Laelia anceps, a native of Mexico but
also occurring more rarely in Guatemala
and the Honduras, is one of the most
common, yet one of the most satisfying
orchids. Its ease of care makes it an ideal
plant for the beginner as well as the
connoisseur. Resembling clustertype
Cattleyas 2" to 4" in size, Laelia anceps'
lovely flowers occur in forms of lavender,
white and blue, with two to four blooms
on the ends of 18" to 24" inflorescences.
One of the hardiest for cold tolerance of
any of the Cattleya alliance, Laelia anceps
are reported as tolerating lows of 24ºF
(-5ºC) without any damage. High
temperatures, up to 90º or 100º, rarely
trouble it. The blooming season for anceps
is customarily November through January.
Laelia anceps is noted for being one of the
best plants, in subtropical climates, to
naturalize on trees around the garden,
where regular garden watering is usually
adequate. Many trees (except pines) are
well suited for Laelia anceps. Oaks are
among the best of trees, and jacardia,
palms, citrus, fiejoa, dracinias & white
birch are quite good. Plants should be tied
or stapled (romex type) firmly to trunks
Laelia anceps is one of the more temperature
tolerant orchids in cultivation today, making it a
natural for outdoor growing in Southern California
and comparable climates. It has been known to
survive winter nights of down to 24ºF undaunted,
and has no problem with heat up to 100ºF provided
it gets water.
This plant likes medium to high light, about 1500-
3500 ft/candles. Very low light is not adequate.
Water frequently (weekly to daily, depending on
conditions) throughout the growing season, which
is mostly April through November. Water may be
reduced in the Winter dormant time, but is not
necessary. Washing off the flower buds by rain or
hose is often needed to keep the buds from sticking
Regular feeding with a balanced fertilizer will
enhance growth, particularly during the growing
season of April through November.