Growing Coelogyne Orchids

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Growing Coelogyne Orchids

Coelogyne - pronounced - see lodge nee
8 - 25 C (40 - 80 F)

Coelogyne are in the main cool growing species and hybrids but some will tolerate intermediate conditions without harm. A great many of them come from India and the Himalayas where they grow along side Pleione orchids in cool mountain regions that experience dry cool winters and heavy rainfall during monsoon months.

This natural growth pattern is what gives us the clue about their cultivation in the home or greenhouse as some of them will not flower unless they receive a break from watering and are kept very cool in the winter. 

Light requirements

Coelogyne appreciate high light levels to allow them to build up their food source in the pseudobulbs, this high light level will also produce well formed and compact plants. Although they like high light levels they should not be placed in direct strong sunlight near to the glass as the leaves may become scorched - use some form of white wash or mesh curtain to take the harshness out of the sunlight.
Coelogyne massangeana

left: Coelogyne massangeana

Watering requirements - see note below

As mentioned earlier, many of the Coelogyne need a break from watering (rest), typically this should be from late October through till March. During these months it is advisable to keep them almost dry and water them very sparingly (if at all). If your greenhouse has a moist atmosphere then you may not have to water them at all but if the atmosphere is very dry or if you are keeping them in a centrally heated house (in a cool room) you should water them very lightly every 6 weeks, this may take the form of moderate spraying with clean water rather than actually watering the plant. The idea here is to keep them from totally drying up and dying whilst not giving enough water to encourage them in to growth.

From March through till October these plants like plenty of water and this should be given every 7 to 10 days depending on the temperature - the warmer it is the more they will use - the cooler it is, the less they will use. Start by giving their first watering after they have flowered or when new growth is around 1/2 inch high.

Feeding requirements

The plants are moderate feeders and a general purpose plant food can be applied from April to September at 1/4 the pack recommendation Flush the pot out once a month with clean water to remove any unused plant food and salts which can build up in the compost and harm the roots. During late August and September you should water with a higher potash feed which will encourage the current years bulbs to harden and produce more and bigger flowers the following spring or during winter for winter flowering types.

Re-potting schedule

The plants should never be over potted as this can cause excess water to be retained in the pot causing some stagnation of the compost. Use a medium grade compost and repot every April after flowering or alternatively allow them to grow in to large specimen plants and repot every 2 to 3 years.

Note on watering, temperature and flowering of commonly grown Coelogyne
Name Temperature Flowering Rest
Coelogyne cristata Cool Jan/Feb Yes
Coelogyne massangeana Cool/Intermediate May/June Partial
Coelogyne pandurata Cool April/May Yes
Coelogyne ochracaea Cool Jan/Mar Yes
Coelogyne mooreana Cool/Intermediate Feb/April Partial

Here's some useful equipment you may need with summer on the horizon
Thermometers | Thermostats | Humidity Gauges

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