Sobralia macrantha

morningloree(9b)March 2, 2013

I am new to this particular forum, usually post in Florida gardening. I have been investigating Sobralia orchids and wondered if anyone has tried growing them especially in Florida. They seem to be grown by some Caifornia gardeners, and i finally found some in California. I ordered a S. macrantha alba x sib, they are known to be rather large orchids that are mostly terrestrial and habitat is in Mexico, Peru, Panama and Ecuador. I wondered why is was not grown and or available in Florida, are our growing conditions not quite right?

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Sobralia macrantha is considered a "cool growing" species, which is why it's suitable for coastal California along with Cymbidiums. Here in California, I grow them under 60% shade (I live near the coast) with average daytime temps in the mid 70s to 80s in the summer. Night temps are in the low 50s in the winter and upper 50s to low 60s summer.
Other "cool" sobralias include leucoxantha, mirabilis, Veitchii, xantholeuca and caloglossa. Macrantha can tolerate winter chill down to about 37 degrees F.

Warm growing sobralias (more suited to tropical, humid conditions) include: Sobralia bicolor, callosa, elegans, fimbriata, fragrans, powellii, and rosea.

Sobralias are terrestrial (so use a terrestrial type mix) and keep evenly watered. Needs good air circulation.

Possible reason why macrantha is not grown in South Florida is because it is a bit too hot. Same goes for its cooler kin.

You may want to try the warmer growing species. Or try macrantha as long as its "feet" are cool and moist. Give it some shade (in a shade house). If you have a greenhouse, then grow in a cool house along with paphs.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 3:33AM
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Thank you for the reply. I live a little north of Orlando and winters for us sound like yours except in January and maybe first few weeks of February we have nights in the 40's and even some nights at 35 degrees. I have the terrestrial mix and planned to place it under an oak tree that gets a small amount of morning sun. In that area I have Phaius that are successfully growing there. For some reason in Florida, Vandas, Cattlelayas, and Phals are the most popular, but for gardeners in upper 9b and 9a a cooler growing orchid should thrive. You guys in California are so lucky to have access to a variety of orchids.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 5:40PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

I have grown orchids for a long time and have never seen one at an orchid show or meeting. You have to wonder why such a gorgeous orchid is not widely grown, perhaps short lasting flowers is the reason.

Sobralia xantholeuca

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 2:43AM
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I ordered one and will let you guys know how well it does. Yes short life of flower is a bummer!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 8:26PM
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orchidguyftl(z11 FTL FL)

Many orchid nurseries in Florida just don't grow them/have them for sale because they get really large and take up a lot of space. Most Sobralias, except for the cold growing species, do really well in Florida. I am in south Florida, Hollywood area and have over 35 species and several hybrids, including 3 or 4 Sobralia macranthas. They grow and bloom very well here.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 2:43PM
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orchidguyftl(z11 FTL FL)

Some of the species that I have that love the heat here are: andreae, callosa, fimbriata, withnerii, decora, atropubescens, bouchei, candida, dorbignyana, galleotiana, gentry, kermesina, klotschiana, lancea, macrantha, rogersina, portillae, powelii, rosea, rupicola, undatocarinata, callaglossa, virginalis, violacea, warscewiczii, xantholeuca, Viethcii, Mirabilis, La Follie, and many more. if you would like some more information on these wonderful plants and also like to meet growers from Florida and around the world, please look for the Sobralias group on Face Book....

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 3:02PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

The Sobralia I purchased this spring, 'Pinkie', greeting me with a flower this morning. I don't get the bum rap they get for one-day flowers--some Sobralias have flowers that last for several days each and a 1.5-2 gal. plant can be in continuous bloom for 6-7 weeks. I imagine a larger specimen blooms for even longer. Not equal to some orchids, sure, but the foliage is attractive on Sobralias even when they are not in bloom. I wish I owned more of them.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 7:47PM
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orchidguyftl(z11 FTL FL)

Agreed. 'Pinkie' is actually a hybrid it is Sobralia Mirabilis 'Pinkie', Mirabilis is a hybrid between S. macrantha and S. Veitchii. Sobralia Veitchii is a hybrid between S. macrantha and S. xantholeuca. Sobralia xantholeuca has flowers that last for 3 - 4 days which is why hybrids with it last longer. There are a few other species whose flowers last a few days but not many. Most Sobralias do only last 1 day. The laterally flowering species tend to last about 2 days and bloom with flowers that are successively blooming so are always in bloom while blooming. Many of my Sobralias bloom for months on end. I love them because they don't last a long time. It reminds me that I do have to stop and enjoy things from time to time and not take things for granted

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 8:29PM
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When the flowers are spent on the sobralia do you cut off that bit where the flower and if so how far back do you prune it?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 11:56AM
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orchidguyftl(z11 FTL FL)

The flowers will fall off when they need to. Only cut the cane when the entire cane turns brown and all the leaves fall off. Many types of Sobralia will form keikis from the old terminal inflorescence, especially the relatives of decora. Once the entire cane turns brown, cut back to ground level

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 12:15PM
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Thank you so much I was hesitant to cut it off and could not find any information as to wether or not to cut it off.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 12:27PM
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