Phragmipedium is a genus of around 21 species, distributed mainly in South America. They are mostly epiphytes but a few are terrestrial plants. They lack pseudobulbs and so require to be grown with a good supply of water. Phragmipedium besseae (pictured above) is the only member of the genus that has dark red flowers. This particular species grows on cliffs at elevations of up to 1,500 metres where there is a constant flower of water and the temperature is quite cool.
This lovely Phragmipedium is an easy orchid to care for: keep it relatively cool but not cold, and sit the pot in a saucer of water that is kept topped up at all times.
Other kinds of Orchids as House Plants...
Yes, we have many native wild orchids throughout Europe and around 30 species in the UK. Most of them are rare, endangered or in serious decline due to the destruction of their natural habitats. They will not survive being dug up and moved either to gardens and greenhouses or to window ledges. It is also an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to dig up any wild plants without the landowner’s consent.
There are many local and national nature reserves where wild orchids can be seen at the right time of year, and the network of local Wildlife Trusts can advise you on the best time to visit and also arrange for you to take part in some of the many tours that they organise during peak flowering times.