Let’s start a new trend: instead of “puppy in a purse,” why not bring your miniature orchid along for the ride? Do I have any takers? No? Okay - let’s table that idea for now. Perhaps I’ll convince some of you by the end of this blog.
Plants come in all shapes and sizes, but today we’re focusing on those that do not take up as much space in the spotlight. Miniature orchids pack a lot of culture into a confined space. That’s good news for collectors and hobbyists like us because it allows us to fit that many more in our limited growing spaces at home. That means more variety, more flowers, and more fun!
In the event that there is little horizontal space left to place these plants in your home, these minis make cute candidates for mounting as well. We just so happen to have various sizes of cork mounting slabs available, as well as pre-made mounting kits.
For this lineup of ‘featherweight photosynthetics’ - I may be exaggerating a little there - I’ve chosen six warm-growing orchids that vary in shape and growth habit, so that each plant on this list offers a unique quality of its own. Aside from the catch-phrases and size comparison photo-ops, take a look at each plant’s description and how it varies from the rest.
- Angraecum pseudofilicornu - Talk about unique, the leaves of this miniature orchid remind me of extra-thick pine needles. This compact grower is happy growing in a charcoal mix, but would do just as well on full display on a slab mount. An added bonus with this species: this Madagascar native produces blooms in spring that are both fragrant and long-lasting. If I see that on the menu, you’ll hear me yelling, “Pour me a cup of Angraecum pseudofilicornu!" (Note: This is the only plant out of all the miniatures I am featuring that we don't have our own photo of the open flower yet, feel free to Google the plant and see what it looks like in bloom!)
- Cattleytonia Why Not (Yellow Form) - Want a small plant with a big attitude? This yellow-flowering form may be the one for you! These orchids stay small but produce larger, rounder, and thicker flowers than typical Why Nots by having twice the genetic material. It draws a lot of attention for such a small plant - especially when you’re strutting the street & using it as a fashion statement!
- Dendrobium hekouense - This miniature dendrobium hails all the way from Yunnan, China, where it grows on the bottom of tree branches. So it will feel right at home - you guessed it - mounted on a cork slab! Simply provide filtered light and cool to intermediate temperatures, and this little treasure may treat you to its mysterious black-white-and-pink blooms in the fall. Two fast nickels may be better than a slow dime, but neither are better than Dendrobium hekouense!
- Laelia dayana - Don’t let the small size fool you, this plant will produce beautiful purple flowers with a striking fuchsia lip. This miniature Brazilian species adds a cattleya to the collection without breaking the bank. For a small plant, it’s got a big ego - I’ve heard it wears sunglasses indoors!
- Neostylis Lou Sneary - Don’t let its compact size fool you - this Neo hybrid is both tough and beautiful. In the summer, the pink and white flowers delight with a 24-hour a day fragrance. This seed grown re-make (of what is arguably the most popular Neofinetia hybrid of all time) is a must-have for any collector. Get one soon though, a little birdie told me these are flying off the shelves!
- Aeranthes caudata ‘Green Dragon’ - If you’re interested in a plant that is miniature now, but will grow up in time, perhaps this Angraecoid is what you’re looking for? Aeranthes caudata is the orchid that keeps on giving, with new flower buds produced on the same spike with each new bloom season. Like a cold can on a hot day, it’s refreshing to see a spike that flowers so much!
These six plants are sure to be wonderful additions to your home growing, without requiring much extra ‘spring cleaning’ to get them to fit. Whether potted up next to new neighbors or hanging on a fresh cork slab mount, I’d love to see how these plants fit into your personal collections, so feel free to tag us @orchidweb in your Instagram posts.
If you made it to the end, I owe you a round of applause - either for appreciating my puns or simply bearing with them. In either case, with that said, I leaf you be.