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Orchids for the Connoisseur

With snow flying in parts of Alberta this week, winter is on its way. But fear not – as always Greenland has an incredible selection of unique and beautiful indoor plants this fall, to keep you growing all winter long. Amongst the gems in our greenhouse you will find the best selection of orchids anywhere in Alberta, including many rarities not seen outside of orchid shows and specialist nurseries.

Lady Slipper OrchidPaphiopedilum – Slipper Orchids

These tropical Asian relatives of our native lady’s slipper orchids make excellent houseplants, and many are quite easy to grow and suitable for beginning orchid growers. We have a few different types in stock:

  • Maudiae-type hybrids: vigorous and free-flowering, these grow well in lower light conditions, and make great companions for Phalaenopsis. The large flowers last at least 6-8 weeks and come in a variety of colors, from deep plum to green and white. They are compact plants and have very attractive mottled leaves, so they look great even when not in bloom. Keep the potting mix evenly moist (but never wet) and fertilize regularly at a weak concentration, especially in spring and summer.

  • Species Paphs – Parvisepalum types: these Chinese species look very similar to the Cypripediums, our native lady’s slippers. They have richly patterned leaves and like the Maudiae hybrids, are compact growers. Paph. delenatii has pink and white flowers that resemble the showy lady’s slipper (Cypripedium reginae), while Paph. malipoense has green flowers with rich red striping, and both species can be fragrant. Both of these species can be grown under the same conditions as the Maudiae type hybrids, with a bit of a cooler period in fall and winter to initiate flower buds, although Paph. malipoense will do best with a little brighter light.

  • Paphiopedilum fairrieanum – this cute species is also a compact grower, with unique flowers predominately in shades of pink and white whose petals curl upward. Easy to grow with moderate light levels and intermediate temperatures.

  • Paphiopedilum superbiens var. curtisii – some of the most attractive mottled foliage to be found on any Paph here, with large flowers in shades of plum-purple. This one can be grown with Maudiae-type hybrids.

  • A tip for all Paphs: these orchids respond very well to repotting and in most cases should be repotted into fresh media every year. They do not like decaying potting mix and will perform much better in fresh, free-draining media. We recommend Willgro Fine Media for Paphiopedilums in 4” pots and under.

Cattleya orchidCattleya
  • Frequently requested by customers, these exotic orchids are coveted for their large and often fragrant flowers.

  • Unfortunately, they are very rarely stocked by local garden centres.

  • Greenland has several different species and hybrids available, which will vary in color, shape, and size of flower.

  • In general, Cattleyas appreciate bright light as in a west or south window, and given some shade from direct sun in the summer.

  • They have a period of active growth, typically in spring and summer, and a rest period, typically in fall and winter. During the growth period they should be watered and fertilized regularly, allowing the potting mix to dry slightly in-between. While resting, watering should be reduced and fertilizer eliminated.

  • Always ensure that Cattleyas have an open, free-draining potting mix and are never in wet, soggy conditions. We recommend Willgro General Mix.

Oncidium Intergenerics
  • This huge and highly variable group includes many members, and is well-represented at Greenland currently.

  • There are varieties such as Miltassia Aztec that have large, dramatic flowers, and others that have many tiny flowers on a compact plant, such as Oncidium ornithorynchum.

  • Many of these are highly scented and will have you wishing you could buy the fragrance bottled!

  • As a general guide, grow these in moderate to bright light, water and fertilize regularly in active growth, and reduce water and fertilizer during the rest period.

  • An open, free-draining potting mix is required. Use finer grade bark mixes from Willgro for smaller plants and more coarse grade mixes for larger plants.

  • Another type that is available is Tolumnia, also known as equitant Oncidiums. These very compact plants produce large and intensely colored flowers. They must have perfect drainage and should dry out between watering. Moderate light conditions suit them well.

  • Hailing from the cloud forests of South America, these cool-growing, compact to miniature plants appreciate high humidity and are good candidates for terrarium culture, particularly under lights in a basement or cooler room in the house.

  • Sometimes called “kite orchids” for the shape of the unique flowers.

  • Keep the roots evenly moist and fertilize very lightly; pure water is preferred.

  • Sphagnum moss based potting mixes are usually the most successful.



  • There are a number of other unique orchids available in limited quantities that don’t fall into the above categories, including Epidendrum, Lycaste, Dendrochilum, Dendrobium, Sedirea, Brassavola, Bulbophyllum, and Jumellea!


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