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Calanthe

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Calanthes are mostly distributed in Thailand, Burma, Borneo and Indo-China and the Celebes. They are terrestrial growing plants with large pseudobulbs and large leaves. By crossing different varieties of this species with one another we have obtained excellent results: interesting clones and good varieties of hybrids in an array of bright colours. The erect flower stem is longer than the leaves and bears many clustered flowers on the upper part. .The flowers open in succession and are long -lasting.

Cultivation is very easy. I use well a drained pot with open compost, a mixture of four parts of ordinary garden peat and one part of coarse perlite. Re-potting in fresh compost is done every spring in February or March just as the new shoots start showing . From then onwards the compost is kept moist and watered as it is needed. They are heavy feeders. I use balance fertilizer Peters excel at 700 ms or 350ppm. Keep them in a warm or intermediate well ventilated house with good light but not in the direct sun.

The spike starts showing in autumn. They need to be staked. The flowering season for me is November to February. During this time they will start losing their leaves and you need to gradually reduce watering and keep them dry until re potting. At the re-potting stage you may have to increase the size of the pot to accommodate the few large pseudobulbs or divide them up to make more plants. The choice is yours.

They are to a certain extent immune to any pests except slugs. So use a lot of slug pellets around them.

I find Calanthes very rewarding plants to grow and they give me lots of pleasure with the quality of their flowers and the brilliant colour range.

C.Kovac
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