Coelogyne cristata

We have seenCoelogyne cristata in the wild in Sikkim and Darjeeling, India. It grows on trees and rocks at an altitude of around 2000m above sea level. It always grows with thick moss indicating a love for damp conditions. We keep our plants wet in the summer and damp in the winter. Its altitude gives cool winters with a minimum around 6-10 0C and so we grow the species both in our Himalayan greenhouse (minimum 7C) 

We took the photograph showing it growing in the forest near Tinkitam, Sikkim – on a mossy tree trunk.

To be honest, I am fed up with seeing wrong advice for growers (even in the RHS Garden magazine) that plants need a dry winter rest – this information has been repeated from old books clearly written by people who have not observed plants in habitat. Wild plants do not have shrivelled pseudobulbs at the end of the ‘dry season’ because they only grow in spots where the dry season is damp, such as this mossy tree in Tinkitam. So don’t let bulbs shrivel in cultivation over the winter. Saying this, the flowers can easily be damaged by water and so we avoid spraying them with the hose and reduce watering when the flowers are out.

The species has an Award of Garden Merit from the RHS and makes a wonderful windowsill orchid (again despite what is written in the RHS Garden magazine), as our windowsill plant photographed shows.