Pabanisia Eva’s Blue Amazon is an unusual primary hybrid registered in 1995 that is seldom encountered. The parents are Acacallis cyanea x Pabstia jugosa. This hybrid comes with a fearsome reputation, since its Acacallis parent is considered fickle to grow, but that hasn’t been my experience so far. Acacallis cyanea also has a reputation for only lasting a couple of seasons in cultivation, though it is possible that selective breeding in recent years has eliminated this trait. Also, it appears to be very intolerant of both cool temperatures and drying out, and does not forgive such mistakes easily. The intolerance to cool temperatures is definitely something that it passes down to its hybrids, as I have lost hybrids in the past, so if your plant has A. cyanea in its parentage, you will need to provide warmer temperatures.
I purchased the plant a few months ago from eBay, and it was growing in sphagnum moss. I decided that I wouldn’t disturb it, other than ‘dropping it on’ as it seemed perfectly happy. Since then it has sat in my warm growroom quite happily, and hasn’t even suffered from the marked foliage that one often sees in members of the Zygopetalum alliance, which I put down to providing it with adequate humidity combined with strong air movement. I keep the plant fairly damp, and I do not allow it to dry out between waterings. I am sure it would grow perfectly well in a bark-based mix for some growers, but for me, moss works better as it stays damp for longer. Before long in my care, the plant put out a new growth, and it is this which has produced a flower spike, much to my surprise, as it is quite a bit smaller in stature than many of its more familiar relatives, such as Zygopetalum.
The buds seemed to to take an agonisingly long time to mature and open, but that may be an illusion I can put down to my extreme excitement at seeing a flower spike that I wasn’t expecting. We all have plants in our collection that we couldn’t resist buying, despite being sure that they won’t thrive for us, right? That was certainly the case with this one. At any rate, the flowers are now open, and it was definitely worth the wait. It seems to have inherited the flower shape of P. jugosa and the colouring of A. cyanea, as well as a vigour reputedly not present in either of its parents. The blooms are large for the size of the plant and well-spaced along the spike. There are three flowers on this, its first blooming, but I suspect that four or five is possible for subsequent years, along with more spikes per growth. As is typical for many Zygopetalum alliance plants, the spikes are produced from the new growth while it is still only a few centimeters tall.
Once the new growth is complete, I shall completely repot this plant because sphagnum moss doesn’t last longer than about a year in good condition, especially for plants that need to be kept on the wet side. I suspect that while it is doing well at the moment, it will decline very rapidly once the medium turns sour, so it is definitely best to act before this happens and hope that it doesn’t resent root disturbance.