Caring for Bulbophyllum Orchids
Bulbophyllums comprise the largest genus within the Orchid family tree, with over 2000 species. They are native to a wide range of climates from Australia to South East Asia and into Africa and South America. The flowers are very unique and generally have a strong odors which are made to attract their main pollinators, flies. Some produce single blooms which last only a few days and others have sequential stems with an ongoing show of blooms.
Though specific growing requirements vary by species or hybrid, the basics are the same for most. Warm temperatures in the 60ís or above year round. These do not require a winter rest. Most have very fine roots systems and appreciate regular thorough watering. We never allow the potting media to dry completely out, but instead maintain constant moisture in the pot and high humidity in the surrounding area. Watering may be needed 1-2 times per week in some instances. Plants in this group should be given a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer about once a month year round as well. It is best to under-fertilize rather than to over-fertilize. With the lower light and drier conditions in the home, orchids cannot use as much fertilizer as they can use in the greenhouse.
In addition to a wide variety of blooms, the growth habit is vastly different throughout the group as well. Some prefer pots, some like hanging baskets and yet still others prefer to be grown mounted onto tree fern slabs or other substrate. Whichever you choose for your plant, select containers and media that will keep the plant happy for a minimum of 2-3 years. Longer if growing in a basket or on a mount. We have used fir bark media and also sphagnum based media with good results. The most important thing is moisture retention and good drainage so that air flows around the roots. Repotting should be done when a new growth is showing and during the temperate seasons, spring or fall.
Note: This guide is only applicable to Bulbophyllum Orchids. For other varieties, please click on one of these links: