With many of the Sarcochilus orchid species being native to Australia, these are naturally either epiphytic or lithophytic depending on species.
Many hybrids are offered for sale along with a number of desirable species.
Flowering from spring to summer and producing long racemes of flowers they are best grown where they can ‘show off’ by hanging down at eye level
Found from Queensland through NSW to Tasmania they are a varied group and have been highly hybridised to produce some spectacular flowers.
A popular species in cultivation is Sarcochilus hartmannii (pictured top right), and with its wonderful flowers this is understandable. Well suited to pot culture although in can be grown as a mounted specimen. Sarcochilus fitzgeraldiior the ‘Ravine Orchid’ is another.
Sarcochilus ceciliae will take more light than some and the fascinating Sarcochilus hillii with its small intricate flowers is worth a look. And of course the hybrids, readily available for sale.
Consider that Sarcochilus orchid are naturally found in the foothills close to the coast, they have a tendency to grow best in the gullies close to streams, cool moist forests. As you can imagine light is filtered at all times and this is requirement in cultivation. You try a 50% shade cloth, heavier in warmer parts.
Mounts can be tree fern, cork bark or similar, a medium to heavy pine bark is used in containers. These orchids do grow well in hanging baskets.
Grown as mounted specimens (best for the epiphytes) with others at home in a pot or basket these orchids like filtered light and regular moisture with a little dryer during dormancy. Fertilizer during active growth and not during winter. Good air movement is essential.
This is an orchid that will send out roots outside the pot, and this is natural, when repotting you leave them outside the new pot, or put them inside in the potting mix.
- Watering – This should be regular, moist but not wet, less in winter and more in summer. A good flush every month or so will help reduce the salt build up common with most fertilizers.
- Temperature – A range from around 8 – 28 C seems to work well, in warmer periods additional moisture will be required to help ‘cool things down’. In nature they grow in spots that would not normally be subject to frosts, so this is another requirement.
- Air Flow – this is important to help prevent fungal diseases.
- Humidity – These are4 an orchid that like some humidity, a saucer of water with pebbles which will raise the pot above the water works well.
- Repotting – Generally repotting is required every 2 – 3 years once the plant is established. Remove any dead or damaged roots and any old flower spikes when repotting.
- Fertiliser – The easiest method of fertilising is to use a slow release type fertiliser. You can also use a diluted liquid fertiliser at around 1/4 strength each week during the growing season and then once every 4 weeks in winter which should be adequate. Remember to flush out the pot with clean water once a month to remove any excess build up of salts.
If you can provide the shade and the moisture you will find Sarcochilus Orchids an easy care and rewarding species to grow.
Popular Varieties and Species.
- S. heidi This is a fitzhart x harmanii hybrid
- S. hartmannii This is a popular species that flowers from spring right through summer, found from central NSW to Queensland.
- S. australis is a widespread species found from New through to Tasmania.
- S. falcatus – The Orange Blossom Orchid, found from far eastern Victoria through NSW to Southern Queensland.
- ‘fitzhart’ – A sarc. hartmanii X sarc. fitzgeraldii hybrid
- S. fitzgeraldii Known as the Ravine Orchis found from Queensland to Northern New South Wales.
Sarcochilus orchids are available for sale from the following growers
1052 Whittlesea-Kinglake Road Kinglake West 3757
Offering a specialist variety of Australian native Ferns plus Dendrobium/Dockrillia & Sarcochilus species & hybrids in pots, loose, or mounted. Species Cymbidium sauve and maddidum.
27 Hackett Rd Three Bridges VIC 3797
Large range of Masdevallia Seedlings & Species, Zygopetalum Alliance Hybrids, Odontoglossum Alliance Mericlones, Miscellaneous Genera Hybrids, Sphagnum Moss