How to grow and care for Laelia Orchids (Laelia spp) Indoors

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Laelia Orchid Care

Botanical name: Laelia spp
Subfamily: Epidendroideae
Tribe: Epidendreae
Subtribe: Laeliinae

Laelia Orchids Description

Laelia Orchids are compact, easy to grow indoor orchids grown for their large, strikingly colorful flowers.

The flowers in Laelia Orchids comprise of petals which are of a thinner texture than the sepals but both are of similar shape but the sepals are narrower. The lip (lowermost petal) is free from the arched flower.

Laelia Orchids are mostly herbs with a laterally compressed pseudobulbs. One to four leathery or fleshy leaves are born near the top of each pseudobulb. The leaves are broadly ovate to oblong.

Laelia Orchids Origin

Laelia is a genus of orchids found in areas of subtropical or temperate climate in Central and South America, mostly in Mexico from sea level to mountain forests.

Majority of Laelia Orchids grow on trees (epiphytes) and a few grow on rocks (lithophytes).

It is important to research the particular Laelia Orchid you have in order to determine its specific requirements.

The high elevation varieties of Laelia Orchids will require cooler temperatures and plenty of sunlight. Lower elevation varieties of Laelia Orchids will benefit from higher temperatures.

Laelia Orchid varieties from the tropical forests require warmer temperatures and higher humidity.

The genus is abbreviated L in trade journals. Most of the Laelia Orchids available today are hybrids. Pink, white, red and purple flowered varieties are available.

Laelia Orchids Related Plants

Laelia Orchids are closely related to the genera Cattleya and Brassavola with which they have been used extensively in hybridization.

Laelia Orchid Care

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Laelia Orchids (Laelia spp) Care Indoors

Laelia Orchid Light Requirements

Laelia Orchid grows best in bright, indirect light of at least 10 hours per day.

Keep your Laelia Orchid away from direct sunshine to avoid sun scorch on the leaves.

Regularly turn the pot to ensure that your Laelia Orchid gets adequate light on all sides to prevent lop-sided growth. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to Water Laelia Orchid

Water Laelia Orchid thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

Being tropical plants, Laelia Orchids wil experience shock if watered with too cold water. Therefore, water these orchids with water that is at room temperature.

Like other orchids, Laelia Orchids are sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water. As such water these orchids with chlorine-free water only.

Avoid wetting the foliage of your Laelia Orchid as it can lead to fungal diseases like leaf spot and powdery mildew.

Laelia Orchids are more tolerant of dry soil conditions due to the presence of pseudobulbs and their thick leaves. As such take care not to overwater them as it may begin to rotting. Read more on how to water houseplants.


Temperature for Laelia Orchids

The best temperatures for growing Laelia Orchid indoors are between 10-290C.

Warmer days and cooler night temperatures with a difference of 10-150C are ideal for Laelia Orchid. The cool nights are essential to trigger flowering.

Ensure you know which variety of Laelia Orchids you have as the higher elevation varieties require cooler temperatures.

The lower elevation varieties of Laelia Orchids require warmer temperatures.

Tropical forests varieties of Laelia Orchids will require warmer temperatures and higher humidity.

Ensure there is good air circulation as your Laelia Orchid cannot tolerate hot and stuffy conditions.

Protect your Laelia Orchid from draughts to avoid sudden changes in temperature. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Laelia Orchids

Moderate room humidity is ideal for Laelia Orchids. Where the air is too dry, set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity for your Laelia Orchid.

Do not mist the leaves of your Laelia Orchids as it can lead to fungal diseases. Check out these techniques on how to raise raise humidity for houseplants.

Occasionally clean the leaves of your Laelia Orchids by damp-wiping with a soft cloth. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Laelia Orchids

Feed Laelia Orchid every 2 weeks during the growing season with a weak solution of a balanced water-soluble fertilizer.

Withhold feeding for your Laelia Orchid during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Do not feed an orchid that is in flower.

It is better to err on the side of underfeeding than overfeeding your Laelia Orchid. Overfeeding your Laelia Orchid may result in loss of roots and thus death of the orchid.

If you overfeed your Laelia Orchid, it can also lead to vegetative growth instead of flower production. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to Repot Laelia Orchids

Laelia Orchids bloom best when they are pot-bound. Repot your Laelia Orchid only when growth begins to suffer.

Repot your Laelia Orchid when the orchid has outgrown its pot and the new growth reaches out over the edge of the pot or when the soil has broken down completely.

Basically repotting your Laelia Orchid every 2-3 years should be adequate. Repot Laelia Orchid only when new growth begins, shortly after blooming is over.

Use a pot with proper drainage holes or slits as the roots of your Laelia Orchid need good air circulation.

The pot for your Laelia Orchid should be only 1 size larger than the previous one. The best soil should be loose, free-draining, bark soil.

When repotting your Laelia Orchid, shake off excess soil and trim off any dried and shrivelled pseudobulbs. The large Laelia Orchids can be divided to propagate new plants.

How to Prune Laelia Orchids

Pruning Laelia Orchids is easy. Remove dead and diseased leaves by cutting them at the base with sharp scissors or a knife.

When flowering is over for your Laelia Orchid, cut the flower stalk 1 in. above the 3rd node from the bottom to encourage more flowers.

Laelia Orchids (Laelia spp) Propagation

Laelia Orchid propagation can be done from the pseudobulb division at the beginning of the growing season once flowering is over.

Gently split the Laelia Orchid pseudobulb into sections and ensure there are at least 3 shoots on each section.

Seperate the roots attached to each Laelia Orchid division from the mother root-ball.

Remove the old potting soil attached to the roots of the sections and place each section in the center of the pot.

Bury the roots of the Laelia Orchid section in the soil while ensuring that the bottom of the pseudobulb is level with the top of the soil.

The best pot should be about 1-2 in. larger than the pseudobulb of the Laelia Orchid section.

Ensure the pot has enough drainage holes and slits to prevent root-rot of the Laelia Orchid section.

Place the set up in a warm, shaded place until the Laelia Orchid sections have established their own roots.

Water the new Laelia Orchids lightly to enhance root development and stake each newly repotted plant to prevent it from toppling over.

Laelia Orchid Care

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Laelia Orchids (Laelia spp) Problems Indoors

Laelia Orchid brown soft leaf spots

Laelia Orchid brown soft leaf spots are an indication of leaf spot diseases.

Remove the affected leaves of your Laelia Orchid immediately to prevent further spread and treat the plant appropriately for the disease.

Laelia Orchid brown, hard, dry leaf spots

Laelia Orchid brown, hard, dry leaf spots are sunscorch marks due to exposure of your Orchid to direct sunshine.

Move your Laelia Orchid to a shadier spot or protect it from hot direct sunshine to prevent sunscorch marks.

Laelia Orchid mold on the leaves

Laelia Orchid mold on the leaves is an indication of powdery mildew disease.

Misting the leaves of your Laelia Orchid may lead to mildew growth if the water does not evaporate quickly. Ensure good air circulation for your Laelia Orchid and stop misting it.

Laelia Orchid limpy and droopy leaves

Laelia Orchid limpy and droopy leaves are caused by underwatering.

Water your Laelia Orchid thoroughly, maintain the soil consistently moist and allow only the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings but never allow the soil out completely.

Laelia Orchid dark-green leaves

Laelia Orchid dark-green leaves indicate that the orchid is not getting enough light. Laelia Orchid grows best in bright, indirect light of at least 10 hours per day.

Move your Laelia Orchid to a brighter spot where it will receive bright, indirect light. The leaves of a Laelia Orchid that is receiving the correct light should be light-green.

Laelia Orchid yellowish leaves

Laelia Orchid yellowish leaves indicate that your orchid is getting too much light.

Move your Laelia Orchid to a shadier spot. The leaves of a Laelia Orchid that is receiving bright, indirect light should be light-green.

Laelia Orchid leaf tips black and dying

Laelia Orchid leaf tips black and dying are due to the presence of chemicals like chlorine and flourides in the water or accumulation of salts in the soil.

Use chlorine-free water only to water your Laelia Orchid and flush out accumulated salts from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil for about 10 minutes until it comes out through the drainage holes.

Laelia Orchid not blooming (flowering)

Laelia Orchid not blooming (flowering) is due to two possible reasons.

One possible reason for Laelia Orchid not blooming (flowering) is too little light. Move your Laelia Orchid to a brighter spot and ensure it is receiving bright, indirect light for at least 10 hours per day.

The second possible reason for Laelia Orchid not blooming (flowering) is overfeeding which can result in vegetative growth at the expense of flowers production.

Feed your Laelia Orchid once monthly with a weak solution of a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.

Is Laelia Orchid (Laelia spp) toxic?

Laelia Orchids (Laelia spp) are non-toxic to both humans and pets. They are safe to grow indoors.

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