Laelia anceps is one of the ubiquitous orchid species to be found in a Central and Southern California orchid collection. Why? They are incredibly hardy, easy to grow, and flourish outdoors in a range of conditions. There are a plethora of colors, both from the original diverse varieties found across Mexico, and from the inter-breeding of these varieties into new color combinations. Line breeding and polyploidy (creating 4N chromosomes through chemical treatment) have taken this species in new directions. Some would say that many representatives of Laelia anceps would be more precisely considered hybrids, as they would be unrecognizable in native habitat compared to a wild form.
Laelia anceps ‘Ruborosa’ is a wild-collected cultivar … this is the original species in all her beauty! It possibly represents a unique geographic race (according to the collector who generously gave me the division).
We grow some of our Laelia anceps outdoors year-round with the Cymbidium, and they regularly see near freezing (and some below freezing) nights for up to five months of the year. Our winters are very variable; some cold and dry, some much warmer. I have frequently read that the species is cold tolerant (if roots are dry) into the low to mid 20s (-4C). I doubt that we would test these conditions; during the occasional extreme cold front, we move most of the outdoor orchid collection into the garage.
We have a few Laelia anceps from more recent breeding. I think of these as “greenhouse Laelia anceps” and do not consider them as hardy. They spend spring-autumn outdoors and move into our cool growing area (50F/10C nights) for the winter.
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My vision to create orchid portraits emerged from my appreciation for the “whole orchid.” So many photographs of orchids focus only on the flower. But orchids are not flowers: they are entire plants and living beings. Connect more deeply with the many dimensions of orchids …