a stunning bloom display, most orchids will not tolerate sustained direct sun.

Many varieties have pseudobulbs, a portion of the stem between leaf nodes that stores water to help sustain the plant through dry periods. Other varieties are monopodial, meaning upward growth is from a single growing point.

There is an exception to almost every general statement one can make about orchids. The family continues to challenge taxonomists.

Laeliocattleya Orchid

With a classic 'corsage' orchid shape, this cultivar presents lavender petals that surround the darker lower lip with a dark yellow spot to guide he pollinating insects to the pollen sacks. With bright sunlight, high humidity, a modest rest period, and well-drained media, this plant will slowly increase in size and the number of flowers it produces annually. It is better off under lights rather than a windowsill in home environments due to the cooler temperatures next to the glass in winter.

Mixed Pansy-faced Orchids

These mixed cultivars of the pansy-faced orchid feature large, wide-petaled flowers in colors ranging from white to yellow, pink, and red.

The orchid family consists of a large number of genera, each with its own unique characteristics. A common characteristic, however, is the basic form of the flower, which consists of three petals surrounded by three sepals—often in dramatic and contrasting colors and in a variety of shapes and sizes. Although some orchids are native to temperate zones, most orchids tend to prefer a semitropical or tropical environment (USDA Zones 9-11) and have epiphytic roots—meaning they derive moisture and nutrients from the air and support from another plant; few orchids grow in soil. Orchids usually prefer a diurnal temperature fluctuation—meaning warmer days and cooler nights—though the absolute temperature range (cool, intermediate, or warm) varies by genus and is consistent with their natural habitat. While requiring adequate sunlight for a stunning bloom display, most orchids will not tolerate sustained direct sun.

Many varieties have pseudobulbs, a portion of the stem between leaf nodes that stores water to help sustain the plant through dry periods. Other varieties are monopodial, meaning upward growth is from a single growing point.

There is an exception to almost every general statement one can make about orchids. The family continues to challenge taxonomists.

My Sweet Wink Dendrobium Orchid

This orchid has small clusters of white flowers. More than half of each petal tipped in pink are borne at the nodes of 1-year-old upright pseudobulbs. They grow and flower best if exposed to full sun to bright light, allowed to experience a slight drying in summer, and grown in well-drained media. Bring the plant indoors before the first hard frost and place it under grow lights. Use mist to control spider mites and swab mealy bugs and scale insects with rubbing alcohol on a cue tip. These orchids often produce kikis (Hawaiian for babies) toward the tips of the stems.

The orchid family consists of a large number of genera, each with its own unique characteristics. A common characteristic, however, is the basic form of the flower, which consists of three petals surrounded by three sepals—often in dramatic and contrasting colors and in a variety of shapes and sizes. Although some orchids are native to temperate zones, most orchids tend to prefer a semitropical or tropical environment (USDA Zones 9-11) and have epiphytic roots—meaning they derive moisture and nutrients from the air and support from another plant; few orchids grow in soil. Orchids usually prefer a diurnal temperature fluctuation—meaning warmer days and cooler nights—though the absolute temperature range (cool, intermediate, or warm) varies by genus and is consistent with their natural habitat. While requiring adequate sunlight for a stunning bloom display, most orchids will not tolerate sustained direct sun.

Many varieties have pseudobulbs, a portion of the stem between leaf nodes that stores water to help sustain the plant through dry periods. Other varieties are monopodial, meaning upward growth is from a single growing point.

There is an exception to almost every general statement one can make about orchids. The family continues to challenge taxonomists.

Pure Yellow Oncidium Orchid

Large, pure yellow "dancing ladies" are produced by the dozens on arching sprays above the short green leaves. This cultivar grows best in bright light, warm temperatures, high humidity, and exceptionally well-drained potting media.

The orchid family consists of a large number of genera, each with its own unique characteristics. A common characteristic, however, is the basic form of the flower, which consists of three petals surrounded by three sepals—often in dramatic and contrasting colors and in a variety of shapes and sizes. Although some orchids are native to temperate zones, most orchids tend to prefer a semitropical or tropical environment (USDA Zones 9-11) and have epiphytic roots—meaning they derive moisture and nutrients from the air and support from another plant; few orchids grow in soil. Orchids usually prefer a diurnal temperature fluctuation—meaning warmer days and cooler nights—though the absolute temperature range (cool, intermediate, or warm) varies by genus and is consistent with their natural habitat. While requiring adequate sunlight for a stunning bloom display, most orchids will not tolerate sustained direct sun.

Many varieties have pseudobulbs, a portion of the stem between leaf nodes that stores water to help sustain the plant through dry periods. Other varieties are monopodial, meaning upward growth is from a single growing point.

There is an exception to almost every general statement one can make about orchids. The family continues to challenge taxonomists.

Siriporn Pink Vanda Orchid

Large bright pink flowers feature light pink between the flower veins and are produced on stout flowering stems near the apex of the single, upright, stem (pseudobulb).

The orchid family consists of a large number of genera, each with its own unique characteristics. A common characteristic, however, is the basic form of the flower, which consists of three petals surrounded by three sepals—often in dramatic and contrasting colors and in a variety of shapes and sizes. Although some orchids are native to temperate zones, most orchids tend to prefer a semitropical or tropical environment (USDA Zones 9-11) and have epiphytic roots—meaning they derive moisture and nutrients from the air and support from another plant; few orchids grow in soil. Orchids usually prefer a diurnal temperature fluctuation—meaning warmer days and cooler nights—though the absolute temperature range (cool, intermediate, or warm) varies by genus and is consistent with their natural habitat. While requiring adequate sunlight for a stunning bloom display, most orchids will not tolerate sustained direct sun.

Many varieties have pseudobulbs, a portion of the stem between leaf nodes that stores water to help sustain the plant through dry periods. Other varieties are monopodial, meaning upward growth is from a single growing point.

There is an exception to almost every general statement one can make about orchids. The family continues to challenge taxonomists.

Steppenwolf Aliceara Orchid

Medium-sized, star-shaped flowers feature white petals, lightly blotched in dark purple with a swath of light cream along the mid-veins and a dark yellow nectar guide. Complex hybrids sometimes are challenging for home gardeners to grow—proof that not all hybrids are vigorous. Bright light, moderate to cool temperatures, high humidity, and exceptionally well-drained soils that never completely dry out are key requirements for success.

Taisuco Beauty Moth Orchid

Pinkish-lavender "moth" flowers are edged in white on this distinctive orchid. This genus of orchids is among the easiest for homeowners to grow indoors because they tolerate lower light levels, drier atmospheres, and are fairly forgiving of overwatering. However, best results are obtained when this plant is grown in bright light, moderate to high humidity, and well-drained soils that are allowed to dry slightly between waterings.

The orchid family consists of a large number of genera, each with its own unique characteristics. A common characteristic, however, is the basic form of the flower, which consists of three petals surrounded by three sepals—often in dramatic and contrasting colors and in a variety of shapes and sizes. Although some orchids are native to temperate zones, most orchids tend to prefer a semitropical or tropical environment (USDA Zones 9-11) and have epiphytic roots—meaning they derive moisture and nutrients from the air and support from another plant; few orchids grow in soil. Orchids usually prefer a diurnal temperature fluctuation—meaning warmer days and cooler nights—though the absolute temperature range (cool, intermediate, or warm) varies by genus and is consistent with their natural habitat. While requiring adequate sunlight for a stunning bloom display, most orchids will not tolerate sustained direct sun.

Many varieties have pseudobulbs, a portion of the stem between leaf nodes that stores water to help sustain the plant through dry periods. Other varieties are monopodial, meaning upward growth is from a single growing point.

There is an exception to almost every general statement one can make about orchids. The family continues to challenge taxonomists.

Turquoise Puya

Turquoise puya (Puya alpestris) produces brilliant turquoise flowers accentuated by intensely orange anthers. Best grown in full sun with a very well-drained potting soil in low humidity, it takes years for a plant from seed to reach flowering size. To grow your own, foliar feed no more than one time per month at the lowest solution recommended. This particular accession was received as a small plant from the Huntington Botanical Garden in San Marino, California, in 1993, and has come into flower for the first time.

You may be wondering how a bromeliad (air plant) can survive in a desert. In this case, the species is native to the high desert mountains of southern Chile, and obtains almost all of its water from the morning dews that briefly precipitate water before sunrise. The long, thin, arching leaves are protected by spines along the margin that discourage herbivores from taking a bite.

White Rhyncostylis Orchid

Short sprays of small, pure white flowers are produced from near the base of the pseudo-bulb on these smaller-scaled orchids. They grow best under high humidity, warm temperatures in very bright light, and exceptionally well-drained soils.

The orchid family consists of a large number of genera, each with its own unique characteristics. A common characteristic, however, is the basic form of the flower, which consists of three petals surrounded by three sepals—often in dramatic and contrasting colors and in a variety of shapes and sizes. Although some orchids are native to temperate zones, most orchids tend to prefer a semitropical or tropical environment (USDA Zones 9-11) and have epiphytic roots—meaning they derive moisture and nutrients from the air and support from another plant; few orchids grow in soil. Orchids usually prefer a diurnal temperature fluctuation—meaning warmer days and cooler nights—though the absolute temperature range (cool, intermediate, or warm) varies by genus and is consistent with their natural habitat. While requiring adequate sunlight for a stunning bloom display, most orchids will not tolerate sustained direct sun.

Many varieties have pseudobulbs, a portion of the stem between leaf nodes that stores water to help sustain the plant through dry periods. Other varieties are monopodial, meaning upward growth is from a single growing point.

There is an exception to almost every general statement one can make about orchids. The family continues to challenge taxonomists.