Alphabetical Plant Listing

Prosthechea cochleata (Cockleshell Orchid)

Clamshell Orchid, Cockleshell Orchid, Octopus Orchid, Black Orchid, Aulizeum cochleatum, Encyclia cochleata, Encyclia lancifolia, Epidendrum cochleatum, Epidendrum cochleatum var. costaricense, Epidendrum cochleatum var. grandiflorum, Epidendrum cochleatum var. pallidum, Epidendrum lancifolium, Hormidium cochleatum, Phaedrosanthus cochleatus, Anacheilium cochleata


Prosthechea cochleata (Cockleshell Orchid) is a medium sized epiphytic orchid species with long-lasting, ribbon-like flowers that resemble small octopuses. The flowers, up to 3 in. long (8 cm), feature pale-green petals and clam-shaped dark-purple lips, flushed yellowish-green, and adorned with white bases deeply-veined purple. Blooming for 6 months starting in the spring, the unique blossoms are borne intermittently on racemose inflorescences. A mature plant produces many blossoms and can be in bloom all year long. The flattened pear-shaped pseudobulbs bear evergreen lance-shaped leaves, up to 8-14 in. long (20-35 cm). Native to Florida, Mexico, Central and South America, and the West Indies, Cockleshell Orchid is found in wet, broad-leaved forests at elevations of 1500-3300 ft. (450-1000 m). Easy to grow, Cockleshell Orchid is perfect for novice orchid enthusiasts. This is the national flower of Belize.

  • Recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society.
  • Grows up to 12-18 in. tall (30-45 cm) and 10-18 in. wide (25-45 cm).
  • Easily grown in an open epiphytic compost with bright filtered light. The plant should not be exposed to the direct sunlight of the midday sun.
  • Provide strong, constant air movement.
  • Needs an average night temperature of 60-62°F (16-17°C) and daytime temperature of 80°F (27°C) in summer.
  • Needs an average night temperature of 52-53°F (11-12°C) and daytime temperature of 71-73°F (22-23°C) in winter.
  • Maintain adequate humidity (80-85%) for most of the year by setting the plant in a tray of damp pebbles.
  • Water your plant thoroughly during the active growth period, then allow it to dry slightly before watering again. Never let your orchid sit in a water-logged pot. Keep your orchid dry in winter.
  • Feed with a balanced fertilizer every third or fourth watering.
  • Propagate by division when plants overfill the container.
  • Once the flowers have faded, remove the spent flower spikes.
  • Generally disease free. Keep an eye out for aphids, glasshouse red spider mite, mealybugs, root rot (excess moisture).
  • Native to Florida, Mexico, Central and South America, West Indies.

Buy Prosthechea cochleata (Cockleshell Orchid)

Requirements

Hardiness 10 – 13
Plant Type Orchids
Exposure Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spread 10" – 2' (25cm – 60cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Plant of Merit, Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, Southeast, Florida
Garden Uses Patio and Containers

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Manuel m.v., Tim Sheerman-Chase, Flickr

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 10 – 13
Plant Type Orchids
Exposure Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 1' – 2' (30cm – 60cm)
Spread 10" – 2' (25cm – 60cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Average
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Plant of Merit, Showy, Evergreen
Native Plants United States, Southeast, Florida
Garden Uses Patio and Containers

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