Polystachya pubescens is a small, epiphytic orchid native to South Africa. It is a very common orchid and sometimes can be found growing as a lithophyte on sandstone outcrops. The small, pyriform pseudobulbs will reach about 4 inches (10 cm) tall bearing 3-4 leaves of unequal length. It is very easy to grow and makes a good orchid for beginners.
Blooming: In the greenhouse, the plants bloom from late spring into summer. The small 3/4 inch (2 cm) bright yellow, fragrant flowers bloom on an erect 10 inch (25 cm) raceme with 7-12 flowers per inflorescence.
Culture: Polystachya pubescens need partial shade to full sun. In the greenhouse, we use coarse pine bark as the medium of choice for growing. The plants are grown in a lightly shaded area of the greenhouse. Plants are watered regularly and given a light dose of orchid special fertilizer weekly during the growing season. During the hot summer months, the plants should be misted. During the winter months, very little water is needed.
Propagation: Polystachya pubescens is propagated by division of the pseudobulb in late winter before new growth starts.
Polystachya pubescens was featured as Plant of the Week April 8-14, 2005.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.