Laelia anceps

Laelia anceps

Laelia purpurata carnea

Laelia purpurata carnea

Pronunciation: lay-LEE-uh

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Orchidaceae
  • Subfamily: Epidendroideae
  • Tribe: Epidendreae
  • Subtribe: Laeliinae
  • Alliance: Cattleya
  • Genus: Laelia, Lindley 1831

General Characteristics

  • most are epiphytes, few are lithophytes
  • clearly separated, ovate pseudobulbs
  • raceme inflorescences

Laelia, abbreviated L in horticultural trade, is a small genus of eleven species. This is one of the most important and popular orchid genera, because of the beautiful flowers, their genetic properties and because they are fairly easy in culture.

Most are epiphytes, but a few are lithophytes. They are found in the subtropical or temperate climate of Central America, but mostly in Mexico.

They are closely related to Cattleya with only the number of pollinia differing. The ovate pseudobulbs are clearly separate. The inflorescence is a raceme, which can be 30cm long, with up to eight flowers, growing from the top of the pseudobulb. These flowers can be pink to purple, with a beautifully colored purple lip becoming white close to the column. They typically bloom in spring or autumn. Albino varieties are rare and therefore prized. Due to high demand for such a rare mutations, many horticultural labs use modern tissue culture or mericloning techniques to increase their availability.

Members of this genus tend to be fairly easy in culture, and some plants are surprisingly drought-tolerant. Culture is highly dependent upon the natural habitat of the species, although many do well as mounted specimens so that the roots receive plenty of air circulation and a sharp wet-and-dry cycle.

Laelia species readily form hybrids within the genus, and with other genera, including Cattleya (x Laeliocattleya, more than 2,000 greges), Brassavola, Rhyncholaelia, and Sophronitis. The majority of orchid hybrids belong to this category {x Sophrolaeliocattleya, x Brassolaeliocattleya and a number of other variations}.


  • Temperature: Cool to intermediate to warm, depending on species.
  • Light: Intermediate to bright, good to very good air movement.
  • Water & Humidity: Seasonal, high during the growing season (spring-fall) and usually low during the rest period (usually fall-winter). Mexican species like it especially dry during the rest period, while shadier-growing species such as some hadrolaelias (rupiculous species such as L. pumila) prefer more uniform humidity throughout the year.
  • Fertilizer: Balanced fertilizer during the growing season, weekly. Half to a quarter concentration during the rest period.
  • Potting: Brazilian Laelias are grown usually in pots, mainly because the plants can get big (Cattleyodes), or because they grow on rocks (lithophytic) in their native habitat (Parviflorae). Mexican species like Laelia anceps are frequently grown on slabs. This is a basic indication of how dry they prefer to grow, but plants are very tolerant except for over watering. The growing medium should thus have good to very good drainage depending on which group of species you are growing.


  • Laelia albida
    • Amalia albida
    • Cattleya albida
    • Bletia albida
    • Laelia candida
    • Laelia discolor
  • Laelia anceps
    • Amalias anceps
    • Amalia anceps
    • Bletia anceps
    • Cattleya anceps
  • Laelia anceps subsp. anceps
    • Bletia anceps var. barkeriana
    • Laelia barkeriana
    • Laelia anceps f. chilapensis
  • Laelia anceps subsp. dawsonii
    • Laelia anceps var. dawsonii
    • Laelia dawsonii
    • Laelia anceps var. schroederiana
    • Laelia anceps var. sanderiana
    • Laelia anceps var. hallydayana
    • Laelia hallidayana
    • Laelia sanderiana
    • Laelia schroederae
  • Laelia aurea
    • Amalia autumnalis
    • Laelia autumnalis
    • Bletia autumnalis
    • Cattleya autumnalis
    • Laelia autumnalis var. atrorubens
    • Laelia autumnalis var. venusta
    • Laelia autumnalis var. xanthotrophis
    • Laelia autumnalis var. alba
    • Laelia venusta
    • Laelia autumnalis f. atrorubens
    • Laelia autumnalis f. xanthotrophis
  • Laelia crawshayana
    • Laelia crawshayana var. leucoptera
    • Laelia leucoptera
    • Laelia bancalarii
  • Laelia eyermaniana
  • Laelia gloriosa
    • Schomburgkia gloriosa
    • Bletia gloriosa
    • Epidendrum fimbriatum
    • Schomburgkia crispa
    • Bletia crispina
    • Bletia wallisii
    • Schomburgkia fimbriata
    • Schomburgkia crispa var. alba
  • Laelia heidii
    • Schomburgkia heidii
  • Laelia lueddemanii
    • Schomburgkia lueddemanii
    • Schomburgkia lueddemanii var. costaricana
  • Laelia lundii {synonym of the accepted name Sophronitis lundii}
  • Laelia lyonsii
    • Schomburgkia lyonsii
    • Bletia lyonsii
    • Schomburgkia carinata
    • Schomburgkia lyonsii var. immaculata
  • Laelia marginata
    • Schomburgkia marginata
    • Cattleya marginata
    • Cattleya crispa
    • Bletia marginata
  • Laelia rosea
    • Schomburgkia rosea
    • Bletia rosea
  • Laelia rubescens
    • Amalia rubescens
    • Cattleya rubescens
    • Bletia rubescens
    • Laelia acuminata
    • Laelia peduncularis
    • Amalia acuminata
    • Amalia peduncularis
    • Laelia pubescens
    • Cattleya acuminata
    • Cattleya peduncularis
    • Laelia violacea
    • Bletia acuminata
    • Bletia peduncularis
    • Bletia violacea
    • Laelia inconspicua
    • Laelia rubescens f. peduncularis
  • Laelia speciosa
    • Bletia speciosa
    • Bletia grandiflora
    • Laelia grandiflora
    • Cattleya grahamii
    • Laelia majalis
    • Amalia grandiflora
    • Amalia majalis
    • Cattleya majalis
  • Laelia splendida
    • Schomburgkia splendida
  • Laelia superbiens
    • Amalia superbiens
    • Cattleya superbiens
    • Bletia superbiens
    • Schomburgkia superbiens
  • Laelia undulata
    • Schomburgkia undulata
    • Bletia undulata
    • Schomburgkia violacea
    • Cattleya undulata
  • Laelia weberbaueriana
    • Schomburgkia weberbaueriana


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