Angraecum sesquipedale var. angustifolium

I bought this orchid several years ago at a show, as it was very cheap, and I couldn’t resist. I’d been growing Angraecum sesquipedale in its standard form for ages before this, but it was still a bit too small to bloom. As this plant was no bigger than my standard sesquipedale, I didn’t expect blooms from this either. Turns out I was wrong and this orchid flowers every winter. Angraecum sesquipedale var. angustifolium is rather smaller in its proportions than the standard form of the species with narrower leaves and much less spread. It has powdery looking, almost glaucous, stiff foliage which tends to curve upwards. It is no more difficult to grow than any of the larger Angraecum species or hybrids and is rather easier to accommodate.

Inflorescences are very short, emerging from the leaf axils, and only bear one flower. That flower is large (a similar size to the standard form) and appears even larger because of the size of the plant. The characteristic long spur is there, not quite a foot and a half (the name sesquipedale literally means ‘foot and a half’), but impressive, nevertheless. It is night scented as you’d expect, with no scent at all during the day. Interestingly, the scent is different to the standard form, and I prefer it. Think jasmine mixed with orange blossom. The flower opens greenish, fading to Ivory and eventually white as it ages. The bloom is very fleshy and substantial – presumably it is pollinated by a very heavy insect! No need to stake the inflorescence as the flower is held quite close to the main stem.

It is better to grow Angraecum in a medium that doesn’t break down very quickly as you really want to leave them undisturbed for as long as possible – plants can refuse to flower for years if they are disturbed, so use a chunky mix and a larger pot than you might for any other orchid. Light for this species should be strong but avoid direct summer sun. Plants may benefit from a summer outside if you can find the right spot for them.

Site by | Get the latest news at