Contemplating Gastrochilus japonicus

rfraser529January 3, 2008

I am being tempted by a little orchid that goes by the name Gastrochilus japonicus, and am wondering if anyone has any special experience or strong feelings about this plant. I am highly addicted to orchids and am currently riding the "high" that accompanies having so many of my plants either actively blooming or threatening to do so in the near future. This of course puts me in the buying mood (OK, anything puts me in the buying mood for orchids) and while prowling the websites of my favorite vendors I came across this little gem. It seems to me that it would fit perfectly with my NN shelf (Native Nippon) of smallish plants. This particular plant is in a pot but many references I have found discuss it mounted.

I have a rather diverse collection that is currently entirely growing under lights. During the summer months I get nearly all my high light plants outside, but for the long Wisconsin winter everyone moves indoors. I did have several seedling Cypripedium regina that might have over wintered outside, but that story does not have a happy ending. Given my local I suffer from the typical seasonal humidity fluctuations, high in the summer really dry in the winter. None of my orchids are growing in any special chambers though this winter I did break down and by a very nice ultrasonic humidifier that is at least improving things in the growing area to around 40%, and it hits 50% plus on watering days. Of course that does not last for very long.

As a result of these limitations I am not growing any mounted plants to speak of, and moved those that had been mounted over to pots when it became clear that my skills in tending them particularly in this dry time of year would not lead to happiness. The exception is 2 Angraecum didieri that seem to be very happy with the current living arrangement and both are showing evidence spikes.

Anyone have thoughts about this plant?

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cjwatson(Z8 FL)

I am not growing the japonicus because it prefers a cooler summer than I can provide. But I do grow Gastrochilus acutifolius, dasypogon and formosanum. While the formosanum is a tiny vining type of plant taht needs to be mounted, the other two are very much similar to japonicus in appearance and culture (but a bit warmer growing). I grow these two in 3" clay pots in an open mix of bark, perlite and charcoal, dry between waterings, bright indirect light, good air circulation and a reasonable amount of humidity.

Hope you can glean a few bits out of this that will helpful.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 9:54PM
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aachenelf z5 Mpls

This is one of the cutest plants on the planet IMO, but I've had problems with it too. I received a piece from a GW member a couple of years ago and at first it seemed to do really well potted. Then it went into stall mode. When I took it out of the pot, most of the roots were gone. Fortunately the plant still looked to be in good shape.

For repotting, I finally settled on using one of my square basket thingies I make from the plastic waffle grating we use in our drip trays. I made a tiny one about 1 1/2 inches square, mounded some sphag in it and put the plant on top. Right now it's growing lots of new roots, so I hope this works long-term.

Like I said, this plant is absolutely adorable in and out of bloom. Well worth the effort.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 4:24AM
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This is great info and very helpful. I think I am going to take the plunge and order one.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 1:04PM
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cjwatson(Z8 FL)

Good for you, Richard! Oak Hill has mature plants at a very reasonable price.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2008 at 1:35PM
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