This has got to be one of my proudest moments as an orchid grower… so far. My Phragmipedium Grande has finally decided to bloom!! I have waited two years for this glorious occasion and I plan to take full credit. Damn I am good! (and modest) Ehm, well… truth be told a few weeks ago I thought I might actually have messed up so bad I would loose this plant, but it seems catastrophe was averted in time. Good times!
Two flowers just opened up this week and there is one more bud coming. I bought this plant near blooming size about 2 years ago from Marita Åkesson, but it has refused to bloom for me until now. After last season I moved it from sphagnum moss into semi-hydro with volcanic rocks and placed it closer to the lights, top shelf next to the Cattleyas. Perhaps it is the extra light, or even moisture that did it, who knows. I am just thrilled that it is finally blooming.
Grande is a primary hybrid of Phragmipedium caudatum x longifolium and it was first registered by Veitch & Sons back in 1881. The flowers are pretty darn near perfect and its gracefully twisted petals can grow as long as 80 cm long (!) as they basically continue to grow until they reach the ground.
Although I have to confess that I actually have a thing for the “neck” of all Phragmipedium and Paphiopedilum flowers, and the Grande has one of the most supple ones of them all… very sensual.