Within the genus Laelia, Section Hadrolaelia comprises some of the loveliest miniature Cattleya-type species; their flowers large and showy relative to their small plant size. Laelia pumila is the most representive of the group, and is found in several color forms; lavender (the most typical form), semi-alba, alba, coerulea, and delicata. Hadrolaelias have made major contributions to the development of hybrid mini-catts, and are recognized for producing specimens of high horticultural value.
The Hadrolaelias are
temperature-tolerant, epiphytic species from eastern Brazil; their blooming
season is mainly late summer and early fall. They are unusual in that the
inflorescence lacks a floral sheath; the buds emerge as the newest leaf-blade unfolds and flattens to produce one, or sometimes two, flowers per inflorescence.
With few exceptions (L. alaorii), the Dwarf Laelias are a temperature tolerant group; we grow them outside in our Santa Barbara climate, where we expet them to withstand temperatures ranging 27-100F. They may also be grown in a greenhouse and possibly indoors, provided adequate air movement and light.
The Dwarf Laelias share typical Cattleya or Cymbidium conditions; bright
filtered light, as under a 50-60% shadecloth, greenhouse roof, light shade tree, or window with southern exposure and some light
shading. A plants that is lush and green but won’t bloom is often the result of not getting enough light; a plant with scorched,
extremely yellowed leaves may be getting too much light.
Watering should be done as needed, according to climatic conditions. It is best to water thouroughly, saturating the bark, but being sure that plants drain well and do not sit in water. Plants should be allowed to nearly dry before watering again; this may average more or less than once a week.
We recommend a balanced fertilizer (Dyna-Gro 7-9-5, or 7-7-7 for example) dilute in the water each time one waters.
The Dwarf Laelias may be grown in pots, mounted, or in hanging baskets. Rather than potting up from small pots or baskets, we typically set a small plant
overgrowing its original pot into empty, larger pots; as the plant grows over the edges, the aerial roots travel through the air space between pots. Plants in hanging pots or
baskets may be allowed to engulf the pot and grown into great specimens that bloom by the dozens, late summer and into fall.