Stelis cuculata

Stelis cuculata is one of our most floriferous orchids and produces long sprays of flowers from all leaves both young and old as we approach Christmas.

The flowers are small but beautiful with pale cream sepals surrounding its tiny deep red petals and lip.

Stelis cucullata is found in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Venezuela where it grows in wet forests from 100-1500m altitude indicating that the species is more warmth tolerant than most of our Stelis species, making this an easy species in cultivation.

At Isle of Portland Orchids we grow plants in pots and baskets in our Cloud Forest greenhouse (minimum 12C) although it would grow warmer. Our plants originate from a donation of plants from a Costa Rican orchid enthusiast in the early 1990s – he was being posted from Costa Rican Embassy in London to somewhere unsuitable for his beloved orchid collection – and it is lovely that 30 years on his Stelis plants are still doing well.

The plant shown here is a plant one year after division and we will grow trhis on for about five years before dividing it again. We find that when dividing Stelis species that the plants appreciate being split dow to about three to four leaves. Split smaller they tend to get knocked back producing smaller leaves, and spliting into larger clumps missed the opportunity to give them a good fresh start surrounded by clean fresh bark ideal for new roots.