Calanthe Culture


Can you please give me some information on growing Calanthe? I understand that these orchids require special treatmant. —S.H. McGee

Calanthe vestita. photo º 1998 Greg Allikas


There are two main types of Calanthe in cultivation, deciduous and evergreen. The evergreen types have no rest period and should be kept somewhat damp all year. The deciduous types comprise one of the most satisfactory groups of all orchids, with inflorescences that bloom over a long period of time in the late autumn and winter. They grow well with cattleyas, where the bright light and warm temperatures (60º F at night with a 10º to 20º F increase during the day) will help them to make strong growth. Since these plants are seasonal growers, like cycnoches or catasetums, it is important to maximize the size of the pseudobulb during their summer growth period by frequent applications of water and fertilizer. Once the pseudobulbs have matured, gradually reduce watering until leaves fall, when water should be withheld altogether. The broad leaves can be subject to spider mite, so keep humidity high and leaves clean. When necessary, apply insecticides, although they may mar the deciduous leaves. — Ned Nash