Common Name: Two-edged Laelia, El Toro (Mexican name)
Habitat: Laelia anceps is native to eastern Mexico and rarely in Honduras and Guatemala and grows from 500 to 1500 meters in elevation in mixed pine-oak forest and coffee plantations.
Plant Size: Medium. Oval pseudobulbs of Laelia anceps are topped with one thick, long, leathery dark green leaf. It is a vigorous grower and creates impressive specimens with time. The growing season is April through November.
Flower Size: 2 1/2 to 4 inches (6.25-10 cm)
Flower Description: Fragrant. The star-shaped flowers of Laelia anceps are long lasting. Three to six flowers grow at the end of a 2 to 4 foot (60-120 cm) long arching flower stem. Flower color ranges from lavender to pink and white. There are "blue" forms available. Was the flower buds during formation to prevent them from sticking together.
Bloom Season: Fall, Winter. Some plants bloom at Christmas time.
Growing Temperature: Cool to Warm. Laelia anceps needs cool night temperatures in winter. Tolerates temperatures down to 32 F (0 C).
Additional Information: Great for the beginner. Laelia anceps is a widely collected, easy-to-grow species from Mexico. Its ability to tolerate a wide variety of growing extremes and attractive flowers has made it popular with collectors. California orchid collectors even grow Laelia anceps outdoors in frost-free areas along with Cymbidiums.
Plants tolerate extremes of heat and cold. Plants grow well mounted on tree logs or cork plaques or in pots with a coarse, open media. Provide bright light (2000-3500 foot-candles) and good air circulation year-round. Increase shade and humidity during extreme heat (temperatures near 100 F). Keep on the dry side during the winter dormancy period. Repot when the potting media breaks down or the plant grows over the edge of the pot. The best time to do this is after flowering in the spring before new roots begin to grow.
In subtropical areas, Laelia anceps can be naturalized on trees in the garden. Oaks, jacarada, palms, citrus, fiejoa, dracenias, and white birch are good choices. Avoid mounting on pine trees. Plants should be tied or stapled to trunks and branches. Water mounted plants daily during spring through fall.
There are several forms of Laelia anceps available. All have the same long, graceful flower spike with attractively colored flowers. There are alba (white), semi-albas (white with a pink lip), striped (var. striata), and blue (var. veitchiana) forms. Some California nurseries specialize in this species.
Synonyms: Amalia anceps, Amalias anceps, Bletia anceps, Cattleya anceps, Laelia barkeriana