June and July are high time for blooming for Neofinetia falcata. Mine seem to be just a little behind this year, so there are a few in bloom, a few that are done, but most of them are just spiking now. What that means for YOU is it’s a great time to pick one up so you can enjoy its intoxicating fragrance for yourself. I have smelled a lot (I mean A LOT) of orchids, and I still think Neos smell the best. Many people ask if they are all fragrant, and the answer is, “yes.” Not all varieties are equally likely to bloom regularly, however. Many of the ultra mini bean (mameba) types such as Kuroshinju don’t bloom much, but their cuteness more than balances that equation. Similarly, the pine needle types such as Yoroidoushi produce few flowers on an irregular basis. Those guys look so cool, though, and grow so fast that I don’t care about the flowers.
Most Neofinetia produce white flowers; however, there are some that produce pink, green, and yellow flowers–not all on the same plant 🙂 The most well-known pink bloomer by far is Shutennou. The petals and sepals are mostly white, but the nectary and peduncle (flower stem) are a very dark pink. Murasakitaishi is similarly colored while some of my newer acquisitions (yet to make it onto the website), such as Honggang and Raizan, have almost solid bright pink flowers. The greenest guy I know is Hisui, but Kishu Ryokufu is another great variety because it’s such a vigorous grower and tends to produce some purple on the leaves. Currently the only yellow I can find is Kibana which is an excellent grower and a reliable bloomer. It’s hard to be upset about that guy as an only choice.
I am talking about flowers because Neofinetia flowers come once a year, and this is the season. If you have these lovelies in your orchid collection, you know that the flowers are the icing on the cake when it comes to enjoying these plants. Even without blooms, each plant is a sculptural and sometimes colorful natural work of art every day of the year. If you love succulents or begonias, you know that flowers sometimes just distract from the vegetative growth form. I must reiterate, however, that the fragrance is something you need to experience. Once you do, you will hold it in your memory through the long months of winter and look forward to the warm spring and summer days that bring that perfume back.