This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
All Coelogynes are beautiful - in fact, all flowers are beautiful - nature is not the author of anything ugly ; but she appears to combine in some particular objects more attractions than in others; the subject of these remarks is one of them. Who can look at a flower of Coelgyne cristata and be an infidel?
The flowers are produced on drooping spikes proceeding from the base of the ball. They are of a beautiful white with a yellow blotch on the lips, and will last a long time in perfection.
It is an evergreen orchid, and succeeds best in a pot, with equal parts peat and moss. Give plenty of drainage, as during its season of growth it requires an abundant supply of water, withholding as the bulbs mature. Give but little water when at rest, and keep in cool house, and by all means prevent from exciting into growth prematurely, as by doing so the flowering of the plant is often checked. Keep the leaves scrupulously clean, and encourage a good growth of bulbs and roots. Be careful to protect the latter from the depredations of woodlice, slugs, and other insects which are very fond of them. Keep a dry atmosphere during the time the flowers are open, as damp is apt to make them spot and decay soon.
" G. C." asks in December number for a few notes on the culture of Ccelogyne cristata. This plant with me is one of the easiest of all orchids to grow and flower, now that its wants are understood. It will grow well either in pots or upon blocks with sphagnum moss. If in pots it grows very luxuriantly in moss alone, without the addition of peat which is an injury to any orchid in my opinion. At least orchids have never grown well for any length of time in a potting material of which peat formed a portion, even the pure Jersey article. While in moss some large plants of Ccelogyne have been undisturbed for four years, and have now bulbs three inches long and very strong flower spikes. Good drainage is essential, as the plant after growth has fairly commenced, can hardly get too much water. My plants are set on benches covered with an inch of sand, and are watered thoroughly twice a day from the time the new growth shows until in September, when the flower spikes appear prominently from the base of the bulbs; then the supply of water is reduced somewhat as the plant goes gradually to rest, until now (December) the plants get a watering once a week if in pots and an occasional light syringing over the leaves besides.
Those on blocks will require dipping about twice a week if there is considerable moss on the blocks, which there should be. The plants should never get entirely dry or the bulbs allowed to shrivel much. One plant in ten inch pan is now showing thirty flower spikes, (very strong) and ought to give one hundred and fifty flowers. Last year it had eighty-four flowers which lasted five weeks in bloom. Five plants were taken off last spring, each of which will bloom in February. The Ccelogyne is not particular as to temperature, though in warm houses it will bloom earlier. My little orchid house 14x14 is ventilated under the benches, with slight roof ventilation. The door and ventilators are generally kept open night and day in summer except in storms. The roof is whitewashed which gets off in October and is renewed in March. In this house are grown one hundred and fifty orchids all in the best of health, and some in flower at all times. The attention given is less than is required by a general collection of plants, and the results far more satisfactory.
Kindly allow me a few words on the cultivation of the above in reply to "G. C," p. 369 This plant will thrive well in any warm greenhouse, in pots, in a compost of rough peat and moss. The pots should be well drained, so as to let the water pass quickly through the compost. If it should require potting, it is best done when the plant begins to grow. It requires abundance of water in its growing season ; in fact, should never be allowed to get dry. I have grown this plant beautifully upon blocks of wood ; also, in baskets suspended from the roof near the glass.