Chasing New Miniature Orchid Flowers in My Race Against Time to Try & Pollinate my Aerangis macrocentra!

New Miniature Orchid Flowers

I’ve taken pictures of a few of my miniature orchids to show you the plants that I’ve been focusing my attention on this week.  Currently, my main preoccupation has been to be poised and ready to pollinate my Aerangis macrocentra plants, in the hope that the last remaining flower of my first plant to bloom survived long enough for my second plant’s first flower to open.  However, I won’t be disappointed if my pollination attempts are unsuccessful, as these plants are both young and I’ve found that orchids need a certain strength and stamina to flower and develop seed pods.

In other news, I’ve been utterly entranced with the first flowering of this diminutive Ceratostylis pristina plant!  I propagated this little plant a couple of years ago by dividing a larger Ceratostylis pristina specimen – a plant I’ve been growing for at least six years.

Ceratostylis pristina

This dainty little plant is an orchid called Ceratostylis pristina; this miniature epiphytic orchid species from the Philippines.

I’ve propagated this Ceratostylis pristina orchid by dividing it; dividing plants is a quick and simple method to increase the number of plants you have.  The only downside with propagating plants in this way is that you’re creating plants that are exact genetic clones of their mother plant and orchid collections created from divisions, cuttings and keikis lack the genetic diversity and natural resilience that seed sown plants contribute.  These methods of vegetive propagation (using asexual methods to propagate a plant – divisions, keikis, and cuttings) are the perfect options to use if you wish to propagate a hybrid orchid plant or you want to raise a few plants of a particular orchid species.  Vegetative propagation methods such as these have a huge advantage in that you don’t need to use an orchid lab to create new plants.

Ceratostylis pristina produces these fabulous, crystalline flowers that glisten in the sunlight.

When plants produce seed they have the opportunity to produce a greater number of plants at once.  Each seed sown plant will be the same species but genetically different with varying attributes and characteristics; these differences may not be noticeable to us but this doesn’t make their qualities any less vital, despite their lack of instant visibility.  Over time, seed-sown plants can become more adapted to their surroundings and the differences between each seed sown plant allow opportunities for greater resilience to pests and diseases and the potential to survive all manner of challenges that plants currently face, including climate change.

I propagated this orchid over two years ago – it’s a division taken from a larger plant that I’ve been growing and flowering for a number of years.
This is Ceratostylis pristina, a gorgeous miniature epiphytic orchid. I propagated this plant over two years ago, so I was excited to see these flowers, as it’s the first time that this little plant has flowered. Pictured on the 29th November 2021.
Ceratostylis pristina flowers are devastatingly beautiful but their appeal is purely visual, these blooms don’t produce any scent that I can detect. Pictured on the 10th December 2021.
I find that Ceratostylis pristina is an absolute darling of a plant. This miniature orchid flowers regularly – these Ceratostylis pristina flowers are pictured on the 10th December 2021.
I adore Ceratostylis pristina; this is a super-cute orchid species. This is a dainty plant that will in time grow to form a larger (but still miniature sized) specimen.

Aerangis somalensis

Here’s a picture of Aerangis somalensis in bloom inside my Tall Orchidarium. Can you spot the leaf hopper?

I was surprised to spot this leaf hopper on my Aerangis somalensis plant inside my Tall Orchidarium this week!

Aerangis macrocentra

I desperately want to cross pollinate these two Aerangis macrocentra plants. However, the first flower to open is now going over and the buds on my second plant are still developing! Pictured on the 29th November 2021.

I’m growing these two Aerangis macrocentra plants right at the base of my Tall Orchidarium.

This Aerangis macrocentra specimen’s flower production is further behind its neighbours – the neighbouring plant was already in flower whilst this plant was in bud. Pictured on the 29th November 2021.
Every day I’ve been hoping that this Aerangis macrocentra plant’s buds will hurry up and open! Pictured on the 29th November 2021.

Do you think immature Aerangis macrocentra flowers’ nectaries resemble the arms of spectacles?  I often think how much these nectaries look like the arms of my glasses when I’m viewing my photographs of these plants in bud or in flower!

These Aerangis macrocentra plants have flowered a couple of times. I’ve never been able to detect any scent from their flowers, despite examining the flowers during the daytime and at night. This miniature orchid species’ blooms are tinted with the most delicate of touches of peach. Each bloom has a long, pendant nectary.
This is a newly opened flower from my second Aerangis macrocentra plant. My close up photo can be deceiving – this is a teeny tiny bloom that a similar size to the tip of a matchstick. Pictured on the 10th December 2021.
I attempted to cross-pollinate Aerangis macrocentra flowers from these two different plants this week. The final flower of one plant was just going over as the first flower of the other plant was opening. Consequently, I doubt that my attempt at cross pollinating either of these plants was successful on this occasion. Pictured on the 10th December 2021.
I was only able to attempt to cross-pollinate one flower on this Aerangis macrocentra specimen, as the other flowers had faded by the time these blooms finally opened. Next time, if the two plants’ blooming times don’t coincide perfectly, I can get around this by freezing some of the pollen from the first plant to bloom, this will give me a greater chance of being able to cross-pollinate at least one of these orchids successfully. Pictured on the 10th December 2021.

A few years ago, I briefly debated whether to try freezing some of my orchid pollen, as a strategy to help me cross-pollinate my plants; I swiftly discounted the idea at the time, as I didn’t have a burgeoning array of plants to choose from and I did not want to take the chance of destroying my plant’s flowers and pollen unnecessarily.  Earlier this year, my friend Zane suggested storing orchid pollen in my freezer and told me success stories of orchid growers I know who use this technique; It’s amazing what you can learn from other people.  I love to share my knowledge of plants, hence my reason for writing my blog.  Both Zane and I are members of the Orchid Society of Great Britain, if you’re interested in orchids, why not join up and become a member?  What could be a better Christmas gift for a friend or family member who loves orchids?

Close up photographs more clearly show the silky-satin appearance of Aerangis macrocentra flowers. Pictured on the 10th December 2021.

To head straight to the next update I’ve written about these Aerangis macrocentra orchids, please click here.

Here’s a closer look at one of this Aerangis macrocentra specimen’s silky-looking flowers. Pictured on the 10th December 2021.

For gardening advice for December, please click here.

For ideas of fantastic free-flowering miniature orchid species, please click here.

For more ideas of floriferous orchid species, please click here.

For information on how to grow and re-flower Phalaenopsis, please click here.

For ideas of long-lasting, dependable houseplants, please click here.

For articles about terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.

For more houseplant ideas and inspiration, please click here.

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