Thursday, February 24, 2011

Trip Report and Plant Find: Orchids at Calvert's Plant Interiors

First I have to say that this post marks my 200th!  That's quite a few posts, I must say.  I started the blog back in July 2007.  I have posted regularly at times and then taken breaks of a month or two, but somehow I have managed to write 200 different posts without repeating a lot of information or plants.  Now, on to the orchids...

On Saturday, Christie and I went to the Baby's-R-Us store in Oklahoma City to do some pre-registry reconnaissance.  Across the street from the store was a nursery that I had never visited before, but had been recommended to me by a friend.  I wasn't expecting much out of the place based on the exterior.  But inside I found a really cool nursery, especially for it's small size.

There just aren't very many nurseries in Oklahoma that have tropical plants for sale.  I assumed this small place wouldn't have much to offer, but I was wrong.  Their whole inventory was tropical and they even had some unique Aroids - large, rosette Anthuriums, and smaller Anthuriums in bloom with several different spathe colors.

There was a Calathea for sale that I almost purchased, but it was trumped by the value orchids which I found a couple of minutes later.  It seems that Calvert's specializes in installing and maintaining plant displays for businesses.  From what I gathered, they buy a lot of tropical plants wholesale and then arrange them, set them up and maintain them for their clients.  Most of their orchids had tags from Kalapana Tropical Orchids in Hawaii.  Calvert's adds value to the orchids by making very creative displays and then replacing the orchids out when they are out of bloom.  The orchids that are "bloomed out" are called "homeless" and sold for $5 - regardless of size.  There were some small Phalaenopsis and Dendrobiums for $5 and there were large Cymbidium orchids which were bursting out of 1 gallon pots, also for $5.  How could I pass up this offer!?!

Cymbidium NOID
I ended up purchasing 3 orchids: a Cymbidium (pictured above), a Dendrobium and a Brassolaeliocattleya.  The Cymbidium had recently produced two tall bloom stalks, but they had both finished.  I kind of like the look of this orchid even when it's not blooming.  The long, straplike foliage resembles an Iris.  I found a couple of expired blooms that had fallen between leaves in the pot.  One gave a pretty good representation of the color and the other, larger bloom shows the shape better.

Spent blooms of my Cymbidium
Brassiolaeliocattleya is an intergeneric hybrid made from the naturally-occurring genera of Brassavola, Cattleya and Laelia.  It was the only orchid with a tag in the pot, and it reads "Blc. Golden Tang."   After finding some pictures online I see that this is a primarily yellow bloom, somewhat reminiscent of a Daffodil.  Some of the pictures are almost entirely yellow, while others have a greenish cast to the petals and a vibrant pink center.  Thankfully, this is not a really frilly flower like the flowers of one of its parent genera - Cattleya.  Those really just aren't my style.

Brassiolaeliocattleya 'Golden Tang'
The Dendrobium I purchased was just finishing it's bloom cycle, but it looks like I will still get to enjoy another week or two of the blooms before they are entirely gone.  Also, since this plant was still in bloom, I knew that I liked the color and shape of the blooms, which is a big bonus.  At $5, I was comfortable buying an orchid without knowing what the blooms would look like, but it was even better to buy one I knew that I liked.

Tall and skinny Dendrobium in bloom
I noticed something unusual with my white Dendrobium that bloomed recently, and it happened with this Dendrobium as well.  Regardless of the orientation of the blooming spike, the blooms almost always align themselves with gravity, so they are "right side up."  One of the blooms on my white Dendrobium was rotated 90 degrees, which was puzzling.  I wondered if maybe the plant had been tipped on its side when that bloom opened or something, but I know that it hadn't.

This Dendrobium has several blooms right next to each other on the spike that are oriented 90 degrees, 45 degrees of even 180 degrees different than the adjacent blooms.  Maybe this is common in Dendrobiums, but I found it to be a weird feature.

Dendrobium blooms - notice the different orientation


  1. What a find! When I decide to try my hand at orchids again, I will have to make a trip there. Your blooming orchid is beautiful! :)

  2. Thats a great deal! I just bought myself two orchids to give them a try in the greenhouse. I have only ever tried phalenopsis and I think a paphiopedilium when I was a kid. I have killed them all. This time I will make a much more concerted effort.