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Old 05-31-2008, 08:44 AM
JLu JLu is offline
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Sobralia powellii

Sobralia powellii is not often seen because it is too big for many growers setups. One of the pictures shows the full plant with a 48 inch ruler in the background, You can see the top of the flower is 42 inches and the canes leaning to the left are are about 48 inches. It could still grow another foot.

S powellii is found from Nicaragua to Peru mostly as a terrestrial, but some epiphytic plants have been found in Peru. It grows in relative cool with a high temp of about 78F and a small diurnal range of 6-8 degrees F. The plant takes no winter rest because its habitat environment is very even all year. It takes relatively high light at 3000Fc.

S powellii produces a beautiful flower that is Cattleya-like and about 6-7 inches across. Unfortunately the flower only lasts a few hours. The one shown was not open at 6AM, the picture was taken at 10AM, and by 3PM it was dead.




Last edited by JLu; 05-31-2008 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 05-31-2008, 09:01 AM
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Beautiful.... I think I need to have a bloom that lasts a little longer! Gorgeous bloom, however. Interesting history, too. Thanks!
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Old 05-31-2008, 10:09 AM
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Thanks, patticake. The redeeming feature is that each cane produces 3-5 flowers sequentially and several canes can produce flowers at the same time. Still it's pretty short on flowering time. I like it though.
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Old 05-31-2008, 11:43 AM
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Very nice. Of my dozen and a half Sobralias, the bad neem oil killed about half and set the rest back severely. Seems mites like Sobralias, so they got a very regular dosing of the deadly neem.

One that has a longer bloom time is S. macrantha, and I know there are others that have the longer (~4 day) blooming length, just don't know which they are yet. Sobralia macratha IMG05280 photo - Admiral Schnitz photos at pbase.com


Sobralia callosa is a miniature Sobralia, also a one day wonder, but much more appropriate to small growing areas. Here is my plant when I was using the neem. It has since recovered nicely and just recently had 6 flowers open at one time, of better form, and is a much fuller plant. It is mounted, as are most things from Andy's Orchids, where I got this. Lots more blooms coming on this guy. Sobralia callosa plant IMG09781 photo - Admiral Schnitz photos at pbase.com
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Old 05-31-2008, 12:38 PM
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I use Floramite for mites. It works great and lacks the phytotoxity characteristics of Neem Oil. It's also relatively non-toxic to humans. People seem to like Neem because it's "natural" but it has a long history of being a risky product for plants of all types. Frequently it's phytotoxic characteristics only show up in certain conditions of heat, sunlight, plant growing stage,etc, so it can be used with success and suddenly cause a bad reaction. The bad reactions seem to be unpredictable.

Nice Sobralias!! I'd like to have more.
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Old 05-31-2008, 01:05 PM
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Beautiful plant and a neat story about it's size and the blooms. Thank you for the post and the pictures, I enjoyed reading about it.
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Old 06-01-2008, 06:55 PM
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I have recently been wondering how common a lot of the bigger orchids are in cultivation. It is really nice to see one and see it happy and blooming. too bad each bloom is so short lived.
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Old 06-01-2008, 07:18 PM
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I think there are many people growing Sobralias, those with greenhouses and those with sun rooms. In California, a lot of them can be grown out of doors. My sister-in-law in Glendale, California got a taste for them, with my encouragement no doubt, and is happily growing a number of them outdoors. I think she pulled them into the garage on the worst nights, as they do get frost there. I currently have them all outdoors (<20% humidity) where they are getting morning sun at about 60% direct sun. I will have to see how they manage when we get up to 100F.
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:57 AM
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Cynthia and JLu, thanks for posting these pics of Sobralia. They are absolutely lovely. Their short flower life makes flowering them all the more special as it requires us to appreciate the flowers while we have them and look forward to the next flowering, kind of like the special Christmas candies my sister makes only at Christmas time.

I wonder if I could grow them here in Melbourne, or if I could even aquire any.
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:24 AM
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Beautiful bloom and very handsome plant.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:33 AM
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What are the temp extremes in Melbourne? We are having such low humidity here that the Phal flowers are having very short lives, so I'll probably find out pretty quick if humidity does damage to these guys. So far I haven't seen problems, but it just might take awhile.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:57 AM
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Kevin, these are moderate temp, high humidity plants but they seem to be adaptable....very adaptable if Cynthia can grow them. She's pretty far from moderate temps and high humidity :>)

My GH seldom goes below 40%RH and mostly it's 50%+. I actually hope for low RH outside so my cooler works better. I've located my S powellii so that it sees less than 80F at nearly all times although for a few days each year (mainly August) they see 85 or occasionally 90. I do try for 60F at night (or at least as low as possible) and the plants don't mind that at all even though in habitat they probably do not go that low.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:30 PM
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Melbourne winters are cool and humid/wet. Night time lows 5-10C; daytime highs around 15C or so. Our summers are hot and dry. Night time lows around 18C or so with daytime highs as high as 35+C. Summertime humidity can be in single digits. Autumn and Spring are naturally in between.
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Old 06-03-2008, 03:04 AM
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Might be possible. I know that macrantha and xantholuca can take the cold, tho not sure about cold and wet. Next time I visit with my sister-in-law, I'll check to see what she had success with, and what died back. Need to see how the ones I have outdoors do this summer.
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Old 06-13-2008, 12:35 PM
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OK, the Sobralias doing well in my sisterIL's garden in Glendale, California (occasional frost) are S. macrantha, xantholuca, and violacea, and a hybrid, Mirabilis. Next year, after the neem oil damage is well behind me, I will probably be able to comment on a number of species that I will be maintaining in my cold frame, to about 36 F.
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Old 06-14-2008, 01:27 AM
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Thanks for that info Cynthia. I'll look for some to try.
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:08 AM
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Hello JLu,
Could you please tell me where can I buy that sobralia powellii?
I would really appreciate to get some info.
Kind regards
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:54 AM
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I do not know. You just have hunt around. You seldom see Sobralia's for sale anywhere. They are very large plants (powellii is about 4 feet tall and it's a small Sobralia) so they do not fit the modern home grower environment very well. They also require very bright light.

Their other downside is that the flowers last much less one day. This one opens fully about 10 AM and is going away by 4. I now have a new Sobralia, the species totally escapes me at the moment. It's more like six feet tall and is said to have even bigger, better flowers than powellii. We shall see if they last any longer.
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