classification
Order: Asparagales
Family: Orchidaceae
Subfamily: Orchidoideae
Tribe: Orchideae
Subtribe: Orchidinae
Genus:
Species:
Habenaria
grandifloriformis

THE ANGEL ORCHID

The Angel orchid - Habenaria Grandifloriformis is an exquisite orchid species from the open high-altitude grasslands of southern India. It was first described by Charles McCann and Ethelbert Blatter in 1932, and is noted for its beautiful, white bi-lobed petals which with a little imagination resemble a levitating, cloaked angel.

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Each plant can have one or more flowering stems but usually no more than five per plant. The stems tend to be no more that 12 cm high and produce one flower at the top of each stem. The blooms emerge from June to July  at the onset of monsoons.

During the growing season it usually produces just a single, heart shaped and rounded leaf which lies flat on the ground.

It is rare to come across the Angel orchid in cultivation, but when they are available it is usually as tubers. Plant the tubers approximately 4 inches deep in tall pots containing in a well drained medium. You can produce your own compost by creating a mix of 50% river sand, 40% leaf mulch and 10% vermiculite. Water well and place in a temperate, shaded environment with excellent ventilation.

You will need to water the Angel orchid regularly throughout the growing season, which will be from the spring right through to the autumn. Once the day temperatures begin to cool you will need to reduce watering down to just once every two weeks. Over the winter you will need to stop watering altogether.

The compost will need to be kept on the dry side but not so much that the compost becomes desiccated. To prevent this from happening, periodically drench the compost but allow it to dry off for a while before watering again. You can expect new shoots to emerge at the end of winter and at this point you can begin watering again, but only once every couple of weeks for the spring and then once or twice a week as required over the summer. The angel orchid thrives is nutrient poor soils so avoid feeding as you would for epiphytic orchid species. Instead apply a slow release fertilizer to the compost during the spring, and no more until the following year.

Bulley's Primrose - Primula bulleyana  The Angel orchid - Habenaria Grandifloriformis   THE ORCHID CACTUS - Disocactus ackermannii THE ORCHID PRIMULA - Primula vialii The Swaddled Babies Orchid  Naked Man Orchid - Orchis italica   THE WHITE EGRET FLOWER - Habenaria radiata

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About the Author

The 'Seeds of Eaden' website is the brainchild of professional horticulturist and multi-award winning gardener Simon Eade. After six years of study; two years 'Retail Horticulture' at Hadlow College, then four years Commercial Horticulture at Greenwich University, Simon has worked in a number of 'fields' within the industry for over twenty years. Most notably, managing the prestigious Alexandra Palace garden centre in London. Since then he has become an internationally published writer, and author of the popular 'Garden of Eaden' blog.

Simon Eade is also a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society's Banksian medal

You can contact the 'Seeds of Eaden' at gardenofeaden@gmail.com