Laelia Orchid: Varieties, Origin, Growing, Care

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The genus Laelia is described in 1831. The name comes from the ancient Greek female name Lelia, sister of Zeus. Refers to epiphytic and lithophytic perennial, herbaceous plants belonging to the Orchid family.

In the last century, the genus consisted of 50 natural species and then decreased to 20 species.

They grow in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Chile, and some parts of India. Botanists have noticed differences in genes between species native to Brazil and Mexico. And they were attributed to different genera. For example, some were attributed to the Safronitis family.

They grow in the subtropics in the warm temperate regions of South America and the West Indies. They are found at an altitude of 0 to 3000 meters above sea level. In open, illuminated areas, on tree trunks, stumps, as well as on rocks, in mountain forests.

laelia orchid

Description of laelia orchid species

The Lelia clan was united with the Cattleya clan, then again they were considered a separate clan. indeed they are very similar in appearance. However, there are some differences. The flowers of the Laelia orchid are smaller and brighter than those of the Cattleyas. Differs in the number of polylines. Laelia has 8 of them, and Cattleya group 4. Wonderful hybrids were bred using two genera. We took all the best from both parents.

In nature, there are medium and large varieties. Orchid with a sympodial type of growth, reaching a height of 30-90 cm. In miniature pseudobulbs are oval, large ones have an elongated, ovoid shape. From pseudobulb, leathery, one or two lance-shaped leaves grow.

Peduncles appear from the top of the leaf, they bear one or more flowers of all kinds of shades.

Flowering is long and more varieties have a pleasant aroma. The smell is heard in the morning, daytime. In some species, the aroma is enhanced at night. The flower shape is very beautiful. The petals spread apart, creating a shape that resembles a five-pointed star. The lip is large, tubular, wavy. Often of a different color than the basic tone of the flower, it has grown together with the column.

The flowers are dense, waxy. After flowering, it gives out new growth and a cover appears in the leaf axil. When a pseudobulb is formed, the flower stalk begins to form and development occurs on average for 1.5 months.

As a rule, the Lelia orchid blooms in late winter, early spring. There are species that bloom in summer.

It is interesting! A peculiarity of the Lelia genus is that new pseudobulbs with two leaves sometimes appear in single-leaved pseudobulbs.

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laelia orchid Care Rules

The Lelia Orchid is considered not difficult to care for and is very popular among novice and experienced florists. In care, they are very similar to the Cattleya genus.

  1. Needs a long day of light. The light intensity is very bright, as for the Cattleyas. All species are photophilous. Diffused lighting with protection from the midday sun is required.
  2. Prefers moderate air temperatures. During the day in the summer, up to 30 degrees. In winter, no higher than +15 degrees. The difference in daily temperatures should be at least 6 degrees all year round.
  3. The optimum moisture content for a flower is 60% -85%.
  4. Abundant summer watering should be reduced in winter, with the obligatory drying of the soil between waterings.
  5. Pine bark soil with the addition of moisture-consuming components: sphagnum moss, perlite, zeolite, should not be constantly wet. Otherwise, there will be a loss of roots as a result of decay. In winter, instead of soaking the pot in water or the spill method, it is better to replace it with spraying on top of the ground with warm water of +35 degrees.
  6. Fertilize once a month with complex mineral fertilizers intended for orchids during the growing season. Soak the pot in the nutrient solution for 15-20 minutes. You can also replace root dressing with foliar fertilization. Follow the instructions on the package to prepare the solution for foliar use.
  7. Planting is suitable in a pot with ventilated holes, and on a block if the humidity in the room is high. Otherwise, you will have to spray very often. Transplant once every 2-4 years.
  8. Sometimes do preventive treatments for diseases and insect pests .

laelia orchid Varieties

The types of Laelia orchids are varied. For example, 

laelia orchid varieties
Laelia gouldiana

Laelia lundii

Laelia lundii does not like frequent and abundant watering. Has fleshy leaves and pseudobulb.

Pseudobulbs of 5 cm. Flower 3 cm in diameter, no scent. From one tuberidia (pseudobulb), two new growths grow at once. Inhabits trees in Brazil.

In the mountains at an altitude of 1000 meters above sea level. Moderately warm temperatures are suitable.

Laelia speciosa 

Wet content is necessary for Laelia speciosa it likes when the soil is always slightly moist, does not require lengthy drying. There are several variations of flowering: white, pink, purple, blue.

Laelia gouldiana

Laelia gouldiana grows in Mexico, bright color with iridescent petals in the sun. The peduncle reaches 80 cm, on which 5-10 flowers grow. Loves abundant watering with a slight drying out of the substrate. The scent resembles the scent of spicy tulips. Not very intense. The size of the flowers is about 8-9 cm. Opened in 1888, named after the American businessman Jay Gould.

It can no longer be found in nature. More common in home collections. Lived in arid regions with bright lighting throughout the year. With a period of heavy torrential rains. Therefore, the house also needs abundant watering with periodic drying of the soil.

Blooms in the autumn-winter months. Easily adapts to home conditions. Three tiger-colored ribs are visible on the lip.

Laelia anceps

Laelia anceps is the homeland of this species – Mexico and Honduras. It grows epiphytically in coniferous forests at an altitude of 500-1500 meters above sea level. Sometimes found on coffee plantations, bathed in the rays of bright sunlight.

As lithophyte, growing on rocks, is rare. Not difficult in culture. Both warm and cool temperatures are suitable. The main thing is that there are daily temperature differences of about 10 degrees. Requires high humidity from 70% and above. The temperature drop and high humidity contribute to the laying of peduncles.

Laelia purpurata

Laelia purpurata reaches a height of 60-70 cm. It grows naturally in southern Brazil. It is considered the national flower. It grows epiphytically on trees and lithophytic on rocks. Orchid of moderately warm temperatures.

Laelia tenebrosa

Laelia tenebrosa plant height 40-50 cm. No pronounced dormant period. Not demanding on bright light and high humidity. The species is moderately warm. In winter, the desired night temperature is not lower than + 15. In summer, up to 30 degrees.

pseudobulb are carried one leave at a time. Easy to care for, suitable for growing by beginners. Doesn’t like being constantly wet. Small dryings are required between waterings. There is no fragrance.

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Laelia perrinii

Laelia perrinii grows in Brazil up to 900 meters above sea level. An epiphytic orchid of medium size 50 cm in height. Blooms with many variations: white, pink, blue.

The diameter of the petals is 12-15 cm. On one peduncle usually, 1-2 flowers grow, less often 3. It has a sweet aroma with cinnamon. Orchid of warm temperatures. Winter maintenance at +20 C, in summer up to +30 C. Forms flower stalks quickly. Easily adapts to home conditions.