I bought this plant as a single growth from Willi Kenntner at his nursery in Germany, in 2001. It has kept going reasonably well but it has taken ten years for it to make more than one growth per season, probably because it’s hot-growing and my greenhouse isn’t quite hot enough for it. I keep it at 70F minimum by day, dropping to 60F minimum by night although it did fall to 38F one night in the winter when the heating cut out!
It is native to the countries nearest to the equator in South America, extending as far south as Bolivia, where it grows near lowland rivers as an epiphyte. Even in these situations there are distinct wet and dry seasons so in nature, it is semi-deciduous. I always dry mine off in the winter and it becomes totally deciduous; it gets no more watering until the new growth(s) are clear of the compost in about late March. Watering is done very carefully at first, ensuring that no water gets into the new growth. Similarly with feeding – a little when growth is speeding up, then regularly as the growth matures and flower spikes develop.
The flower spikes are usually terminal and carry about half a dozen flowers per cluster (although this year with extra vigour there are 9 or more). These last about a month before falling, when new buds will be seen in the same cluster, which in turn will take 2 or 3 weeks to expand. This alternation will keep going till the leaves start to yellow in the autumn so the flower spike is not cut off until it’s clear that no more buds are forthcoming.
The chief pests to watch out for are spider mites but if a high humidity can be maintained during the growing season it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Nonetheless, some suitable anti-bug spray should be kept handy. Ted Croot