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Question about Schomburgkia undulata

This is a discussion on Question about Schomburgkia undulata within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I saw this orchid on Sunday and was blown away by its beauty. I really ...

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  1. #1
    gardenguysorchids's Avatar
    gardenguysorchids is offline Don't be afraid to color outside the lines
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    Default Question about Schomburgkia undulata

    I saw this orchid on Sunday and was blown away by its beauty. I really would love to have one but in researching it I discovered that ants love it. Apparently they are drawn to its pseudo bulbs which dry out, split open and create homes for the ants. The ants supposedly become very protective of the plant and swarm at anyone they see as a potential threat to the plant. Does anyone grow this orchid? Are ants a problem? What are the required growing conditions? It really is an awesome plant.


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  2. #2
    abiom's Avatar
    abiom is offline Senior Member
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    A friend of mine has this one.The ants pose no problem at all.He puts it in big pot under full sun.So far,the plant has flowered twice

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    lanhua is offline Senior Member
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    Bill, the ants is absolutely no problem. In the nature the bulbs are colonised by ants, I don't think in your greenhouse. I dont have any. The problem in the culture of Schomburgkia is that they need a lot of sunshine, high temperature and long dry period which bring the plat to the bloom. I saw some plants in Venezuela. The bulbs were hart like a stone and the plants grew in full sunshine. I managed just once to get flowers on my Schomburgkia.

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    Oh sounds like an orchid that would fit my conditions..... I'll ask around for one of these.

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    lanhua is offline Senior Member
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    Randy, you are right. In Singapore Botanical Garden you can see well growing Schomburgkia, not in greenhouse, outside.

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    thanks lanhua for the encouragement, i will definitely look around for one of these.

  7. #7
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    As much sun as possible. My Schomburgkias spend the summer outside where they get full sun eccept from about noon till 2PM when they get dappled shade. Winters are spent on the south side of the greenhouse again very bright. They grew great and hopefully this year I see them flower. As for the ants, that would only be in their native country. Also the Schomburgkias with hollow pseudobulbs are now classified as Myrmocophelia.

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    Stunning. I think it is worth it. Maybe the ants help it some way? So beautiful.

    Cheers,
    BD

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    Hey Bill, I have a few different species of the Myrmecophila genus and this is not a worry whatsoever. (An aside: These guys are formerly known as Schomburgkia. The ones that coexist/give homes to ants have been moved back into their own genus, Mrymecophila fairly recently. Its from Myrmecophily, meaning ant-loving)

    In the wild, ants do colonize the Myrms. Its a survival strategy for the plants. The ants protect the extremely long spikes from destruction by pests and other insects. This makes it easier to reproduce and the ants get a great shelter inside the hollow psuedobulbs. They have recently done some interesting studies and found the plants also uptake nutrients from ant colonies that exist within the psuedobulbs, basically leeching off the ants, so the ants make the plants more vigorous in the wild by providing a steady supply of minerals and whatnot. Its a really cool survival strategy.

    Only a few different species of ants will colonize these plants, and you have to have it somewhere that those particular species both exist and have access to the plants. I haven't had a problem at all with that, I don't even know if those ant species live up in our northern climates...but we both grow indoors, so its even more difficult for them.

    The other recommendations on the board are correct, they are as high light as an orchid can be. They prefer more light than even Catts. This can be tough because the plants can get ridiculous. Direct sun all day kind of a genus, I remember you did use to grow in windows, if you can you might want to put this guy in a South facing window with no shade rather than under your lights. Although a little more difficult to find, I'd also recommend starting with the Myrmecophila thompsoniana. Its the runt of this genus, the only compact plant--but the flowers are just as amazing. Its a good starter one because its size allows you to find a great spot for it to see if you can provide it the light they need, and it comes in a variety of colors. Don't let this scare you away, other than the light requirements they are easy growers. I hope this ramble helped, and that you try it out and let us know how it goes!
    Last edited by navyderek; February 18th, 2010 at 11:48 AM.

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    Thanks a million Derek. Appreciate all the info and think I will follow your suggestion about the smaller one.

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