Cyrtochilum fractum

Cyrtochilums (or is it Cyrtochila) differ from other Oncidiinae by having a lip which is somewhat triangular and smaller than other segments of the flower. Cyr. fractum grows naturally in Ecuador and Peru in the Andes at between 6000 – 7500 feet, winding it’s slender inflorescences up through tree branches for support.

One of my two 12 X 8 greenhouses is dedicated to about 200 Odontoglossum related plants along with a few Cymbidiums and Pleurothallids. These plants thrive on fresh cool air so my biggest problem is keeping them cool. Between end March and end September there is no heating, the door and windows remain open with aluminium weave shading externally. The door has a screen to prevent the local pheasant gang from entering and causing havoc. During winter I maintain 8 – 10 °C with the house closed except on days when the outside temperature is 10°C or above when I open up to allow fresh air. A Hotbox Mistraal fan circulates 900 cubic meters of air hourly all year. Plants grow in a mix of bark, moss, and perlite in varying proportions according to need. Every morning I spray everything, drenching in summer, and as I use clay pots they absorb this moisture to help maintain humidity and keep the roots cool. Under bench sprays operate several times a day in summer so humidity rarely drops lower than 50% but is usually between 65% – 85%. In summer plants are watered individually every 4 days (10 days in winter) with rain water. I use a variety of fertilizers because I believe varying the nutrients is beneficial. I alternate between Akearn’s rain mix, Orchid Focus, Maxicrop seaweed extract, and various Chempak formulae. Plants in this group like to go to bed wet, so during my 6 week absence last summer they seemed to relish my timed overhead drenching sprays. Richard Baxter