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Stanhopea, Gongora and Similar Culture

A very unique and interesting group which comes from various regions of Central and South America.  Stanhopeas, Gongoras, and Coryanthes are loosely related to Lycaste and Zygopetalums and share much of the same plant structure.  Large firm bulbs topped with thin foliage and thick fleshy root systems.  These highly fragrant blooms are usually pendant, on either long stems or in groups emerging from the base of the plants.

While some species and hybrids may have certain growing requirements, most can be grown and flowered well with some basic care instructions.  This group is not recommended for in home growers unless you have a sunroom, since they can grow rather large.

Light: These plants prefer moderate to bright light.  Plentiful moving air should be supplied at all times and even more so in brighter light.  In the greenhouse, they require some shading to prevent their thin leaves from overheating.  Placing them outside under the shade of tall trees during the summer months is very beneficial.  Do not place them in full sun, however, or the thin leaves will burn.

Temperartures: Warmer temperatures year round (70+) will keep these in constant growth and provide more blooms year round.  However, 50-85 degrees is the range you should aim for.  Again, the warmer you keep them the more moving air they will need and also more water and fertilizer should be supplied.

Watering: We water our plants as often as 3-4 times per week in the summer, depending on growing media.  Hanging baskets grown outside may need water or at least heavy misting everyday to avoid dehydration.  In the winter, when humidity is high and temperatures are cool, avoid having water on the leaves or bacteria spotting can occur.  We use a balanced fertilizer year round on these, usually every second or third watering.

Potting: Since all Stanhopeas and similar genera flower from the base of the plants, mature plants should be grown in hanging baskets or hanging pots.  We recommend a potting media with excellent drainage but holds moisture.  Usually a very open fir bark media or a combination of sphagnum moss with other ingredients works well. Younger plants or seedlings are fine in pots.

Note: These general guidelines also work well for Coryanthes, Acineta, Stenocoryne and Bifrenaria. For other varieties, please click on one of these links:

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