Orchid Lelia: Care At Home, Keeping Conditions

A genus such as Lelia (Laelia) is directly related to the orchid family. It unites 23 plant species. They are represented by epiphytic perennials as well as lithophytic plants. Under natural conditions they can be found in subtropical and temperate areas of the West Indies and South America.

All species are characterized by a sympoidal growth pattern.

Young shoots of certain species may develop at the base of the old one, forming dense clumps with short creeping ground shoots (rhizomes), while in other species they grow at some distance from it.

The flower itself may have different heights. It can be 1-2 cm or 30-60 cm tall. Pseudobulbs may be ovate or elongate-cylindrical in shape with a single or double leaf. Young pseudobulbs are glossy, smooth and greenish-gray or green, becoming dull and wrinkled as they grow.

The stiff, thick sheath leaves are oblong-oval or strap-shaped, and are sharpened at the tip. The leaf plate is slightly folded along the central vein.

This genus of orchids blooms in the middle belt of Russia in winter-spring, from December to April to be exact. Unbranched apical pedicels have 1 flower or bear small inflorescences in the form of a brush. Strongly zygomorphic, fragrant florets are fairly large (15 to 20 centimeters in diameter).

The 2 petals (petals) and 3 sepals (sepals) are loose, similarly colored and also have a strap-shaped or narrow-oval shape. The petals are somewhat wider than the sepals, and their edges are slightly wavy. The 3rd petal is called the lip; it may be trilobate or entire, and may have a fringed or smooth edge. They form a rather long tube when joined at the base, hiding the column (the flower's reproductive organ) completely.

Home care for lelia

Orchid Lelia: care at home, keeping conditions

This plant is rather difficult to care for and needs special conditions.

It is most suitable for cultivation by experienced florists.


A fairly light-loving plant that needs very bright light. Direct rays of morning or evening sun will be very good for it. However, it is better to shade it from the scorching midday sun. Sunlight can be replaced by artificial light of equivalent brightness.

At any time of the year, the day length should be at least 10 hours.

Beautiful light results in proper pseudobulb growth, setting up of flower buds and, consequently, long flowering.


This flower needs moderately-cold temperatures. It needs quite noticeable variations in daily temperatures. So, it's best if during the day it will be from 18 to 25 degrees, and at night - from 13 to 19 degrees.

Note that the temperature difference between day and night should not be less than 5 degrees.

Experienced florists recommend moving the plant to fresh air, where it can stay from the middle of May to the middle of September. In this case, there is a natural difference in daily temperatures, as well as the necessary degree of light. It should be taken into account that outdoors such an orchid can withstand high daytime temperatures (up to 32 degrees).

For the resting period the plant should be placed in a light and quite cool place with a daytime temperature of about 15 degrees, and a night-time temperature of 10 degrees.

This period is usually observed in the fall-winter, but it can also be at other times. The beginning of the dormancy period is when the young pseudobulb develops and ½ of a leaf unfolds, and the end is after the formation of the flower stalk.


Orchid Lelia: care at home, keeping conditions

This flower can be grown on blocks or in pots filled with small pieces of pine bark mixed with sphagnum.

It is best to use a transparent pot specially designed for orchids. It lets the light that the roots need and also lets air through very well, thanks to larger drainage holes.

A large piece of pine bark can be used as a block, it needs to be pre-treated by removing the dirt and resin. On the surface of the bar you need to fix the roots of the flower, while covering them with a not very thick layer of sphagnum. Moss retains moisture, not allowing the roots to dry out.

How to water

Watering is different for different cultivation methods. If the lealia is growing in a pot, water after the substrate has dried out completely.

Determine the condition of the bark in the pot by simply looking through the transparent wall. If growing on a block, daily watering is required on hot days and once every two days on cool days.

Water at room temperature, always with soft water (filtered, rainwater or melted water). A little citric acid or a drop of vinegar can be used to soften the water (the water must not have a sour taste).

It is advisable to water the orchid by immersing it completely in water for one third of an hour.

You can immerse the entire plant along with the foliage.


Optimal humidity is 75-85 percent. Even very frequent moistening from a sprayer cannot provide the necessary humidity, therefore it is recommended to grow the flower in an orchidarium with a specially chosen climate or use a household humidifier.

Repotting details

Orchid Lelia: care at home, keeping conditions

Transplant the flower only if necessary. For example, when the substrate becomes rotten, sour, decomposed or too dense, or if the roots no longer fit in the pot or if the block becomes too tight.

It is best to transplant the lelia while new roots are growing.


Fertilizer once every 2-3 weeks. Use a special orchid fertilizer (1/2 of the recommended dosage on the package). We recommend feeding by foliar and root method (alternating them), the fertilizers must be dissolved in water for watering or for spraying.

Propagation methods

Orchid Lelia: care at home, keeping conditions

To propagate in room conditions you can only use the vegetative method.

To divide the rhizomes of a large bush into parts so that each partition has at least 3 mature pseudobulbs.

Seed and meristem propagation is used only in industrial conditions.

Pests and diseases

Resistant to pests.

Suffers very rarely from viral diseases. Fungal diseases develop more often due to care failures.

Incorrect temperatures, incorrect watering, too much or too little light, hard or cold water, damage to the root system during transplanting, etc. can all contribute to this.

Laelia purpurata * Laelia purpurata *

Main species

Few species and their many hybrids are used for indoor cultivation.

Lelia anceps (Laelia anceps)

Orchid Lelia: care at home, keeping conditions

Native to this epiphytic plant are the moist forests of Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala. The single leafed, oval shaped pseudobulbs are 2-3 centimeters wide and 6-10 centimeters high.

The rhizome is long enough. Young stems are formed at a distance of 3 to 5 centimeters from each other. The leaves reach 10-20 centimeters in length and about 4 centimeters in width. The flower stalk can be up to 100 centimeters long and hold up to 5 large flowers (up to 12 centimeters in diameter). The lanceolate petals and sepals are slightly curved backwards and have a slightly wavy edge.

The sepals are 4 to 6 centimeters long and 1 to 1.5 centimeters wide. The petals are somewhat longer, with a width of 1.5 to 3 centimeters and a length of 5 to 7 centimeters. The large three-lobed lip, which forms a fairly wide funnel, measures 4.

5 by 3.5 centimeters. The elongated central part of the lip is oval, wavy and curved downward. The flower is usually this color: pale purple petals and sepals and a purple lip. The funnel inside, as well as its open pharynx, is yellowish, and has touches of dark purple color.

Lelia gouldiana (Laelia gouldiana)

Orchid Lelia: care at home, keeping conditions

Native to Mexico, but it cannot be found in natural conditions at present. The two-leaved, rarely three-leaved pseudobulbs are spindle-shaped and have 4 dimly expressed facets. They can reach a height of 4-15 centimeters and a width of 1.5-3 centimeters. Leaflets are 3 centimeters wide and 15 to 25 centimeters long.

A long (40-80 centimeters high) flower stalk carries 3 to 10 flowers, which are about 8 centimeters in diameter. Narrow lanceolate sepals are 1 to 2 centimeters wide and 5 to 6 centimeters long. The diamond-shaped broad petals with wavy edges are 5-6 centimeters high and 2 to 3 centimeters wide. The three-lobed lip is 3 to 5 centimeters long and 2 to 2.5 centimeters wide.

The straight, erect lateral parts do not merge into a tube, while the recessed rectangular-oval anterior part is similar to the spathe and has wavy edges. The whole calyx is colored purple, the coloration being darker at the tips of the petals, sepals and lip, but near the base it changes to almost white.

Lelia rubescens (Laelia rubescens)

Orchid Lelia: care at home, keeping conditions

This litophyte or epiphyte can be found almost anywhere in Central America. The oval, one-leafed, sometimes two-leafed pseudobulbs are slightly flattened on the sides. They are 1.

5 to 4 centimeters wide and 4 to 7 centimeters high. Narrowly elliptic, three-centimeter wide leaflets have a rounded tip and are 10-15 centimeters long. The multi-flowered flower stalks can reach 15-80 centimeters in height and bear up to 15 medium-sized flowers (3 to 7 centimeters in diameter). The pointed sepals are strap-shaped, 2 to 4.5 centimeters long and 0.

5 to 1 centimeter wide. Rounded-rhomboid petals with wavy edges are 2.5-4 centimeters long and 1-2 centimeters wide. The triple lip is 1.5-2.

5 centimeters wide and 2 to 4 centimeters long. The lateral parts are formed into a tube, and the free, front part is bent down with its long, oval-shaped tongue with a wavy edge. As a rule, the flower is colored light purple or light pink, inside the tube as well as the pharynx are colored dark purple, and there is a yellowish spot in the central part of the lip.

Lelia speciosa (Laelia speciosa)

Orchid Lelia: care at home, keeping conditions

This epiphyte is endemic to Mexico. The one-leafed or two-leafed ovate pseudobulbs reach about 5 centimeters in height.

Leaflets are 2 to 3 centimeters wide and 13 to 15 centimeters high. The short flower stalks are usually no taller than 20 centimeters. Paired or single florets are quite large, with a diameter of 10 to 15 centimeters. Sepals are strap-shaped or oblong-oval in shape, while the pointed petals are rounded-rhomboid. Flowers can be painted in various hues from pink to lilac.

There are also representatives with white-colored florets. The lip is trilobate. Lateral parts fused by 2/3 of their length to form a tube with turned-out edges. The fan-shaped or spatulate central part is wavy. The tube inside, as well as the lip, is white, with mauve strokes and a similarly colored rim.


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