Coelogyne tomentosa (so often sold as Coelogyne massangeana - its old name) is one of the most widely grown of Coelogynes. It produces a long (up to 60cm) pendulous raceme with about 30 off-white/brown flowers 3cm wide. It can grow into huge clumps - some estimated to be over a tonne in weight.

It is native to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, growing along ridges and slopes in the mountains. It is extremely tough and easy to grow outside frost zones and has the added advantage of flowering at almost any time of the year. Its flowering habit demands that it be grown in a high hanging basket but, as with many other orchids, there is a temperature advantage also - the closer the air is to the top of the glasshouse the warmer it generally is.

The racemes develop very quickly, open almost simultaneously and last for about 3 weeks whilst giving off a strong but not unpleasant perfume a bit like Christmas fir trees.

Negatives: Rather than it surprising by producing the odd large spike suddenly, it might make a more spectacular display if a large number of spikes were produced at the same time. Spikes can be produced over a period of many months. The off-white, brownish flowers give a muted overall effect.

Rating: ♦♦♦♦ It rewards with the long 'necklace' flowers and is such an easy and readily available orchid to grow.

Sometimes sold as: Coelogyne massangeana - an older name.

Varieties: None known but there are a few 'tagged' variations in colour and/or size.

Hybrids: There are surprisingly few registered

  1. Coelogyne Green Dragon (Burnham Nurseries 1992) - using Coelogyne pandurata as the pod parent.
  2. Coelogyne Intermedia (Cypher and Sons, 1913) - using Coelogyne cristata as the pod parent.
< Coel swaniana Coel tommii >