Ascocentrum Ampullaceum is a great orchid not just for tropical climates, as it also grows well in temperate regions. It is a perfect balcony plant to add some color and beauty to your home plant setup. Read the expert guide to know all about how to grow Ascocentrum Ampullaceum.
What Is Ascocentrum Ampullaceum?
Ascocentrum Ampullaceum is a miniature, epiphytic, monopodial vanda orchid native to the Himalayas of India, Nepal, and Bhutan, and Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Laos. It belongs to the Ascocentrum genus and the Orchidaceae family.
Some of its common names are Vein-like Ascocentrum, Aerides Ampullaceum, Saccolabium Ampullaceum and Vanda Ampullaceal. Lindley and Schlechter described it in 1913.
– Size and Growth
Ascocentrum Ampullaceum is a miniature-sized orchid that grows on leafy treetops in the mountainous jungles of Asia. It has short stems that carry several leaves. As the lower leaves get older, they fall.
The plant has monopodial growth, which means that there is only one root system that spurs upwards a single stem, which bears the leaves and flowers.
Propagating the plant from ascocentrum ampullaceum seeds is not easy, and it’s a process better left to the experts.
The leaves are 5 to 6 inches long and about 1 inch wide. They give an attractive look to the plant. The broad leaves help in gathering sunlight more effectively.
Ascocentrum Ampullaceum has beautiful pink to purple flowers that form a dense pattern when in bloom. This plant not only produces vivid flowers in pink and purple, but sometimes also in white. The small flowers have broad and rounded petals. The ovate petals are narrow at the base and rounded at the tip. They have a small, pink lip that gives the blooms a classy look.
The flowers bloom in late spring and summer on 3 to 8 inches long inflorescence. The inflorescence carries many small flowers. The flowers are about 1 inch in diameter. The flowers bloom in clusters and look similar to the hyacinth blooms.
After the plant has finished flowering, use sharp scissors to cut off the old stems. This will promote new growth.
Ascocentrum Ampullaceum prefers to have its roots in the air. However, the roots do well in potted soil too. It also grows fleshy aerial roots. Keep the aerial roots happy by misting and spraying daily if the humidity is very low in your area.
Ascocentrum Ampullaceum Care
Ascocentrum Ampullaceum is an easy-to-care-for orchid. You need to keep in mind a few points regarding its growth requirements such as light, water, soil mix, temperature, humidity, and fertilizer. Read on to find out its exact growth requirements.
– Light Requirements
Ascocentrum Ampullaceum needs moderately bright light to grow well. Do not expose your plant to direct sunlight, as it can cause the leaves to burn. 50 percent shade and 50 percent sunlight work the best for this orchid. A south-facing window receiving diffused sunlight is ideal for its growth.
In very bright light, the upper leaf surface develops purple freckles, which indicate that it needs more nutrients and water. In cooler climates, with less sunlight, you can let it receive direct lighting without worrying.
– Water Requirements
Ascocentrum Ampullaceum needs abundant and frequent watering during the active growing period, from late spring to fall. As fall approaches, gradually reduce the watering and reduce it further in winter to prevent root rot and other fungal infections.
In winter, allow the soil medium to dry out in between waterings. The substrate around the roots should never be soggy, as this plant is prone to root rot.
Water your plant early in the morning so that it gets the entire day to absorb moisture. Watering early in the day prevents problems like root rot and fungal diseases. As a general rule, water your plant when the soil mix goes dry.
– Soil Mix
Use a loose and fast-drying soil mix to grow these orchids. Avoid using the regular garden soil, as it can suffocate the plant roots. You can grow them in pots or mount them on tree fern or cork.
If you grow them in pots, make sure the pot has enough drainage holes and prepare a loose and airy soil mix. Medium-thick bark chips mixed with perlite work great for potted orchids. Adding perlite or charcoal improves soil drainage and prevents the soil from acidifying. You can also use leca balls in a self-watering pot.
Grow them in pots having good drainage with adequate drainage holes and ventilation. More drainage holes on the sides of the pots will enable good air movement around the roots.
These orchids also grow well when mounted on tree ferns or cork slabs. But if your orchid is mounted, you will have to water it more frequently than when potted. Some people also use only lava rocks in containers to grow these orchids.
Ascocentrum Ampullaceum is a hot to cool growing orchid. In summer, it prefers an average daytime temperature of 82 to 87 degrees Fahrenheit and an average nighttime temperature of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
In spring, it prefers temperatures between 77 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 63 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit at night. In winter, the ideal temperature is 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night.
The difference between the day and night temperatures helps in Ascocentrum Ampullaceum blooming.
Ascocentrum Ampullaceum is an orchid that loves to be in high humidity conditions. It needs 80 to 85 percent humidity in summers and 55 to 65 percent humidity in winters.
High humidity during the summer season helps the plant to bear the hot temperatures. If the air in your area is dry and humidity is low, keep the humidity levels high by keeping humidity trays and humidifiers near the plant.
Low humidity would not be a problem in winter, as the temperatures are low and water does not evaporate fast. But with the onset of spring, the plant will again need highly humid conditions to thrive.
Ascocentrum orchids need to be fertilized frequently in their growing season from late spring to fall. Fertilizing at the right time in the right quantities helps in promoting blooms.
During the active growth period, fertilize your plant weekly or bi-weekly with one-fourth to one-half of the recommended dose mentioned on a balanced liquid orchid fertilizer. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer from spring to summer and a phosphorus-rich one in fall.
Do not fertilize the plant in winter, as its growth slows down significantly at this time. When the temperatures are low, it becomes difficult for the plant to absorb nutrition and over-fertilization leads to salt accumulation that can burn the plant roots.
The roots of Ascocentrum Ampullaceum are prone to rot if the soil is decayed or decomposed. As soon as you notice the substrate beginning to break down, immediately remove the old soil and prepare a new soil mix composed of bark chips and perlite. You can add sphagnum moss to retain moisture.
The ideal time to repot is early spring, when new growth emerges. Shifting the plant at this time gives it sufficient time to adjust to the new environment without causing much damage. The plant roots in the shortest time. Avoid repotting your plant in winter, as the plant may go into shock at this time.
To repot, wash your plant thoroughly with fresh water and remove the decomposed soil mix. Cut off the dead roots, if any. Prepare a new soil mix of bark chips and perlite. Gently place the plant in the new soil mix and keep it in a shaded area for a few days to give the plant some time to adjust to the new conditions.
Divide the plant and propagate the smaller cuttings. Each plant division must have at least two to three spikes for proper growth.
Ascocentrum Ampullaceum is one good-looking orchid great for beginner gardeners. It is a joy to grow these wonderful orchids and you must try your hands at them once.
- Ascocentrum Ampullaceum is a compact, epiphytic orchid species native to the Himalayas and Southeast Asia.
- It has pink and purple flowers that bloom in spring and summer.
- It needs moderate to bright, indirect light to grow well.
- Water your plant heavily in the growing season and gradually reduce watering after new growth matures.
- It is a hot to cool-growing orchid but prefers warm temperatures, with the lowest being 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
- It prefers humid conditions to grow well. It thrives in humidity levels above 80 percent in summer and above 55 percent in winter.
- Maintaining proper air circulation with warm temperatures and a high watering frequency is vital for this plant’s growth.
- Fertilize your plant with one-fourth one-half of the recommended dose on a liquid orchid fertilizer.
- Repot the plant when the substrate begins to decompose as the plant is prone to root rot.
Ascocentrum Ampullaceum is well worth growing and cultivating. Also, know that its hybrids carry the plant’s best qualities. And now that you have learned all about its growth and care, it is time to get one.
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