Lelia - the most delicate among orchids


Large-flowered and graceful Lelia is one of the most spectacular orchids. A graceful fairy with rich shades of lilac-pink shades of color, she stands out against the background of more popular species. Among the leliums there are both large and miniature plants, allowing you to find your perfect variety for every taste. And the capriciousness of the plant is often exaggerated. This is a demanding orchid that needs quality care, prefers coolness and loves fresh air. When buying lelium, it is worth considering its features, and when leaving - its own experience in dealing with these special tropical beauties.

Lelia is the most delicate among orchids.


Delicate indoor orchid Lelia - plant description

Phalaenopsis, Cattleya and dendrobiums are today represented in the orchid market in such quantities that other varieties are becoming increasingly rare. One of the plants that has been unfairly affected by the growing popularity of the simplest indoor orchids in growing is the beautiful Lelia. This is a surprisingly elegant and touching orchid with a special appearance and character.

Lelia is often confused with Cattleya. Partly, such confusion is caused by selection, because on sale almost all Lelia are represented by Cattle-like forms. But some irresponsible cataloging or lack of complete information about the plant in flower shops also often causes Lelia to be bought instead of Cattleya (and vice versa).

Lelia, like most plants from the Orchid family, which found their fame as greenhouses and indoor plants, is a tropical orchid with special requirements for growing conditions. In nature, representatives of the genus Lelia (Lelia) live in Central and South America.

Lelia belong to a modest in size, but spectacularly blooming orchids. These are mainly terrestrial species that prefer to settle on rocks and stones in nature, but among them there are epiphytes. They are sensitive to the reaction and composition of the substrate. Lelia belong to sympodial orchids. Spindle-shaped or cylindrical, sometimes stem-shaped pseudobulbs of miniature species cattle in hybrid indoor varieties change to slightly larger and more powerful ones. Bulbs are compact and tight. Usually they release one or two sheets.

The sizes of leli are directly dependent on the species. Among the plants there are miniature orchids only a few centimeters high, and there are large powerful plants, more than 50 cm in height. The leaves of Lelia are very stiff, leathery, lanceolate and linear, with a fairly large pot in bulk they look very decorative.

Without exception, Lelia belongs to winter-flowering orchids.

Flowering lelia

The bloom of Lelia is often compared with Cattleya. And if we are talking about hybrids, then the flowers, indeed, are very similar in shape and size, but still it is difficult to confuse these orchids. Even varietal Lelia, unlike Cattleya, produce long, graceful peduncles, pleasantly different from the more popular orchids, and the shape of the petals and sepals is slightly different.

The grace of this orchid makes it more valuable in terms of use in decoration and cutting. Peduncles of Lelia can reach a height of half a meter. They carry a multi-flowered brush, less often they are single-flowered. The flowers are large, with a diameter of up to 20 cm in varietal plants, they conquer with bright, not variegated combinations of color, and aroma.

For lelia, a three-lobed lip and lanceolate sepals and petals are characteristic, with a thin, pointed, most often bent elegant line tip. The bright middle of the lip is combined with pale, slightly pronounced lateral lobes, wrapped inward and a beautiful, decorated with a pattern disc or limb, crests and velvety texture.

The bright color of the petals and sepals is combined with a colorful, often contrasting lip decorated with drawings. The color palette of Lelium is shades of soft lilac-pink and warm-violet shades with delicate splashes of white, yellow and dark cherry.

Without exception, Lelia belongs to winter-flowering orchids. Flowering from December to the end of February is considered natural for them, although the timing of each orchid may vary depending on the characteristics of the created conditions.

Lelia Gould (Laelia gouldiana). Tiny Lelia (Laelia pumila).

Types of lelium for growing in rooms

A variety of basic species (and the number of scientists today determine more than seven dozen) allows you to choose a plant to your taste - with different flowers and sizes. Lelia is divided into epiphytic and terrestrial species, Mexican, Brazilian and miniature, differing in their needs for a cool wintering and tolerance of drier air.

Almost all Lelia can be grown in greenhouses. The range of indoor species is much more modest; plants are represented by the five most spectacular and least capricious species.

Lelia Gould (Laelia gouldiana) is an epiphytic species with short roots and elongated ribbed pseudobulbs capable of releasing up to 3 leaves with a length of up to 20 cm linear in shape. Peduncles up to 75 cm high are crowned with a brush of 3 to 9 flowers with a diameter of up to 10 cm with an elegant shape and strong aroma. A three-lobed lip with a bright middle lobe noticeably stands out against the background of lanceolate petals. The purple-violet color is very bright on the petals, with whitish sides on the lip and beautiful strokes and lines of the pharynx. This Lelia blooms usually in the middle of winter.

Lelia is a double-edged (Laelia anceps) - epiphyte with tetrahedral flat pseudobulbs that produce single, fairly wide leaves. The delicate pink and purple color of the petals and sepals is combined with a lip wrapped on the sides with a yellow inner color, an elongated middle lobe of a dark red tone with crests and dark strokes. The three lower sepals are narrow and lanceolate, the two lateral petals are slightly wider, wavy, textural. This plant also blooms in mid-winter.

Lelia Purple (Laelia purpurata) is a large species with club-shaped long stems, crowning with rigid single linguate leaves up to 30 cm long with a notched apex. Peduncles straight, with a cover, crowned with a brush of very large flowers. With a diameter of up to 20 cm and a strong pleasant smell, they are distinguished by a white-lilac, light color with beautiful veins, a typical division into narrow sepals and have larger rhomboid wide petals with a more intense pattern. The funnel-shaped lip is velvety, purple, with veins and a light corrugated edge.

Tiny Lelia (Laelia pumila) - a miniature view with creeping roots and univalent pseudobulbs. It is allocated only ten centimeters, fleshy and rigid oval leaves with a pointed apex. Peduncles are short, no longer than leaves, crowned with one fragrant flower with pink-purple linear-ovate petals with a wavy edge and oblong sepals. The lip of the lip is not pronounced, the lateral parts are wrapped almost in a tube, and the lilac color with a pink spot and almost white base seems very delicate.

But still, hybrid varieties of Lelia, known as Cattleya forms and sometimes even sold in catalogs in the Cattleya section, are more often found on sale.

Lelia double-edged (Laelia anceps). Lelia purpurea (Laelia purpurata).

Conditions for growing indoor bats

Among the popular types of indoor orchids, you will not find the name Lelia. This orchid is not from the "basic level", which is usually recommended only by experienced gardeners and fans of these amazing plants. The reputation of the capricious tropical princess Lelia practically does not justify. But it is still better to start it after the experience of growing not only Phalaenopsis, but also other more popular representatives of the Orchid family appears.

For Lelia, you will have to strictly control the growing conditions. Most often, the orchid requires additional exposure, which complicates the selection of a comfortable environment. Ideal conditions for this orchid are recreated only in florariums, flower showcases, orchidariums and tropical greenhouses. When grown as an ordinary indoor plant, lelium is completely dependent on care.

Lighting and placement

This is a photophilous species of orchids that does not tolerate shading, but needs to diffuse direct sunlight. The traditional flowering period of Lelia necessitates winter exposure, and this orchid without phytolamps is not recommended to be grown.

An exception is situations when it is possible to rearrange the plant on a brighter window and compensate for the usual seasonal features. But since even in the south window the duration of daylight hours in winter will not increase, it is still preferable to use additional illumination for Lelia.

The intensity and duration of lighting is critical during the growth and maturation of the shoots. For Lelia, ten hours of daylight is considered the standard.

If cherries are grown in rooms, then dwellings with stable air temperatures that do not overheat after lunch under the southern sun are chosen. Ideal for this orchid are the eastern or western windowsill.

Temperature and ventilation

Comfortable temperatures for Lelia are determined by the type of plant. There are two types of lelia that love high temperatures and all year round need indicators above 21 degrees (with the desired maximum limit of 28 degrees Celsius). This is Lelia purple and tiny. All other species and hybrid forms of lelium are plants that love coolness.

During the period of active development, they are kept in rooms where at least at night the temperature remains within the range of 16 to 18 degrees. In winter, such Lelia prefer to be in rooms with indicators of about 16 degrees during the day and 12-15 degrees at night. The temperature difference between daytime and nighttime indicators is not only welcome, but should also be as strong as possible during the rest period.

The most unexpected (and often ignored) feature of Lelia is its need for a constant influx of fresh air. The plant does not tolerate a stagnant environment, more than other orchids it needs airing. Lelia feels great in rooms with constantly ajar windows, in the warm season they can even be taken out into the fresh air in protected places.

When buying this orchid, you must definitely clarify all the information about the usual temperatures. Even species that are initially cold-resistant or heat-loving, depending on the agricultural technique of growing in a flower center, may require more specific conditions. Refining the information will allow the plant to provide proper individual care.

It is no coincidence that caring for Lelia is considered more complicated than phalaenopsis.

Caring for Lelia at home

It is no coincidence that caring for this orchid is considered more complicated than phalaenopsis. Lelia needs to ensure not only at least average air humidity, but also proper feeding and watering, which depend on the stage of its development. Careful examinations of the plant are an important part of the overall care program, which will allow you to notice problems in time.

Watering and humidity

These orchids are hygrophilous and fully justify the reputation of an exemplary tropical plant. For them, both watering and humidity should be as saturated as possible. The degree of moisture of the substrate is determined by the stage of development. During the active phase of growth of leaves and peduncles, Lelia is watered abundantly, preventing the substrate and roots from completely drying out.

During the period of preparation for flowering and after its completion, watering is limited, allowing the soil to dry out more. For Lelia, the preferred typical method of saturating the soil by immersion in water. When grown on blocks and snags in summer, watering for an orchid should be daily.

Humidity for this type of orchid should be medium or high, regardless of the season and stage of development. Frequent spraying is excellent for Lelia, although when grown in shop windows or installed humidifiers, the plant blooms much more abundantly. At the same time, lelium does not require too high humidity indicators: it blooms beautifully at average indicators, if only the plant was protected from extremely dry air, and the environment was stable.

Water quality for this orchid is very important. It is watered only with water with mild characteristics and high quality, using filtered, rain or melt water, and not just well-maintained.

Fertilizing and fertilizer composition

Top dressing is perhaps the only standard care item for this orchid. Fertilizers are applied during the growth period, fully complying with the manufacturer's instructions on the concentration of the drug. For Lelia, foliar feeding methods can be used, but fertilizers are necessarily diluted in water in low concentrations.

For this orchid, it is advisable to use only special preparations for orchids, since it is sensitive to the ratio of macro- and micronutrients in the composition of fertilizers and is sensitive to changes in soil reaction.

Lelia is distinguished by special, sufficiently powerful, specifically developing roots.

Transplant and substrate

Lelia is distinguished by special, sufficiently powerful, specifically developing roots. When grown in classic containers and even special pots for orchids, Lelia can surprise with the appearance of roots in the holes and their uneven development. The simple appearance of the roots from the pot is not a sign of the need for a change in capacity: transplanted lelia only when the roots really cease to fit in the pot and the substrate is practically not visible in their mass.

With quality care, Lelia develops rapidly and may require a transplant every 2 years. A plant can only be replanted before active vegetation begins, during a period of complete dormancy.

The soil for Lelia is easy to pick up: only special substrates for orchids are used for this orchid. Purchased finished soils are preferred. If you have experience growing orchids, then the soil can be composed of pine bark and fern roots with the addition of coal and inert material. Epiphytic species of lelium, as well as miniature varieties can be grown on blocks, snags, stones, fixing plants in the usual way with the help of moss.

The transplantation of Lelia is carried out carefully, simply transplanting the orchid (only if an emergency transplant is carried out and the roots are damaged, the soil is removed, the damaged areas are cut and treated with fungicides). The plant immediately after transplantation is exposed in places with high humidity and soft lighting, without watering from 5 to 7 days for adaptation and prevention of diseases.

Diseases, pests and growing problems

Lelia often suffer from mealybugs, which annoy them more than other indoor orchids. If there are traces of any diseases and damage to the roots or signs of pests, the fight should immediately begin with highly specialized fungicidal and insecticidal preparations.

Reproduction of Lelia

At home, Lelia is propagated only by dividing adult plants. Large bushes that do not fit in standard containers can be divided if the plant has at least 7 pseudobulbs. The minimum size of the dividend for Lelia is 3 sprouts. Individual shoots of this orchid do not take root.

The seed propagation method for this orchid is used only on a professional level.