Lepanthes (meaning “scale-like flower”) is a large genus of at least 1111 mini-miniature to small species within the Pleurothallid Alliance and originating from Central and South America. Plants are epiphytic or lithophytic and grow well mounted. Because of their need for high humidity, they do very well in terrariums. Grow in low light and cool to intermediate temperatures.
These delicate and beautiful plants produce some of the most complex flowers in the orchid family. Although typically small, the flowers are very colorful, often multi-colored, and open successively on racemes originating in the leaf margin. The lip, which is a distinguishing feature of orchids, in general, is so specialized in Lepanthes that it requires its own terminology.
Although I was initially intimidated by the small size, water needs, and cool-growing nature of this genus, I have found they grow and bloom very well in my intermediate conditions. I spray them daily, keep them in moderate to low light, and keep them outside in the summer (where we have had temps in the 90’s) and in the greenhouse for the winter (usually 55-75, and definitely in their happy range). These would grow very well in your house, too, and would make a great choice for your shadier windows or even a table away from a sunny window.
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