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Orchid family. Homeland South and Central America. Wilestekeara belongs to the genus Odontoglossum or intergeneric hybrids obtained by crossing the genera: Miltonia x Cochlioida x Odontoglossum. This plant got its hard-to-pronounce name in honor of its parent - the Flemish gardener who created it in the 19th century. The purpose of breeding is to obtain a beautiful flower for cool rooms. They have flattened oval-shaped bulbs, bearing 2 leaves, broadly lanceolate, up to 50 cm long, green. Peduncles are multi-flowered, appear from the base of the bulb. Flowers are about 5-7 cm in diameter.
Common hybrids are Vuylstekeara "Violet Wood", Vuylstekeara "Edna Stamperland", Vuylstekeara "Fall In Love", Vuylstekeara "Helmut Sang" (pictured left), Vuylstekeara Linda Isler 'Red' (pictured right).
You can also find on sale a hybrid of Vuylstekeara Cambria Vuylstekeara Cambria - which is slightly different in care, but is sold with the abbreviated name Cambria.
Wilestekeara - care and cultivation
Temperature: This orchid, unlike most others, does not like too high temperatures, maximum in summer during the day is 30 ° C, optimally about 25 ° C, at night it is necessary to drop to 16-18 ° C. In winter, you need to ensure the temperature is within 14-15 ° С, because for good flowering, the orchid needs a dormant period, from about November to January, when there is clearly not enough light during the heating season. During the dormant period, watering should be replaced by spraying.
You also need to take care that the room is constantly ventilated. One of the mistakes in grooming is keeping it year-round in a warm home environment. For flowering, an orchid needs at least a month at 14-16 ° C to stimulate flowering. Peduncles are formed on young growths.
Lighting: Wilestekara is light-requiring, but in summer it needs good shade from direct sunlight. The best place is east or northwest windows, not shaded from the street by trees. Do not place this orchid near the south or west window, it will be too hot in summer, even under shade. But in winter, the south or southwest window is the most optimal place.
On other, cooler windowsills, the orchid can be supplemented. To do this, you can use LED lamps with a conventional base (E27) - one lamp, 6-7 W, or fluorescent lamps, also with a conventional base, 15-20 W. These lamps can be screwed into a regular table lamp.
Watering: Abundant during growth in spring and summer - frequent moisture, but after drying the substrate for 24 hours. In winter, watering is very moderate, i.e. moisten the substrate, just so that the bulbs do not wrinkle too much. Water for irrigation is soft, preferably boiled.
Fertilizer: In the period from the beginning of growth to the ripening of the peduncle, they are fed with a special fertilizer for orchids in a dose half as much as for other orchids. When using fertilizers for other indoor plants, do not use nitrogenous fertilizers, you can only use fertilizers for flowering plants, while the dose is taken four times less than recommended in the instructions. Top dressing is carried out every 2-3 weeks.
Air humidity: ideal humidity is 60 to 75% with good air ventilation. Avoid cold drafts, especially after watering.
Transfer: If necessary in the spring. To protect yourself from the loss of your favorite orchid from decay, it is worth planting Wilestekeara in a mixture of pine bark, a large fraction (up to 2 cm) and any inert material (pieces of foam, rings cut from wine cork), and so that the pot stands steadily - on the bottom of it put one or two heavy stones. At the bottom of the pot, there simply must be large holes (not 1-2, but many), and it's a good idea to make holes in the walls so that the air can better penetrate to the roots. Of course, watering with such a planting by immersion, with the addition of fertilizers (special for orchids) to the water.
Reproduction: By division during transplantation. A part of the stem with aerial roots is separated from the mother plant - at least three healthy roots. The cut must be sprinkled with crushed charcoal or sulfur. Plant in bark, do not water for the first 3 days, just spray the leaves.