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What's Blooming in NYC: DECEMBER

Most Aerangis species are spiking and/ or budding. Most Angraecum species and hybrids are also budding (most notably the famous Angraecum sesquipedale, the “Star of Bethlehem” that blooms in December). 


In the Cattleya Alliance: Brassavola nodosa and its hybrids. Prosthechea (Encyclia) cochleata; Guarianthe skinneri; Cattleya trianae and its hybrids; other Catts including LC Jalapa, LC Sparkle Spot; Sophronitis hybrids; Cattleytonia hybrids; Laelia anceps and other Mexican Laelia species & hybrids.


Oncidium Alliance species and hybrids, including Onc. Sharry Baby, Onc. Twinkle; Onc. sotoanum/ornithorhyncum, Onc. cheirophorum, Onc. maculatum. Also Odontoglossum/Oncidium complex hybrids such as Beallaras, Colmanaras, Vuylstekearas. Oncidium Wildcat.


Paphiopedilum fairieanum, Paph. sukhakulii, Paph. wardii; Paph. Maudiae, and Maudiae-type Paph species and hybrids. Cool-growing species Paph. insigne and Paph. spicerianum, and complex hybrid Paphs are spiking and budding as well.


Many orchids bloom all the time or any old time. They can be quite welcome in a small collection, especially at times of year when flowers are especially a treat. These "everbloomers" definitely include: Cattleytonia Why Not; Encyclia cochleata; Howeara Lava Burst; Masdevallia Marguerite; Neostylis Lou Sneary; Odontocidium (Colmanara) Wildcat; Paph. Maudiae; Phalaenopsis equestris and most mini-multifloral phal hybrids derived from it; Psychopsis papilio; most minicatts, including hybrids like SLC Pink Doll.





A surprising number of species and hybrids flower in the winter.

Most Angraecums including Ang. didieri, Ang. leonis, Ang. eburneum, Ang. sesquipedale, and hybrids, are still blooming. Aerangis biloba, Aerangis citrata and Aerangis rhodosticta also should be putting on a show.

Cool-growing Paphiopedilum species such as Paph. fairieanum and Paph. sukhakulii, and complex hybrids of the large waxy "bulldog" type are reaching peak bloom, along with many Maudiae-type hybrids.


Spring-blooming Phalaenopsis that might have spiked early, in late October, are budded or even blooming. Older spikes on multifloral mini Phals may slow down as new spikes are developing.

Vandas and their relatives are spiking for spring display. Ascocentrums may already be in bud. Neofinetia hybrids like Neostylis Lou Sneary, may bloom any time but appreciate a cool spell in the fall to create winter blooms. Rhynchostylis gigantea and hybrids are budding before their big spring display. 


Nobile-type dendrobiums, that bloom along their older, leafless canes, should be showing buds in January. Once buds form, you may raise nighttime temperatures slightly (to the mid 50s) to speed blooming, or keep overall temperatures low to postpone and prolong blooming if you have a specific date in mind. Dendrobium atroviolaceum, Dend. aberrans, Dend. Mini Snowflake, Dend. Microchip, Dend. Roy Tokunaga, Dend. Wonder Nishii and related New Guinea Latouria hybrids will flower for months.

Many other Dendrobiums are waking up, spiking and blooming:  Dend. capillipes, Dend. loddigesii, Dend. parishii, Dend. unicum (all deciduous) and Dend. bellatulum, Dend. kingianum (and many related Australian hybrids), Dend. senile (all evergreen) among others. Mist them well, but don’t water them, until buds form, at which point you can start watering them again, more frequently as root tips reawaken. The pseudobulbs of Dend. aggregatum and Dend. jenkensii should shrivel slightly. 

Big fluffy Cattleya percivaliana, Catt. schroederae and Catt. trianae all have strong winter-flowering influence on their hybrids, and are budding.


“Any time” bloomers include Oncidium Alliance hybrids like Beallaras, Colmanaras and Wilsonaras. Tolumnias also flower much of the year. Bulbophyllums and many Pleurothallids will bloom on newer growths. Mini catts may be blooming on growths that ripened in the late fall.


Numerous Cattleyas are budding, including large standard hybrids derived from Catt. mossiae, such as C. Irene Finney and C. J.A. Carbone; compact SLC Hazel Boyd and SLC Jewel Box and similar 2x yearly blooming hybrids. Check sheaths around spikes, to make sure they are not too dried out or tough for spikes to break through.


Guaranthes (Central American former Catt species) are also spring bloomers: G. aurantiaca , G. skinneri, G Guatemalensis, and their hybrids.

Look for spikes on BC Maikai, BLC Momilani Rainbow, Epicatt Rene Marques, LC Mari’s Song, SLC Hazel Boyd.

Related species & hybrids that bloom in spring are spiked or budded: Epidendrum porpax; Oerstedella centradenia; rupicolous Laelias, including L. blumenscheidii, L. flava, L. rubescens.

Standard and mini Cymbidiums should be in bud. Maintain cool temperatures so flowers open slowly and reach maximum size, and best color (in pinks and reds).


Slender, pendant cane-type Dendrobium species (D. anosmum, D. loddigesii, D. parishii, D. pierardii) should show buds on the very short spikes along the leafless nodes of their older canes. Maintain the rest periods of other deciduous Dendrobiums a bit longer. Some, such as D. capillipes, D. bellatulum and D. senile should be showing bud formations as swellings at the nodes (old leaf axils) of the stems; D. lindleyii should be spiking. In this case, increase spraying of the plants but do not drench-water until new growth also appears.


Dendrobium kingianum and related evergreen Australian species and hybrids are at their best. If all you got was keikis (little offshoot plants) instead of flowers, you probably kept the plant too warm over the winter.

New Guinea Latouria section hybrids such as Dend. Micro Chip, Dend. Mini Snowflake, and Dend. Roy Tokunaga are spiking and blooming. Evergreen phal-type Dendrobium hybrids are in bloom or bud.


Oncidium Catatante, Onc. Wildcat, Onc. Twinkle, Onc. Sharry Baby, and other Oncidium Alliance hybrids will soon be in their glory, blooming on their ripened fall growths. 


Complex hybrid Paphiopedilums (with plain green leaves and large, waxy flowers) are blooming. Keep the plants cool (nights 55F, days no warmer than 80F) so the flowers will last as long as possible. Red-toned hybrids will be more brilliant in cooler temperatures. Greens and yellows will fade if they receive too much light, but don’t make the plant suffer in the dark for the sake of the long-lasting flower; cut the blooms if you want to keep the plant in full growth, and they will last almost as long in water as on the plant.

Large multifloral Paph hybrids derived from species like P. haynaldianum, P. rothschildianum and P. philippinense are in spike and bud, and should bloom soon.


Phragmipedium species and hybrids should be in bud or bloom on new spikes, that may continue to flower all spring and summer. Flowers of newer hybrids may last longer!


Large-flowered standard Phalaenopsis that spiked in November are in bud or bloom. Compact and miniature multifloral Phals in bud or bloom may be making new side branches, and growing new roots and leaves already.


Vandas are spiking and budding, including (former) Ascocentrum species (A. ampullaceum, A. miniatum) and hybrids, Neofinetia falcata, and Rhynchostylis gigantea.


Other plants spiking or budding: Baptistonia echinata; most Dendrochilum species; Lycaste species and hybrids, including Lyc. aromatica, Lyc. Skinnerii; many Masdevallia hybrids; nearly all Phragmipediums; Zygopetalum species and hybrids, including Bollopetalum Midnight Blue.

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