Garden News Blog

300-Pound Orchid Gets a New Basket (Video)

Repotting Grammatophyllum speciosum
The basket holding BBG's Grammatophyllum speciosum, commonly known as the tiger orchid or great orchid, needs to be replaced. Years in the hot and humid conditions of the Aquatic House has caused the basket to rot, and the orchid needs to be repotted in a new one.

Repotting a normal sized plant is a hassle in its own right. But what if that plant weighs nearly 300 pounds and hangs over a three-foot deep pool? This past June, BBG Aquatic House curator David Horak decided that the tiger orchid (Grammatophyllum speciosum) needed a new basket. The suspended wooden basket had begun to deteriorate and Horak worried that the plant might drop into the pool below. Watch the video that details the unwieldy repotting process that turned out to be a great success:

BBG’s Grammatophyllum speciosum has only blossomed twice since coming to the Garden; blooming requires a tremendous amount of light and heat that isn’t always easy to replicate given Brooklyn’s winters, even in a glasshouse. The short day length and lower light intensity of this latitude makes blooming an uncommon event here; the last time it flowered was in 2008.

To learn more about the tiger orchid, read the photo essay "Repotting the Tiger Orchid."


December 2, 2011
Bill Padilla

A very good video. I have a Gram in a 16-inch pot. I have to wait another year, I guess. What kind of wood did you use for the basket? I would like to make baskets for my other 7 Grams. thanks.

December 8, 2011
BBG Staff

Rot- and insect-resistant tropical hardwoods such as mahogany, teak, or ipe are the best choices for making your own wooden baskets. Look for sustainably harvested, FSC-certified sources. BBG’s tiger orchid basket is made of ipe, but Dave Horak, curator of the Orchid Collection, reports that he is starting to use commercially made plastic baskets, produced specifically for orchids or other plants with similar needs.

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