A curious fact about Gongora orchids is that they are insufficiently known by many orchid growers (and it is a hard task to find them in common flower shops, unlike common Phalaenopsis orchids). Although they were ones of the first tropical orchids grown in culture, when you think about orchid usually you imagine Phalaenopsis, not Gongora. Even though it has strangely, even monstrously sounding name, it has none in common with monsters or Medusa Gorgon. Actually, it was named after Antonio Caballero Gongora, not after some Ancient Greece monster or god, as it may seem at first sight. These beautiful and nice orchids are native to Central and South Americas.
Gongora genus contains around 76 species. They are sympodial epiphytes and possess pseudobulbs, which are ribbed and ovoid. The roots are thin and numerous, some of them form some kind of a basket to catch forest debris to feed the plant. Each pseudobulb has two veined leaves on the top. Inflorescences are pendulous and can bear exotic flowers. Gongora quinquenervis is a type species, it has 2 inches wide fragrant yellow with brown flowers. Most widely grown species Gongora galeata is a medium sized plant, it has beautiful, fragrant 2 inch wide flowers, each inflorescence bears numerous flowers, which are yellow. Gongora galeata var. flava has more intensely bright yellow flowers, whereas alba form has greenish flowers. Gongora escobariana has extremely beautiful pink flowers with purple dots, lips are yellow. Gongora pleiochroma has 3 inches wide yellow with red dots fragrant flowers, hence the species epithet pleiochroma, which means Rich Color. Gongora hirtzii looks similar, but it is miniature sized, as well as extremely nice Gongora fulva.
Gongora orchids cultivation is easy. They do not require light levels as for Vandas, they need just bright filtered light with some direct sunlight in the morning, some species prefer semi-shade. Potting mixture should be with good water capacity with some medium bark, some sphagnum moss, cocoa chips and charcoal. It is a good idea to grow them in hanging baskets, which allow good drainage and good air circulation for tender roots. Gongora orchids don’t seem to like completely to dry between watering, so water them regularly, but do not overwater. Fertilizers should be applied regularly when new growth is seen. They do not have a definite dormant season but seem to like some rest after blooming, so reduce watering and fertilizers after flowering, until new growth is seen to emerge. Temperatures should be intermediate to warm, they will tolerate hot temperatures in the summer.
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